UPDATE: Aaaannnnnnndddddd… it’s gone. However, my thoughts and concerns about the clip still stand. Not looking good.
Original Post: Watch this quickly folks, because I have a sneaking feeling that it is going to get yanked fairly quickly.
Below is some bootleg footage taken at last month’s San Diego Comic Con’s panel for Frank Miller’s upcoming comic adaptation The Spirit. This is the footage many online writers criticized and mocked, featuring The Spirit (Gabriel Macht) duking it out with his nemesis The Octopus (Samuel Jackson).
After the first trailer screened at the New York Comic Con back in April, I was hopeful that the film would be good and funkily stylized. After the second trailer premiered, I still wanted to hope that Miller was on the right track, but I started to have a few reservations.
But now there’s this… I don’t know what to make of it. Is the slightly jokey tone something that Miller is trying to preserve from Eisner’s original work? Probably. And I hate to try and make any further judgement on it based on one short, out-of-context scene.
But the real problem here is the editing. This is not edited like a movie. The shot selection feels more like the panel progression on a comic book page. The sequence “reads” more as a literal comic book than as film. I don’t mean to disparage comics here. Trust me, as I reader and collector for some three decades, I am not about to throw around the term “comic book” as some sort of pejorative.
However, I have to question if Miller is somehow confusing the two mediums, thinking that just because they are both visual, their techniques are interchangeable. Sure, other films have aped famous comic book panels and sequences in the past, but those directors translated them through the vocabulary of film. The film language Miller is speaking comes burdened with a heavy accent.