No doubt intended to combat the negative web chatter that followed the unveiling of the first look at The Spirit, Frank Miller’s big-screen take on Will Eisner’s iconic comic book, a new trailer has been released. It is longer, full of lots more stuff about who’s in it, features loadsa ladies, and has some guns that fire really, really loudly. Shame then that it is unlikely to quell the swarm that is quickly enveloping this film as one of the potential stinkers of the year.
Sin City saw all kinds of misogyny accusations levelled at Miller and his co-director Rodriguez. ‘All the women are just sexualised objects of male lust’; ‘they’re all just hookers in skimpy clothing,’ so the clamouring went, quite understandably. Well wait until they get a load of this latest Miller fantasy.
The initial posters should have sent alarm bells ringing. ‘Keep the mask on’; ‘On your knees then,’ they implored, over pics of the movie’s main female characters. Now backed up by this new trailer, which focuses on the Spirit’s obsession over women with particular attention paid to each of the four primary characters one by one, the film appears to be little more than a big budget filming of Miller’s own fantasies, complete with Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson. It is also, so it appears, tragically cheesy, and played straight in a manner that has not quite come off, same for the efforts in the visual department. The main goal, surely, when shooting a film on sparse sets using green screen to layer in the background must be to make it look like it wasn’t actually shot on an empty soundstage using green screen. Spirit’s appearance, though, looks bland and empty, with primary colours seemingly chosen to substitute for any kind of convincing, or even interesting, ‘locations’.
And then there’s Sam Jackson. Quite what he’s trying to do remains entirely unknown, although he does seem to be labouring under the impression that what is required of him is another shouty, Pulp Fiction-esque performance. Only with glittery eyeliner.
While we’re not one to judge a book by its cover, we are quite happy to spill forth with conjecture based on a trailer, and in this respect The Spirit looks like an unmitigated mess. Batman and Robin’s illustrious throne could be under threat…