Full of burnt-end romance and 'style,' but robotic at its core.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
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.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
Frank Miller's adaptation of the antique comic strip by Will Eisner is brash, noisy and so alarmingly ill-paced that it should, by rights, come with a software package that allows viewers to recut it as they see fit.
Xan Brooks - Guardian [UK]
The Spirit is uneven, but its campy adventure provides some amusing, escapist fun.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Good comic books suggest action through abstraction, but The Spirit plays like an overproduced diorama.
Carina Chocano - Washington Post
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.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
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
Robert Wilonsky - Village Voice
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.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
There is not a trace of human emotion in it. To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Frank Miller wrote and directed this adaptation, in a visual style lazily close to that of his Sin City.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Someone get this man a decent script.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
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.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
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.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
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.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
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.
Justin Chang - Variety
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.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
This is what Sin City would have looked like without the restraining hand of co-director Robert Rodriguez behind the camera.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
At which exact point The Spirit hits rock bottom is a matter of debate.
Jason Anderson - Toronto Star
What a shame that The Spirit isn't nearly as good as it looks.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
The style is willing. But the spirit is weak.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
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.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
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.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
Denny Colt might have come back from the dead, but The Spirit stays cold on the slab.
Sam Adams - Los Angeles Times
Frank Miller will undoubtedly make a movie worth watching one day, but it isn't The Spirit.
Ali Gray - TheShiznit.co.uk
David Fear - Time Out
Dean Essner - Dark Horizons
Dave White - Movies.com
I guess a movie this brassy, sumptuous, and unafraid of what-the-hell effects, gags and visuals isn't enough for a lot of people. I don't really know why.
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
A blissfully coked-out-of-its-mind spit-take on Eisner and the modern world of superhero cinema, The Spirit is wet bag of hot breath.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
If Frank Miller is aiming for camp, he's playing cricket with a sledgehammer
Fernando F. Croce - CinePassion
Certifiably, but agreeably, insane, "The Spirit" plays like "Dick Tracy" on brown acid. Dialogue is bleated, not spoken. Artifacts are used as snuggle blankets. And it's aggressively bizarre, but it's the definition of guilty-pleasure entertainment.
Nick Rogers - Suite101.com
No amount of flash can camouflage the career-low performances, the scaffolding where characterisation should be, the pitiful cod '40s dialogue, the monstrously fumbled comedy.
Nick Setchfield - SFX Magazine
More interested in being a technical marvel than a coherent story.
Edward Havens - FilmJerk.com
Soa como uma mistura desajeitada de filme noir e da serie de teve Batman produzida na decada de 60.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
As an action director Miller is almost as clumsy as Baz Luhrmann, but he's far from naive, and presumably the delirium of The Spirit is exactly what he intended.
Jake Wilson - The Age (Australia)
Miller's background as an artist was undoubtedly an important factor in achieving the striking visual effects. It's just when the human characters dominate the action that the film sinks like a stone.
David Stratton - The Australian
It's a plot from the 'more is more' school of scriptwriting and while the live action crossed with stylised graphic novel effect is sublime, it can't distract from the clunkiness of it all.
Jason Di Rosso - MovieTime, ABC Radio National
The Spirit is hollow, with a convoluted plot, and Miller has clearly opted for visual style over thematic depth.
Jade Tyrrell - FILMINK (Australia)
As it went on, I discovered that it had a kind of appealingly dumb, playful quality.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Miller's directing chops, er, chop, is non-existent, offering up a muck of amateurish posturing, weak storyline and tedious characters. As for the title? Ouch, that's some irony.
Kimberly Gadette - Indie Movies Online
Is it trying to be a parody of itself?
Michael Dance - The Cinema Source
Eva Mendes is the new Raquel Welch but even Raquel/Eva can't make this movie work
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
The Spirit's greatest crime is that it is so boring - encapsulated in a scene where the Spirit and the Octopus slug it out for an eternity as both are sucked into treacly mud.
Rob Daniel - Sky Movies
Now that they've gone and made Batman all serious and good, the campy comics hero movie mantle has been taken up by The Spirit.
Bob Strauss - Los Angeles Daily News
Displaying admirable love for pulp material and striking enviably sexy poses, but missing the emotional resonance, zeitgeist-catching populism and mainstream thrills which found movie franchises.
Kim Newman - Empire Magazine
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.
Tom Huddlestone - Time Out
In their first battle, The Octopus smashes a toilet over The Spirit's head, laughs maniacally, and declares, "Toilets are always funny!" This movie would know: It clearly deserves to be flushed down one.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Miller shoots it in the inky graphic style of Sin City, but he clearly hasn't a clue how to stage a scene, or shoot it, and he singly fails to animate his actors.
Tom Charity - Times [UK]
Miller's adaptation certainly looks impressive and the female characters are all drop-dead gorgeous in a Sin City way, but the script and story are all over the place and it never really comes together.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Violent, sexy superhero flick is all style, no substance.
James Rocchi - Common Sense Media
[There is] no consistency or rhythm to its visual tangents, which splotch about frantically, desperately, like diarrhea spraying about the outside of its porcelain target.
Rob Humanick - Suite101.com
The Spirit is two hours of your life that you'll never get back.
Vic Holtreman - ScreenRant
A movie trailer can give unintended clues as to what to expect - The Spirit's (see it on YouTube if you missed it) is one long piece of chaos. And so is the pic.
Victor Olliver - Teletext
This screen adaptation of Will Eisner's beloved comic books is intriguing enough to be watchable, but is so chaotic that it doesn't work at all
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
It makes sport of both comic books and hard-boiled detective fiction, yet it does so by utilizing and adhering to the conventions of each.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
It's not just that it's obvious from the train wreck onscreen that Miller hasn't ever truly directed a movie before; it's hard to tell if he's ever even seen a movie before.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
First, Robert Rodriguez tried to make a Frank Miller movie. Now, Frank Miller is trying to make a Frank Miller movie. (Advantage: Rodriguez.)
Jordan Burchette - Premiere Magazine
It's black-and-white with red all over, but The Spirit is as thin as the newsprint from which it springs.
Alex Markerson - E! Online
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.
Ted Fry - Seattle Times
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.
Peter Hartlaub - San Francisco Chronicle
I'll take the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future any night over this year's spooktacularly puerile, woefully bad holiday action film The Spirit.
Graham Killeen - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
As a babe-delivery system, The Spirit is a rousing success. In every other sense, it's a pronounced failure.
Nathan Rabin - AV Club
'The Spirit' conclusively demonstrates that a comic-book auteur may be no more a natural filmmaker than a basketball player is a ballerina.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
As one of the film's characters might say, there's bad. There's really bad. There's ridiculously bad. And then there's The Spirit bad.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
The Spirit is a loony, embarrassing mess that takes the late Will Eisner's classic comics creation and beats it senseless with a giant toilet bowl (literally, at one point).
Mike Russell - Oregonian
The style dazzles, evoking everything wonderful and terrible from film noir and combining it with a likable hero and wonderfully pulpy premise.
Jason Heck - Kansas City Star
Is it campy? Or is it cool? Is it stylized? Or is it corny and cheesy? It doesn't really know.
Ben Lyons - At the Movies
Ultimately, it's a long, incoherent mess of a film, enlivened only the the sure knowledge that the great Will Eisner's original is available to one and all at your nearest comic-book shop.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
I thought it was sort of cool and corny simultaneously.
Ben Mankiewicz - At the Movies
Macht's weary, fatalistic take on his heroic duties is right out of the Batman mold, while Jackson's Octopus seems little more than The Joker without all the face makeup.
Chris Kaltenbach - Baltimore Sun
I didn't hate the movie. There are some scenes that are tremendously cool in the picture. If you can swallow the imitated style, it looks fantastic.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
A comic-book classic sadly mishandled.
Kurt Loder - MTV
The Spirit starts out flat and stays that way, offering unimpressive special effects and fight scenes that mostly lie there. The people part of the effects-actor equation is faulty as well, with iffy-to-bad performances among the supporting ranks.
Carla Meyer - Sacramento Bee
Visionary Frank Miller falls flat here, sacrificing a potential franchise. Give up on this hyper cartoon-like ghost!
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
All show and no go, "The Spirit" is a great-looking film with a less-than-memorable story.
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
misguided attempt to blend the hard-boiled cop story with a goofiness that doesn't quite catch the requisite exuberant abandon of camp
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Time is better spent, perhaps, trying to pull out of it some sort of insight into why no one called "shenanigans" on this abortion at any point.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
...it's a visual feast, with every image lovingly framed and lit (and mixed with special effects) so that there's always something interesting to look at.
Daniel M. Kimmel - Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Someone should have gotten Robert Rodriguez on the phone.
Scott Weinberg - Cinematical
Movies that exist in their own overheated genre-iffic world are not easy to swallow for a lot of audiences. The sheer joy with which Miller approaches this material, though, is infectious, and The Spirit grew on me even as it confounded me.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
[Frank] Miller tries drama, then comedy and when that doesn't connect he hopes his patented neo-noir effects and innovative sets will lull you into thinking this is genius.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
Lurid, rambling nonsense.
Boo Allen - Denton Record Chronicle (TX)
Based on the evidence supplied by his solo directorial debut her, it appears that Miller's artistic contributions to "Sin City" extended no further than to fetching Robert Rodriguez some coffee and trying to peek into the dressing rooms of the actresses
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
The Frank Miller Universe at its most reductionist, self-parodying and content-free … There is nothing at stake … only a pointless, shapeless exercise in wildly veering moods and styles.
Steven D. Greydanus - Christianity Today
I don't mind the humor, I would just appreciate humor that actually works.
JimmyO - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
The Spirit is an aesthetically lovely, self-indulgent, disjointed mess of a film about a superhero, who, like this movie, isn't all that super - but the costumes are really nice.
Diva Velez - TheDivaReview.com
A disaster in nearly every way. Samuel L. Jackson seems to be channeling Grace Jones by way of Uncle Remus from Song of the South.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
To be fair to those embarrassed onscreen in 'The Spirit,' this movie's dialogue would tax the thespian talents of anyone.
Donald J. Levit - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Miller captures the letter, but what this film is lacking, in every sense of the word, is the Spirit.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
Taken on its own terms...it's a beautiful bit of balderdash.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
The Spirit does not believe in itself. It thinks comics are a joke -- and it appears to thinks that movies are a joke, too.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Parental Content Review
Jim Judy - Screen It!
In this erotic sleuthing laced with backward babes, Sarah does female doormat duty and Eva kicks butt when not baring it, while Scarlett's shrewdie hangs with homicidal fatty clones, like an underworld Madonna bossing an obedient crew of paunchy boy toys.
Prairie Miller - NewsBlaze
I would recommend The Spirit to a cinematography buff, but I can't think of anyone else who would go for it.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Gorgeous cinematography and design can't mask the hollow core and bizarre ugliness of this mishandled comics adaptation.
Frank Lovece - Newsday
a classic superhero story, with a square-jawed hero who knows how to take a punch and kiss a dame until she's weak in the knees
Chris Barsanti - Filmcritic.com
It's a film more designed than directed.
Sean Axmaker - Parallax View
Frank Miller's stiff adaptation of the Will Eisner comic book character feels more like a pet project, full of gee-whiz visuals but lacking a certain, well, spirit.
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
Miller systematically reduces Eisner's urban heroics to noirish less-than-nothings.
David Fear - Time Out New York
I have a sneaky feeling that this probably wouldn't be the big screen treatment Will Eisner would have preferred for his revered comic book/comic strip creation.
Jeffrey Lyles - Gazette (MD)
The Spirit is a mess of mannerisms and who-cares plot twists that keep piling up on each other. Kind of like a multiple car wreck.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
What's missing here, sadly, is the script.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
This movie has a modern kind of badness to it, the kind that's only possible in an era of mind-boggling technological advancements and de-emphasized storytelling.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
A cinematic lump of coal in the Christmas stockings of comic fans everywhere.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
The ultimate geek movie...Frank Miller's take on Will Eisner's semi-spectral crime-fighter comes DOA and never springs back to life.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
The Spirit tries hard enough that watching the movie isn't a total bust, but it is that immense effort to try to be something -- anything -- that turns the film into a confused little piece of visual nothingness.
Matthew Razak - Examiner.com
A lurching mess. The film features a terrible script devoid of characters worth investing in or a story worth caring about.
Mark Keizer - Boxoffice Magazine
Achieves all the high-tech excitement of a Sea Monkeys commercial.
Joshua Tyler - CinemaBlend.com
Samuel L. Jackson has hit a rock bottom with The Spirit that's comparable only to Joan Crawford's appearance in Trog.
Jeremiah Kipp - Slant Magazine
The best thing about The Spirit is that it was directed by [Frank] Miller....The worst thing about The Spirit is that it was written by Frank Miller.
Ethan Alter - Giant Magazine
The novelty of having many femmes in a genre that's largely male-driven, and the fact they are played by potentially appealing actresses as Mendes and Johansson, do not compensate for the narrative and technical shortcomings of Miller's solo debut.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Frank Miller's first solo effort as a director is an entertaining, if forgettable, cinematic imagining of Will Eisner's classic superhero The Spirit.
Mike Goodridge - Screen International