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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A career criminal chooses to stop a murderer and lunatic; in return, she's allowed to walk away. The lead character is shown to be a confused, emotionally promiscuous person. Extensive discussion of the nature of power. The lead character is a vigilante who has the tacit approval of the city's police force. The uniforms and iconography of the Nazi party are used solely for stylistic purposes.
Violence & Scariness
Constant, hyper-stylized, bloody action. Characters are knifed, shot, punched (in the head, groin, stomach, and more), run over with cars, struck with arrows, impaled with weapons, exploded into bloody gobbets, encouraged to commit suicide, decapitated, punched, and more. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of dead bodies as a consequence. Characters also break necks with their bare hands. A genetic experiment gone wrong (a foot with a head sticking out of the ankle) is dissolved in acid. Disembodied eyeballs are seen swirling in a drain, and a severed finger is seen moving under its own power. Bloody wounds are seen in hyper-stylized contrast, so the blood seems white. Some of the characters, in comic-book fashion, have abilities that make them impervious or insensible to violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of suggestive talk, clothing, and cleavage; some kissing and unbuttoning; one instance of nude female buttocks. Every female character in the film is presented as a two-dimensional doormat of desire who longs for the hero. Plenty of innuendo and implied sexuality. References to child prostitution.
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Language includes "asses," "damn," "fart," "bastard," "goddamn," "hell," "piss," and more. Characters also use ethnic references like "guido" and "Jew."
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Products & Purchases
Some brands mentioned by name or displayed on screen -- Bulgari jewelry, Diet Pepsi, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke plenty of cigarillos and cigarettes and drink beer and hard alcohol. The villain finances his research through drug trafficking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Spirit is an update of a 1940s comic book from one of the creative forces behind 300. It's overflowing with hyper-stylized and excessive violence -- and suffused with smirking sexuality. There's only one instance of nudity (female buttocks), but the movie's sexual politics are decidedly retrograde -- all the female characters are either tarted-up villains, "bad" girls with hearts of gold, or long-suffering true loves who stand by their men. Also be prepared for buckets of stylized (but still graphic) bloodshed and lots of gory wounds and deaths. While the violence has the hyperactive, cartoony feel of a comic book, it's also brutal and depicted with extraordinary detail. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Directed by Frank Miller -- the comic book creator behind 300 and Sin City -- THE SPIRIT takes comic book icon Will Eisner's 1940s character and updates him in all the wrong ways. The classic Spirit strips had a noir sensibility, but they also had rich, well-drawn characters and a brilliant sense of urban setting; Miller, making his directorial debut, jettisons all that for flashy visuals, sexy posing, and over-the-top violence.
All of the actors are capable -- even the bland, handsome Macht in the title role -- but Miller's script is so shabby and threadbare that it's impossible to care about the characters or their situations; awash in fake blood and infantile sexuality, The Spirit doesn't so much represent the triumph of style over substance as represent the triumph of style over everything, including sensibility, storytelling, the look and feel of the original material, and the need to create a coherent film. Miller may be able to craft a story on the printed page, but with The Spirit, it's clear he can't make the jump to the big screen.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.