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The Spirit Reviews

David Fear
Time Out
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Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 2/5

November 18, 2011
Tom Huddlestone
Time Out
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Every once in a while a genuine turkey escapes the coop, bereft of charm or wit, utterly lacking in technical prowess, integrity or intelligence. 'The Spirit' is such a film.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 1/6

January 5, 2009
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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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.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 1.5/5

December 29, 2008
Ben Mankiewicz
At the Movies
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I thought it was sort of cool and corny simultaneously.

Full Review Source: At the Movies

December 29, 2008
Ben Lyons
At the Movies
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Is it campy? Or is it cool? Is it stylized? Or is it corny and cheesy? It doesn't really know.

Full Review Source: At the Movies

December 29, 2008
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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Someone get this man a decent script.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

December 29, 2008
Sam Adams
Los Angeles Times
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Denny Colt might have come back from the dead, but The Spirit stays cold on the slab.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2/5

December 29, 2008
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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It's not easy to make a thriller that's both incredibly convoluted and intensely boring, laboriously narrated yet befuddled, but Miller -- creator and co-director of Sin City -- triumphs on all counts.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 0/4

December 29, 2008
Carina Chocano
Washington Post
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Good comic books suggest action through abstraction, but The Spirit plays like an overproduced diorama.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

December 29, 2008
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
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The style is willing. But the spirit is weak.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

December 29, 2008
Ted Fry
Seattle Times
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The script often plods through sequences of clunky dramatic structure. Comic art may be inherently cinematic, but there's still some ink separating panels on a page from flickers on a screen.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 29, 2008
Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
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Miller's distinction as one of the all-time best comic book writers is strong enough to withstand his role in making one of the worst comic book movies ever.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle

December 29, 2008
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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Full of burnt-end romance and 'style,' but robotic at its core.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: C

December 24, 2008
Frank Lovece
Newsday
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Gorgeous cinematography and design can't mask the hollow core and bizarre ugliness of this mishandled comics adaptation.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 1/4

December 24, 2008
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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The Spirit is uneven, but its campy adventure provides some amusing, escapist fun.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 24, 2008
Jason Anderson
Toronto Star
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At which exact point The Spirit hits rock bottom is a matter of debate.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 1/4

December 24, 2008
David Fear
Time Out New York
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Miller systematically reduces Eisner's urban heroics to noirish less-than-nothings.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 2/6

December 24, 2008
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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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.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 1.5/4

December 24, 2008
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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What's missing here, sadly, is the script.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 2/4

December 24, 2008
Kyle Smith
New York Post
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Frank Miller on the big screen is like Scratchy or wasabi or a bass player -- he doesn't work on his own. He needs a partner, or some diluting ingredients, or maybe a restraining order.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 1.5/4

December 24, 2008
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
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The incomprehensible plot has something to do with a stolen elixir of eternal life. But that's beside the point, since all the director cares about is the film's noirish look and pulp fiction feel.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 1/5

December 24, 2008
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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What a shame that The Spirit isn't nearly as good as it looks.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2/4

December 24, 2008
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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There is not a trace of human emotion in it. To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 1/4

December 24, 2008
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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Frank Miller wrote and directed this adaptation, in a visual style lazily close to that of his Sin City.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 1/4

December 24, 2008
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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Miller turns The Spirit into a hambone farce. Worse, by hiring well-known actors and indulging their worst impulses, he destroys the tart irony Eisner built into every frame.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 1.5/4

December 24, 2008
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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How do you critique acting that's willfully bad, a story that's purposefully crazy and dialogue that sets out to be stilted and cliched? You say The Spirit looks great but there's not much else there.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 2.5/5

December 24, 2008
Robert Wilonsky
Village Voice
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Miller, comics-writing icon turned director, has rendered comics-industry revolutionary Will Eisner's crime fighter Denny Colt a grim shade of dull -- all talk, no action

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 23, 2008
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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This is what Sin City would have looked like without the restraining hand of co-director Robert Rodriguez behind the camera.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 2/5

December 23, 2008
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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The Spirit is an example of what can happen to a comic book-inspired movie when the sense of style becomes so pervasive that it overwhelms everything else, including an unremarkable superhero adventure.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 2/4

December 23, 2008
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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Scenes begin seemingly at random and end abruptly. Actors play characters at full bore. Dialogue has the crude energy of '30s Hollywood melodramas but rarely any wit or engaging subtext. All emotions are forced.

December 19, 2008
Justin Chang
Variety
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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.

Full Review Source: Variety

December 18, 2008
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