I am a huge fan of Frank Miller’s comic book work, from “Daredevil” to “Dark Knight”, to “Sin City”. He’s a visionary comic book writer and artist. But unless Robert Rodriguez is around and not making stupid movies for his kids, Frank Miller should stay away from filmmaking. “The Spirit” is based on the Will Eisner comic strip from the 1940s. In Central City, the oddly and arbitrarily impervious detective known as the Spirit must stop the criminal known as the Octopus from retrieving a mysterious treasure chest. I think. The plot is both simple and confusing at the same time, which is not a good combo. “Sin City” was a great synergy of graphic novel and film. It was by no means perfect, but it was certainly a visceral, fun experience. I remember it was the first movie my wife and I went to see a few months after our first child was born. We were exhausted, and so happy to finally be going out as our relatives were in town to baby-sit. One the violence started to unfold, my wife glanced at me with a look saying “This is the movie you took me to see?!” I replied with an enthusiastic “Yes.” Non-stop graphic violence aside, we both enjoyed the movie. “The Spirit”, sadly did not really work on any level. Not as camp, not as satire, and not as stylized eye candy. But in fairness there were some enjoyable sequences and some really hot women in reto-Femme Fatale garb so it wasn’t a total loss. Sometimes it’s possible to discern the filmmaker’s intention from the finished product. I think this is one of those cases. Frank Miller tried to create a stylized retro, postmodern dystopia infused with nostalgia and classic pulp fiction. What he created instead was a greenscreened, anachronistic, corny, kitsch-induced fever dream. And not in a good way. In fact, some movie-goers were pretty angry about it. People were walking out of the theater in the first 30 minutes. The dialogue was incredibly cornball and anyone who knows Frank Miller knows he is way smarter than that, so it had to be on purpose. Samuel L. Jackson hams it up without any type of direction whatsoever, and when he comes out in a Nazi Uniform you know the kitsch and the kitchen sink have just been thrown at you. Miller can’t really direct actors, and whoever the hell played the lead along with Scarlett Johansson really looked like they didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing. This isn’t a film, it’s a comic book that moves. But even by comic book standards, there are some things missing, like character development and some type of logic. Police cars from the 40’s and “Star Trek” jokes? Are we time traveling now? What should this movie have been? The blueprint should have been the “Rocketeer”, not “Sin City”. So you have fans of each genre wondering what the hell happened and what the hell it was that they just saw. I love Frank Miller and his stories will be a part of me forever. His film work, however, from “Robocop” sequels to now “The Spirit”, will not stay with me for very long. “Sin City” had Rodriquez at the helm, and what a difference a director makes. Film is a different medium with different rules, and those rules need to be respected, even if you’re going to ignore them. This movie was all Frank Miller. He shouldn’t have signed it.