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The Spirit (2008)

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Rookie cop Denny Colt returns from the beyond as The Spirit, a hero whose mission is to fight against the bad forces in Central City.


Frank Miller


Frank Miller (screenplay), Will Eisner (comic book series)
4,655 ( 854)
2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jaime King ... Lorelei
Gabriel Macht ... Spirit
Dan Gerrity Dan Gerrity ... Detective Sussman
Arthur the Cat Arthur the Cat ... Himself
Kimberly Cox Kimberly Cox ... Damsel in Distress
Brian Neal Lucero Brian Neal Lucero ... Thug 1 (as Brian Lucero)
David Brian Martin ... Thug 2 (as David B. Martin)
Larry Reinhardt-Meyer Larry Reinhardt-Meyer ... Officer MacReady
Frank Miller ... Liebowitz
Eva Mendes ... Sand Saref
Eric Balfour ... Mahmoud
Samuel L. Jackson ... Octopus
Louis Lombardi ... Pathos, etc.
Scarlett Johansson ... Silken Floss
Sarah Paulson ... Ellen


Down these mean streets a man must come. A hero born, murdered, and born again. When a Rookie cop named Denny Colt returns from the beyond as The Spirit, a hero whose mission is to fight against the bad forces from the shadows of Central City. The Octopus who kills anyone unfortunate enough to see his face who has other plans. He's going to wipe out the entire city. The Spirit tracks this cold hearted killer from the city's rundown warehouses, to the damp catacombs, to the windswept waterfront all the while facing a bevy of beautiful women who either want to seduce, love or kill the masked crusader. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He's something the world needs... See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of stylized violence and action, some sexual content and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | French

Release Date:

25 December 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Will Eisner's The Spirit See more »

Filming Locations:

New Mexico, USA See more »


Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,463,278, 28 December 2008

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


All of the henchmen clones' names end in "-os", and the last two seen on-screen are "Adios" and "Amigos", in order. See more »


The soles of The Spirit's signature Converse-style shoes switch back and forth between black and white. This is intentional and matches how Frank Miller would draw the shoes. When the bottoms are featured, they are white. Otherwise the shoes are black on black. See more »


The Spirit: I'm gonna kill you all kinds of dead.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, the title of the film is the very last thing shown. Typically, the title appears early in the credits, and "directed by" is the final credit. See more »

Alternate Versions

To receive a 12A cinema certificate the UK version was cut by 25 secs with edits to a woman being threatened by a knife-wielding gang, a repeated head punching, a shot of a severed finger and a shot of a man's rib cage embedded in the ground. See more »


Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: Bridge to Terabithia (2013) See more »


Falling in Love Again
Performed by Christina Aguilera
Produced by Linda Perry
Written by Friedrich Hollaender and Samuel Lerner
Christina Aguilera appears courtesy of Sony/BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Nutshell Review: The Spirit
23 December 2008 | by DICK STEELSee all my reviews

I wonder what Will Eisner will think of Frank Miller's interpretation of his classic character The Spirit. While I have not read the comic books of old, I am feeling curious enough to want to know whether Miller's version sticks to Eisner's vision, or came off as his own creation, like what he did to The Batman with The All Star Batman and Robin. Miller probably got his interest in film-making piqued when he witnessed two of his graphic novels Sin City and 300 rake in big bucks at the box office with Robert Rodriguez (and Miller) and Zack Snyder at the helm, and thought that his stint with the former, and employing similar CG techniques, would allow for a rookie to have a go at it.

So in came The Spirit, with Miller writing the screenplay, and providing the direction. Truth be told, it felt a lot like a fanboy given a palette and having the freedom to go at the canvas. This is basically self-indulgence, no two way about it. You know how comic book movies feel like comic book movies because certain elements from the books get translated verbatim into the movie, and one of the guilty elements was like the reading of text with every monologue that found its way into the movie. Gramted the style here was to adopt from detective noir, but it felt pretty artificial.

And what was more artificial, was the dialogue, which was farcical at times too. Fan boy elements reared their ugly heads again when Miller felt that he had to just have characters spew lines referencing comicdom, and there were so many lines which self-parodied the film, that it just raised your goosebumps. And when combined with lengthy monologues that made it seem like it's a one-man stand up comedy. For instance, when The Octopus (Samuel L Jackson) has The Spirit (Gabriel Macht) tied up and ready for the kill, he lapses into yet another blah-blah egoistical speech, so much so that The Spirit had to break the fourth barrier and remind him to get on with the show.

Macht is a relative unknown, and I guess the decision was quite right given that the material probably couldn't entice any big names to want to don a fedora, trenchcoat and red tie, jumping around rooftops and proclaiming that they are the city's spirit. Samuel L Jackson seems to sleepwalk through this role which he hammed up with plenty of tongue in cheek, and the costumes handed to him in the film was nothing less than zany, from Samurai garb to Nazi uniform, it provided plenty of platform for him to reprise his villainous role, which did seem like an over the top version of the many baddie roles that he had already played in the past. Action-wise, between these two characters, their immortality becomes the crutch of this film, where everything including the toilet bowl (yes, complete with filth) can be thrown at each other.

There are but a few redeeming factors of course. This film doesn't feel a need to have its narrative follow a chronological order, and it worked wonders, especially when it's used to break the monotony of dead dialogue that borders on going nowhere. Backstories are told in flashbacks, and for a first movie, it worked its origin other than to follow the usual formula in telling the audience how policeman Denny Colt become this supernatural being who can't die. Sort of how The Crow meets Batman/Daredevil, which Miller had opportunities to work on. At times though I do feel that the references to "my city" do seem a little Bat-heavy.

And I guess when it comes to casting the femme fatales that The Spirit flirts with given his Casanova erm, spirit, this film had its cake and eaten it as well with the likes of buxomy actresses in skimpy outfits, such as Paz Vega in a minor role as Plaster of Paris, Scarlett Johansson as The Octopus' partner in crime Silken Floss, and Eva Mendes in a meatier role as an old flame with a thing for bling, Sand Saref, and this in addition to Jaime King's head- scratch inducing Lorelei Rox, Sarah Paulson as The Spirit's current squeeze Ellen Dolan, daughter of the commissioner, and a whole host of beauties as well.

The Spirit is probably hit and miss for most audiences given that the negative factors outweighing the positives, but I suppose if one approaches this with low expectations, you might just get some kicks out from the load of sticky cheese this movie gets to fester with. If the littlest moments count, then perhaps you would likely enjoy the end credits roll a lot more, especially when you get to see Miller showcasing his artwork, to the sounds of Christina Aguilera belting out the song "Falling in Love Again". I know I did, and was left pondering how this would probably be a better film should it be animated right from the start.

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