The first film I've seen at the cinema in 2009 was The Spirit - pause for reaction. I have mixed feelings about this film, in many ways I enjoyed it, but in many other ways it falss short. I shall explain.
Frank Miller has recreated, more or less, the look of his previous co-directed effort Sin City, however I'm not so sure this is the look for The Spirit. I haven't read many of the original Spirit comics but from what I have read, including the new run currently ongoing, surely a brighter style would have been more fitting. This ties in nicely with my confused opinion. The Spirit tries to be both a goofy, comic movie; but also a straight noir-ish crime movie. And these kind of don't mesh together. If a little more time was taken over the script I've no doubt The Spirit would become a great movie. Instead it will probably be forgotten. I could see the film working in comic form both in style and structure. The Spirit did tend to talk aloud a lot, or to the audience, or to a stray cat, but never to his sidekick who had obviously never been included in the film.
Its just the real life problems of The Spirit did not mix with the Adam West's Batman campness. Which, as I've said is the only problem. The film either should have been straight cut noir, or 60s camp. Now as I previously mentioned, I haven't read enough of the history, but then again, for this character to appeal to a mainstream audience, you can't rely too heavily on a history the audience today know nothing about.
As far as the cast, all performed their roles well. Gabrial Macht as The Spirit was excellent, Samuel L Jackson was pretty much the same as he always is, just a little more nusto, but well balanced with Scarlett Johansson as straight talking scientist Silken Floss.
I did enjoy a lot in this film. The look was cool, some of the gags were funny and the story is pure comic book. It just needed a little tightening up a little. Now I know this will not be a shared opinion. The characters were a little one dimensional, and it is a little chauvinistic, but that all kind of works on the campness side. I think I've said that too much.
So in review, don't go to see it thinking it's the next Sin City. Don't go in thinking too much about it at all really. Watch it at face value, as entertainment.