Friday, April 17, 2009

Twittering about the Spirit

The Spirit is a tonal disaster but not without entertainment value. Plus some interesting intertextual stuff with Batman Elektra Acme etc.

Both Dark Knight Returns and Sin City also featured that shot of the soles of shoes running on a wire. Miller's signature?

(from Matt Brady): Octpopus vs Spirit like Spawn vs Batman: exhausted, unbeatable, violent men insulting each other.

Samuel Jackson opens a box that glows gold inside, just like in Pulp Fiction. Was that Marsellus Wallace's soul, btw?

Sin City. Miller is taking back the Sin City derived film aesthetic from Rodriguez (unsuccessfully, I think).

"Elektra Complex" reminds us of Miller's Elektra in a film about a dead guy with a tragic love revived against his will.

"Robin" is the computer password. Is this trying to get us to connect All Star Batman to the Spirit? I don't see it.

I definitely heard an echo of Elfman's score from Batman, a movie that would not exist without Dark Knight Returns.

[I should clarify that I thought the Spirit was pretty bad, though I have to agree with the AV Club who said it functioned as a pretty efficient babe delivery mechanism, and I did think some of the images were pretty arresting. I would give it a D overall. I am not sure what I think of the intertexts, but with my Bloomian training my ears perk up when I get near them. Still -- this is hardly Kill Bill. I think most of these are probably not important.]


Jason said...

What does "babe delivery mechanism" mean ... ?

Another thing probably worth noting is that Miller's Elektra, as originally presented in his Daredevil run, is -- by Miller's own admission -- a blatant re-telling of the Eisner's Sand Saref (portrayed by Eva Mendez in Miller's movie).

I don't know how "Elektra complex" is used in the film, but if it's in reference to Menez's character, then ... well, that is why.

(There's a magazine called "Following Cerebus" that has Dave Sim interviewing other artists. In the issue where Sim talks to Frank Miller, they reprint the panels from Miller's first Daredevil/Elektra story alongside the original Eisner Sand Saref story, and the parallels are very clear.)

finsof72 said...

I'm reviewing The Spirit right now, just got a chance to see it. Probably give it the same D. Loved the visuals, and they pretty much singe-handedly kept me interested. I do have a question though if anyone's familiar with the comics, and that's about the film's faithfulness (word?) to the comic. The dialogue is bloody awful throughout the whole thing, and I'm not sure if it's the screenwriter who is to blame or if Miller was just being faithful to the comic.

*also, I know this is shameless plugging, but on my blog I just recently posted a whole bunch of reviews dating back a year or so. Some of them aren't very good, and not as comical as I try to be now, but I'm trying to showcase all my reviews and maybe get a job when I graduate.

Jake said...

Daredevil: Born Again also has the wire-run, if I recall. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty sure.

Jake said...

I mean, DD was at least running on wires, if not in a close-up.

Jake said...

And of course there was the DD-Bullseye scene from Miller's original run, but that was just fighting on wires, and bouncing on them, not running.

Streebo said...

The neon shoe asthetic was really distracting. I think it was a horrible decision from a design point of view because every scene with glowing shoe soles draws your eyes right to the bottom of the Spirit's feet. I kept thinking about Stan Lee's old edict that the sole's of feet should never be shown on the cover of a comic.

Other than that - I thought the Spirit was an enjoyable train wreck - a bit like a bad fever dream.

Kyle said...

As someone who has only read Cooke's Spirit (plus reprinted Eisner stories in his Comics and Sequential Art and the one-shot preceding the movie), it doesn't seem faithful at all. Major example: you aren't supposed to see the face of The Octopus, like Claw in Inspector Gadget.

A case of Miller doing something almost-admirable: setting up a mythological showdown between fleece and blood (and not stating the obvious right away), then giving a willful anti-climax. This allows him to blow something to smithereens and have the crawling finger gag, but the latter is semi-forgivable.

The one actual improvement I can think of is the clue indicating Sand's involvement being a childhood memento rather than a piece of paper with her name on it.

Why the hell was Stana Katic talking like that? Maybe Miller was commenting on how people are judged for idiotic accents (similar to Harley Quinn's idiotic demeanor juxtaposed with competent criminal behavior)? This could work if she said anything actually smart, instead of just a random action-movie clue. It came off insipid.