The Spirit


Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 24
  2. Negative: 15 out of 24

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    The Spirit is uneven, but its campy adventure provides some amusing, escapist fun.
  2. Should make comic modern-day fanboys happy, what with its dark undertones, its beat-it-to-a-pulp action and its sly winks at comic greats past and present. Everyone else, including fans of Will Eisner's original Spirit, may find themselves wondering what all the fuss is about.
  3. The result is a great-looking movie with an awkward balance of pulp noir and campy self-awareness.
  4. 50
    There are good things to be said about The Spirit, but not enough of them to outweigh the bad.
  5. As the vamps, Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson might be posing for a fashion spread with just one note to play -- gorgeous high-bitch mockery.
  6. What a shame that The Spirit isn't nearly as good as it looks.
  7. 40
    Miller's flat, humorless yarn is set in Central City, a vacant metropolis whose only residents seem to be cops and crooks.
  8. 40
    What is most striking about The Spirit is how little pleasure it affords, in spite of its efforts to by sly, sexy, heartfelt and clever all at once.
  9. 40
    Miller seems to have brought neither his brains nor his heart (both of which we know he's got) to this project. The style is willing. But the spirit is weak.
  10. 38
    With its starkly contrasted visuals (fierce blacks, Clorox whites, a dash of unholy crimson), The Spirit may resemble a comic book more than any live-action film yet made, but it makes "Max Payne" look like a gleaming jewel of storytelling by comparison.
  11. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The movie's cleverest idea is to give the Octopus identical clone henchmen with names like Phobos, Logos, and Huevos, all played by Louis Lombardi with a marvelous fat-boy idiot grin.
  12. Maybe if there was something going with the dialogue - snappy Chandlerisms, say, or even just sentences that made sense - the fussy digital artifice of The Spirit wouldn't seem so, well, dispiriting.
  13. 38
    Not charming, but not cynical, The Spirit is wholly unrecommendable, but made with greater care than many movies that are.
  14. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Plunges into a watery grave early on and spends roughly the next 100 minutes gasping for air.
  15. 30
    The fanboys will find room in their heart to forgive the desecration. Everyone else won't care at all.
  16. Doesn't just play like a cheap "Batman" knockoff, it plays like a cheap "Batman" knockoff that knows it's a cheap "Batman" knockoff -- and wants to be sure everybody knows it knows.
  17. 30
    Ultimately, it's a long, incoherent mess of a film, enlivened only by the sure knowledge that the great Will Eisner's original is available to one and all at your nearest comic-book shop.
  18. 25
    The Spirit is mannered to the point of madness. There is not a trace of human emotion in it. To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material.
  19. Only Sarah Paulson, as the Spirit's doctor and sometime lover, seems to be in there playing the scenes as if she were a human being in a comic book superhero scenario, as opposed to a comic book character stuck in a cruddy movie.
  20. 25
    The Spirit feels like the follow-up to "Batman & Robin" no one wanted.
  21. Miller clearly wanted to make an impression, and that he does. Maybe it's better to be remembered for one of the worst movies of the year than forgotten for a mediocre one.
  22. The movie is a septic tank of vapid noir posturing, bad narration, bizarre pacing, cartoonishly hot femme fatales and ineptly staged slapstick.
  23. Throwing your $10.25 down a storm drain is a better idea; at least that way you won't feel the added self-loathing of wasting more than an hour and a half of your life watching Eva Mendes in the worst acting job of her career.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 235 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 58
  2. Negative: 29 out of 58
  1. Dec 31, 2011
    You got to be **** kidding me. What was Frank Miller thinking? Did really think if he used beautiful visuals over a screwed up story he couldYou got to be **** kidding me. What was Frank Miller thinking? Did really think if he used beautiful visuals over a screwed up story he could get like, what, a oscar? If he was, then man, he's thinking WRONG. Full Review »
  2. NickR.
    Aug 15, 2009
    I absolutely loved this movie. As a fan of the comics and Frank miller, I found this movie Sexy, Cool and Fun.
  3. SamuelJ.
    Dec 29, 2008
    Far more entertaining than the vapid "Sin City" or the one-note "300," "The Spirit" is this year's subversive masterpiece, a Far more entertaining than the vapid "Sin City" or the one-note "300," "The Spirit" is this year's subversive masterpiece, a well-executed bit of political noir masquerading as a superhero movie. The Spirit is a thinly-veiled caricature of a right-wing media run amok, with Samuel Jackson drawing parallels between himself and a recently crowned president-elect. The cinematography is pure FOX News, ostensibly black-and-white (or as they say "fair and balanced"), except for the splashes of color that masquerade as "editorializing." This film has less in common with Batman and Spider-Man than it does with "All The President's Men" and "Missing." Full Review »