Based on Will Eisner's classic 1940s and '50s comic series and written and directed by his acolyte Frank Miller, THE SPIRIT follows the adventures of the crimefighter of the title (Gabriel Macht), a former cop mysteriously brought back from the dead. Hiding his identity as Denny Colt behind a mask and a fedora, the Spirit, now seemingly indestructible, protects his beloved Central City from his mortal enemy, the Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), while contending with the many women in his life, including the doting Ellen Dolan (Sarah Paulson) and the dangerous Sand Seref (Eva Mendes).
Credited with co-helming the film adaptation of his renowned SIN CITY comics (with Robert Rodriguez), Miller turns to one of his primary influences for his solo directorial debut. Not surprisingly, he uses the hyper-stylized SIN CITY look as a template for THE SPIRIT, allowing Eisner's pulpy vintage aesthetic to merge with SIN CITY's gritty atmosphere. Macht is well cast as the brooding Spirit, who has a habit of talking to himself at length, while Jackson gleefully chews scenery and burns through costume changes as the quirky, egg-obsessed Octopus. Although Paulson, Mendes, Scarlett Johansson, and others are largely relegated to "Bond girl" status, they play their roles with declarative verve, making THE SPIRIT an enjoyably campy addition to the pantheon of comic-book movies.