SPIRIT, SAND SERRIF, THE OCTOPUS, & SILKEN FLOSS
THE SPIRIT MINIMATES
Sometimes, I like to use this space to defend unpopular movies, and talk about why people should cut them some slack or maybe point out some of the redeeming features that people may have missed. I won’t be doing that for The Spirit. Because The Spirit is not by anyone’s definition a good movie, and by pretty much everyone’s definition, it is a very bad movie. A very bad movie that I enjoy way too much for my own good. Seriously, I’m not defending the movie in the slightest. A lot of people hate the movie, and for very good reason. As an adaptation of The Spirit comics, it’s god-awful. Just as a movie, unconnected to the source material? Well, it’s still god-awful, but it’s that kind of awful where it’s so awful that it becomes entertaining. Before the movie was released (and everyone had realized just how awful it really was), several rather reputable toy companies picked up the license for it. This included Diamond Select Toys, who put out two sets of Minimates: a four-pack and a two-pack. I’ll be looking at the four-pack today.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
This set was released shortly after The Spirit hit theatres, alongside the complementary two-pack. In hindsight, it probably would have been better to release it prior to the film, but DST probably didn’t know what the reception was going to be like.
Say what you will about the movie, there’s no denying that it’s lead actor Gabriel Macht really tried his best to give a good performance. His comically serious Spirit was far from the worst thing in the movie, and he at least looked the part. Well, more or less. The figure stands a little under 2 ½ inches tall and has the standard 14 points of articulation. Spirit is built on the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for his hat/hair, coat, and tie. All of these pieces were new to Spirit when he was released, but DST wasted no time putting them to use in other lines. They’re all rather impressively sculpted. The Spirit is decidedly more geometrically based than the other characters, and this really works in the ‘mate’s favor. He looks very sharp. Spirit’s paintwork is pretty basic. He’s mostly just a lot of black. However, he does have a fully detailed pair of tennis shoes, a belt buckle, and even a fully detailed front to his shirt, despite it being obscured by his tie and jacket. The face definitely resembles Macht in the role, but it also makes for a nice generic masked hero face. Spirit included an extra hairpiece, also unique to this figure, which does a pretty nice job of capturing Spirit’s close combed hair from the film.
Sand Serrif ends up being a fairly generic femme fatale sort of character. Eva Mendes is sort of likeable in the part, but not incredibly interesting. This ended up being Mendes’ first Minimate, but it would have been her second had the infamous Marvel Minimates Series 15 (based on the first Ghost Rider) ever been released. Sand had several different appearances over the course of the film. This one is based on her catsuited look from early on in the film, which is probably one of her better looks. This version of Sand was originally supposed to be in the two-pack, rather than the larger set, but her two ‘mates were swapped just before release, presumably due to this look being the more prominent of the two Sands released. The figure has one add-on for her hair. It was a new piece at the time, but, like with Spirit, the piece has seen quite a bit of re-use since. It’s a good sculpt, and it looks pretty much just like Mendes’ hair in the movie, so that’s good. The rest of the details are handled via paint, which is pretty good, with the exception of one rather annoying issue. The actual application is pretty great, and I especially like the glossy finish of the catsuit. The face even has a very good likeness to Mendes. The issue is that her skintone is all painted, and this seems to have not been taken into account in regards to the sizing of the hairpiece. The piece is kind of tight, so there ends up being more than a little paint transfer, resulting in rather annoying dark brown lines on her face. Sand included no accessories, which was a definite bummer, since even a simple handgun would have been nice.
Samuel L. Jackson’s performance as The Octopus was one of the stronger points of contention with this movie. In the comics, the Octopus is a mysterious figure, whose face is never seen. In the movie, the Octopus is loud, foul-mouthed, obnoxious, and his face is all over the place. SLJ’s version of the character is a pretty much complete departure from the source material. That being said, it’s also so over the top that it’s hard not to enjoy it just a little, even if it makes pretty much no sense. The Octopus has a bunch of different outfits over the course of the movie (it might be eight. That would be clever, and I’m not sure I can give the filmmakers that much credit). This figure appears to be based his final battle appearance. I can’t say it’s my favorite of his looks, but it’s fairly indicative of the character. Octopus has add-ons for his hat and his coat. They both feature quite a bit of textured detailing, and do a reasonable job of capturing the on-screen look. The painted details are quite plentiful. The pattern on his jacket is quite impressively done, and the sort of thing you don’t see very often on a Minimate. The face is rather generic. It doesn’t not look like SLJ, but it doesn’t particularly look like him either. He’s also missing ears, which is slightly annoying. The Octopus includes two weapons, constructed from various strapped together guns.
Hey, did you know that Scarlet Johansen’s first comic book super hero movie wasn’t Iron Man 2? Nope, it was actually The Spirit. She takes a villainous turn in this one, as the right-hand woman to The Octopus (meaning Iron Man 2 wasn’t the first time she worked for SLJ either). Silken Floss has a couple of notable costumes over the course of the movie. The one depicted here is her nurse’s outfit, which is probably her second most memorable look from the movie. Given that the other look is a Nazi uniform, though, it’s not hard to cut DST a little slack on the costume they chose. Floss has add-ons for her hair and skirt. The hair is a new piece, and it’s fantastically sculpted, with lots of amazing detail. It’s incredibly character-specific, which is probably why it hasn’t been re-used since. The skirt is the same piece used on the SM3 Mary Jane ‘mate, making it the first re-use piece in this whole set. It’s a close enough match that one can hardly complain about its use here. The paintwork on Floss is pretty solidly done. I think her likeness may be the best Johansen likeness that DST’s done, so that’s cool. I do wish the paint on the wrists extended just a little bit further down, so that she didn’t have the weird black wristbands that he has now. It would also have been nice if her feet were something other than solid black, but that’s minor. Silken Floss included no accessories, which is a little disappointing. A needle or something would have been nice.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
There’s a slightly sentimental story behind these guys, so bear with me. When The Spirit was released, I couldn’t find anyone to go and see it with me, and, at the time, I was not able to drive myself to the movie theatre. I made mention of wanting to see it to my dear friend the late Marty Gear while we were at a party. The next day, Marty showed up at our house out of the blue and said he had decided he wanted to see the movie and asked if I wanted to go with him. So, Marty and I went and saw The Spirit. And it wasn’t a good movie, but it was a fun time. Being who I am, when I saw this set of Minimates at Cosmic Comix, I had to pick them up. Looking back, it’s pretty astounding how much effort DST put into these guys. They really wanted this license to go well. It’s a shame it didn’t sell well, because these are some downright fantastic ‘mates. And, as an extra bonus to me, they’ll always remind me of Marty, and that’s no small bonus.