I’ve seen writers go around the bend before. A great writer becomes interested only in topping what was done before. “You thought that last book was amazing? Wait until you see this!” Robert Heinlein, Anne Rice, and now Frank Miller. I used to make a new Frank Miller project an appointment, and now I approach such things warily.
I glimpsed the early Metacritic rating of 15 for this movie (that’s out of 100). I’ve ignored such ratings before with movies like Resident Evil and still had a good time. But 15 is super-bad (it’s up to 30 now). I should have known.
I wanted to see what he’d do with The Spirit. I knew this was going to be Miller’s take on the characters, and not Eisner’s brought to the screen. I wasn’t ready to sit in the theater months early and wait for it to show up on the screen (Grindhouse, Watchmen). The actors did a fine job in delivering the over-the-top corny dialogue they were given. The new guy playing the title role was very good, and we’ll see him again.
There was a voice-over, and usually I like that sort of thing. But I watched a close-up of an actor’s face for about 2 minutes with several paragraphs of dialog being read, and I had two conflicting feelings. Firstly, I could see this as a comic panel with 27 dialog boxes like a wall of text I didn’t want to read. Secondly, I thought this would make a great radio play, which is not something you want to think during a movie.
At the first scene with Sam and Scarlett and the Clones (I don’t remember if it was Huevos or Rancheros) I rolled my eyes for the hundredth time and pulled a muscle. After that, the movie was an endurance contest. I made it until the end, and I didn’t fall asleep.
Later, there was another scene featuring Nazi regalia for no apparaent reason that was like a bad Howard Chaykin comic. Not just any Howard Chaykin comic, which is bad enough, but a bad one. That’s worse.
I think that Mark Tuttle, who already hates Frank Miller, should watch this movie all the way through to validate his opinions and give him a movie he hates more than all other movies. Believe me, when you find that movie for yourself, every other movie gets just a little bit better.