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Buzz Monitor: Frank Miller’s The Spirit Gets Flushed by Critics

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Earlier in the year, following the film’s presentation at Comic-Con in San Diego, we made a few wise cracks at the “toilet humor” in Frank Miller’s The Spirit. In one particular scene Samuel L. Jackson, as viciously unfunny baddie “The Octopus,” slams a toilet over the head of our hero. He then proceeds to burst into laughter, chiding The Spirit with “Come on, man. Toilets are always funny!” It was the unequivocal low point of our Comic-Con experience.

This morning, months after watching fans at the Con walk out on a Frank Miller panel, I dragged myself out of bed bright and early to see what the rest of The Spirit had in store. And while my full review isn’t ready, I can promise you that I shall be throwing more than just a toilet at it. That, and I’m happy to report that we were right all along, criticizing The Spirit’s overly campy nature and its “Sin City meets Looney Tunes” tone.

And as it turns out, we aren’t the only ones looking poorly upon Miller’s film:

Variety’s Justin Chang had this to say: “A slain cop is resurrected as a masked crime-fighter in ‘The Spirit,’ but Frank Miller’s solo writing-directing debut plunges into a watery grave early on and spends roughly the next 100 minutes gasping for air. Pushing well past the point of self-parody, Miller has done Will Eisner’s pioneering comicstrip no favors by drenching it in the same self-consciously neo-noir monochrome put to much more compelling use in ‘Sin City.’ Graphic-novel geeks will be enticed by the promise of sleek babes and equally eye-popping f/x, but general audiences will probably pass on this visually arresting but wholly disposable Miller-lite exercise.”

A spy report from AICN claims that it “takes over the top spot from Battlefield Earth.” While the folks at Uniquely Geek are a little more optimistic, saying “There’s a lot of work and opportunity that went by the wayside here, a lot of talented people and some great source material that never quite gels.  The parts that look good, look good, but maybe next time, they’ll hire a fox to put it all together.” Newsarama adds that “The Spirit does a precarious balancing act juxtaposing great moments and terrible ones, leaving audiences likely be split over which makes the greater impression.”

Stay tuned next week when I will bring you my own full review of Frank Miller’s The Spirit.

Will you still see The Spirit despite what critics are saying?

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet.

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