Why The Spirit was the best movie of 2008



I remember seeing this with my buddy when it came out and thinking ‘Is this supposed to be like Sin City?’ Might have to give it another look.

I’ll have to give this a look then, as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a few other films that according to popular opinion I shouldn’t have.

Speed Racer for one is an incredible romp, and achieves exactly what it set out to: it brings Saturday morning cartoon excitement to the big screen. That, and it’s like a sugar-rush injected directly into your eyeballs.

And John Carter is similarly brilliant; I’m forever sad we’ll never see a sequel continuing where it left off. I watched it after first reading “John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood” under this site’s recommendation. I then made sure to read the first three John Carter novels, ending up with watching the movie, and I thought it was fab. They really captured the spirit of adventure those books had.


I avoided the movie thinking “ugh, this looks too much like Sin City, and not enough like The Spirit.” I am happy to revisit my thinking.

I thoroughly enjoyed “John Carter” despite the awkward title. I haven’t read the books, admittedly.


When this came out I was dating a girl who was also a complete film maniac, we went to see it based more on my love for the Will Eisner books than any Sin City similarities, and I gotta tell ya… it’s a pile of absolute shit. Yes, it’s meant to be a send up, but it’s actually a woefully unfunny, stilted, poorly directed piece of crap (and this is coming from someone who ranks OC & Stiggs among thier favourite movies, so it’s not like I’m against bad movies on principle). It’s just boring most of the way through.

Oh, and we broke up about a week after seeing it - coincidence? You be the judge…


I loved it from the start and I couldn’t stand “Sin City” .
The thing I appreciated the most in the Spirit apart from the graphic style (common w/ Sin City) is the off the wall kind of humor. I think it’s a really underated movie.
The actors are mostly good ( Gabriel Macht, Eva Mendes, the guy who play the chief cop, Scarlet Johansson) eventhough SLJ overact sometimes w/ excess. The characters are supposed to be stereotyped so they are …on purpose.
It’s so much fun when you have on screen people who don’t take themselves too seriously who are not afraid to shot a fight in the mud involving a toilet…
OK it’s not a perfect movie, far from it… but the criticism is easy .
It’s a thin line beetween caricatural and stylized, some of the choices made were not judicious but the result is a pure pleasure to watch if you’re not stuck-up.
It reminds me in many ways the work of Caro http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001988/ and Jeunet http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000466/

While I didn’t have a chance to see The Spirit when it was released, if it has any of the qualities of the Eisner original, I’m sure there is much to commend it. One small point I would like to make: “Film noir” and “hardboiled detective” represent two related-but-different genres. I think Sin City is much closer to the latter (with maybe a dash of a kind of magical realism thrown in for good measure).

I haven’t seen it, but I never understood the controversy about the name. I saw the trailer and thought: “Oh wow - somebody’s finally made a John Carter movie”. And this approach frees them from needing to draw entirely from one specific story. I hadn’t read the books either, but I was aware of them as one of the most popular sci-fi series ever. Some people weren’t, I guess. But often it goes the other way around also, of movie buzz getting people into the books. For instance, when Marvel’s movies started drawing crowds a few years back, I read that hardly any of the viewers had read the source material. Perhaps its just one of those marketing paradoxes.

I read the books a couple of years before the film. Very pulp, but fun. Trouble is, the books inspired/influenced a lot of SF films, so although the film is adapted from original material, it still seems derivative.

See also: the new Constantine TV series - is anyone watching that?


And adding the …of Mars because the marketing people got worried led to an awfully clunky title.

Can I get posted on BoingBoing? I can also write rather short descriptions of bad movies (http://www.unwinnable.com/2013/11/01/mystery-science-theater-3000/). And maybe one day “The Spirit” will ascend to the same ranks as the films that MST3K lampooned. But that does not make “The Spirit” a good movie. It just posits the article as click bait-y.


The Spirit was fun, but not the best movie of 2008. I liked the dialog, but it was not the saving grace. For me it was the absurdity of SLJ’s character, with the constantly changing outfits. The samurai and Hitler I recall LOL’ing at a bit.

I will say, there was a profoundly surreal and personal moment. Stana Katic played the rookie cop, which I was aware going into the film. I went to high school with her and knew her brothers.

There was a scene where she showed up brandishing the rare cell phone that I owned then (a phone that they never sold in the US, a Nokia E90).

Side note: if someone came out with an Android phone in the form factor of the E90, I’d buy it.

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Sin City is film noir.

And we’re done already! Sin City wasn’t film noir; the Wikipedia list of neo-noir titles lists it as such, but it’s arguably too over-the-top to even be a parody of neo-noir. (Miller’s general artistic evolution over the decades, figuratively if not literally, is to paint with ever-broader strokes.)

And where does that leave Miller’s Spirit? Not particularly funny, if the lines quoted are representative of the dialogue, and far from being anywhere near the best–or even the top few best–superhero/comic-book-based movies, it’s saved from being the worst only by Superhero Movie, and I’m being generous.


Save your time. The film has very little of the whimsy of Eisner’s The Spirit - the points of the article are pretty much all that could link it with the spirit of the comic.


I avoided The Spirit BECAUSE it looked like Sin City, which is one of the worst films I have ever been coerced into seeing. I am not sure this helps any.


Headline: Why The Spirit gets 41 miles per gallon.

Comment: I test-drove the Spirit and I barely got 19 mpg.

Reply: If you test The Spirit over a longer haul and if you drive right, you’ll find as the author of this piece and as I have, that your mileage will always be in the range of 38-42.

Reply: The Spirit gets 8 miles per gallon.

Why are we roped into these arguments? YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY.


The Spirit (the movie) not only was very much written by Frank Miller of Robocop 3 fame, it was also awfully boring for as hard as it was trying to be funny while irreverently updating its source material.

You’re right, you aren’t going to watch this movie for the plot. You are going to watch it for the isolated scenes that are entertaining because they are so astoundingly dumb you can’t believe they were written then filmed, let alone that you sat through an hour and half of banana peels to see a single slip.


Boing Boing article pitches–

“The Box” Is The Greatest Film Of All Time

A Serious Re-Examination Of “Grown-Ups 2”

“Jonah Hex” – Did Megan Fox Get Robbed Of An Oscar?

Seriously, dude. This movie is a complete train wreck. If you’re into the bad movie thing, it might give you a kick, but saying this movie is better than The Dark Knight or Wall-E is just clickbait… (that I clearly fell for).


Oh god, I’m trying.

The only way a good version of JC is ever made is if it’s set in 80’s with the travellers and the ancient evil of British politicians.

Probably also be handy if it contained references to real magick. Such as it is.

Oh my good fucking god. 2008!

WTAF! Time, I’m looking at you!


I would not classify The Spirit stories are noir parodies. All ages takes with tongue firmly in cheek, with lots of fun noir elements. And naughtiness too.

And the movie, IMO, is flat footed, tone deaf and hideous.
Jeunet could have a made a fine, fun, romantic and spirited SPIRIT film, but a bitter right wing alcoholic like Miller?
For connoisseurs of very bad films, like, say, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band starred the BeeGees, George Burns and John Fucking Denver.


I’m a big fan of Will Eisner’s The Spirit, I’m a big fan of Frank Miller’s Sin City, but Frank Miller’s Spirit was just terrible. It failed to capture the fun and style of the original comics while wallowing in the cruel, unpleasant worldview of Sin City. The actors were too busy chewing the scenery to make their characters even kind of likable. And it was hard not to conclude that Miller clearly looks at Eisner’s brilliant strip from a horribly cynical perspective. It was a terrible film. 2008 was a terrible year for film, and the Spirit was among the very worst.