Sunday, May 13, 2012

Total Film's 50 Most Hated Movies of All Time #33 - The Spirit

For those who don't know, The Spirit was a comic book created and written by Will Eisner.  If the name sounds familiar, yes, it's that Will Eisner.  As in the guy whose name is on a bunch of comic book awards that are the comic book version of the Oscars.  So, let's just say, The Spirit is pretty pumped up, as is its creator.  Hell, on the 94th anniversary of Eisner's birth, Google changed it's iconic Google title on it's page into The Spirit icon (they do that on special occasions).  So, I don't know if you would say The Spirit is a popular comic (though they were re-printing Eisner's originals in the mid-2000's and Jeph Loeb did a one shot of Batman with The Spirit), but it's creator is legendary, so it stands to reason there is a base of fans out there who love The Spirit.  So, if this movie was a terrible representation of The Spirit, I can understand the hate. 

Hold on though, if you think this is the end of it, you're sorely mistaken.  I know a big fan of The Spirit comic: J-Man!  That's right, you're very own video blogger who is one of the creators of this very website, as well as its most frequent poster happens to be a big, big Spirit fan.  So, if you want the acid test, then you throw an actual fan of something into a movie and see how they react to the source material.  In this case, I know for a fact that J-Man is a big, big fan of this movie.  So, there you have it, a true fan of the original source material is equally enthused and excited about the film.  In my book, that's all that counts.  However, you could also say that the movie in general sucks.

That's where I come in.  I don't know a hell of a lot about The Spirit, I never collected the comic and never got the re-prints or anything (though I wouldn't mind checking it out) but I know good movies and crap movies and this is NOT a crap movie, it's a good one.  I know everyone is horny for "gritty movies" these days.  They think that they can't enjoy a movie unless it's aimed specifically at them and their problems in life.  Of course it's that sort of egocentric, self-centered thinking that pisses me off in the first place and shows a serious stunting of the imagination.  I think one of the great things about humankind is that we are more than what we are now, because we can actually dream of something better and as someone once said (it may have been me, I don't know), you cannot attain unless you dream of it first.  However, with people's attitudes towards movies (and life in general), dreaming has taken a back step to accepting how things are and moaning about your lot in life instead of actually dreaming of a better set of circumstances and then actually working to achieve that dream.  

The point is, The Spirit is a fantasy and Frank Miller (who knows a thing or two about comic book writing and adapting comics to the big-screen...see Sin City, which everyone loved) did it as a tribute to its creator. It is unabashed about its fantastical elements and you know up front, this is a movie about imagination, not grounded in reality.  To hate a movie specifically on these grounds shows a lack of understanding of genre in film, a lack of imagination and a deficiency in tolerance for other people's views and how they think.  Not every film can be The Dark Knight and not every film should strive to be so, either.  There's enough room in the world for everyone, even the idiots.

Rating: Worth the hate?  Nope.

- Stephenstein

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