Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jason watches "The Spirit"

Actually, I watched it a week ago, on vacation with my family in Alaska. So this was my last movie of 2008.

Frank Miller can, and probably always will, make beautifully visual movies. That's his background as a cartoonist graphic novelist. And "The Spirit" is visually interesting, and has some scenes with good action. Newcomer Gabriel Macht is fine in the title role, the babes (Eva Mendes, Scarlett Johansson, Paz Vega) are beautiful, and Samuel L. Jackson devours the scenery like Dave Chappelle doing a Samuel L. Jackson impersonation (and for this type of movie, that's a compliment).

However...there is so much awkward exposition that stops the action dead in its tracks. I assume this is also a function of Frank Miller's graphic novelist background. A good screenwriter could work the Spirit's origin stories in there a little more cleverly. Actually, to that point, it was a curious decision to make a movie about a lesser known superhero and not make it all about his origins. I suppose I can give Frank Miller high marks for that ambition, since it seems like a very conscious choice. But the execution is so awkward it feels like watching a sequel to a movie I haven't seen.

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