It was the best of comics. It was the worst of films.
The Spirit Movie: A Tale of Two Storytellers
Early in The Spirit, there’s a no-holds-barred, over-the-top slug fest between the Spirit and his long-time nemesis, the Octopus. As they pound on each other with toilets and ridiculously oversized wrenches, it’s impossible not to notice the industrial sludge they are covered with, which disturbingly looks like some kind of excrement. Sadly, this would be entirely appropriate since the one thing Frank Miller’s film succeeds in doing is taking a giant dump on Will Eisner’s creation.
Frank Miller, the comic book artist, had nothing but respect for Will Eisner’s genius as a graphic storyteller (the two men were actually good friends), but Frank Miller, the film director, seems to have little or no faith in Eisner’s innovative and influential comic. The humor, humanity, and sheer joy of visual storytelling have all been stripped away, and Miller, in a desperate attempt to give The Spirit movie a kind of “edge cred,” has retrofitted the comic with a contemporary “attitude,” pumped it up with exaggerated, over-the-top action, and injected it with a terminal dose of “irony” steroids. Continue reading