The Spirit Reviews

Top Critic
David Fear
Time Out
November 18, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Tom Huddlestone
Time Out
January 5, 2009
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 | Original Score: 1/6
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
December 29, 2008
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 | Original Score: 1.5/5
Top Critic
Ben Mankiewicz
At the Movies
December 29, 2008
I thought it was sort of cool and corny simultaneously.
Top Critic
Ben Lyons
At the Movies
December 29, 2008
Is it campy? Or is it cool? Is it stylized? Or is it corny and cheesy? It doesn't really know.
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
December 29, 2008
Someone get this man a decent script.
Top Critic
Sam Adams
Los Angeles Times
December 29, 2008
Denny Colt might have come back from the dead, but The Spirit stays cold on the slab.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 29, 2008
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 | Original Score: 0/4
Top Critic
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
December 29, 2008
As a babe-delivery system, The Spirit is a rousing success. In every other sense, it's a pronounced failure.
Full Review | Original Score: D
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Carina Chocano
Washington Post
December 29, 2008
Good comic books suggest action through abstraction, but The Spirit plays like an overproduced diorama.
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
December 29, 2008
The style is willing. But the spirit is weak.
Top Critic
Ted Fry
Seattle Times
December 29, 2008
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
December 29, 2008
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.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
December 24, 2008
Full of burnt-end romance and 'style,' but robotic at its core.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Frank Lovece
Newsday
December 24, 2008
Gorgeous cinematography and design can't mask the hollow core and bizarre ugliness of this mishandled comics adaptation.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 24, 2008
The Spirit is uneven, but its campy adventure provides some amusing, escapist fun.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Jason Anderson
Toronto Star
December 24, 2008
At which exact point The Spirit hits rock bottom is a matter of debate.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 24, 2008
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 | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 24, 2008
What's missing here, sadly, is the script.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
December 24, 2008
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 | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
December 24, 2008
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 | Original Score: 1/5
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
December 24, 2008
What a shame that The Spirit isn't nearly as good as it looks.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 24, 2008
There is not a trace of human emotion in it. To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 24, 2008
Frank Miller wrote and directed this adaptation, in a visual style lazily close to that of his Sin City.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
December 24, 2008
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 | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
December 24, 2008
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 | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Robert Wilonsky
Village Voice
December 23, 2008
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
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
December 23, 2008
This is what Sin City would have looked like without the restraining hand of co-director Robert Rodriguez behind the camera.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 23, 2008
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 | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
December 19, 2008
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.
Top Critic
Justin Chang
Variety
December 18, 2008
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.