I was under the impression that Sin City 1: A Ton ‘o Sin had not done that well at the BO, but it turns out that it made about $74M domestic and was generally well received critically. I saw it when it came out in 2005 and my reaction was one giant shrug—some fancy optics but no heart.
Enter Sin City 2: Really Skanky Sin. Co-directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, Spy Kids, Terror Planet) and starring Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis and Josh Brolin and Eva Green and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jaimie King and Juno Temple and Jessica Alba and Christopher Meloni and Jeremy Piven and Ray Liotta and, last but not least, Lady Gaga, the sequel enjoys four plots and exhibits even more elaborate processing techniques that give the appearance of a black and white film but with color highlights, and that render live-action as virtually animated. (The first film won the Technical Grand Prize at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.)
Frank Miller is the comic book writer/artist who created the the Sin City world. His most famous titles also include 300, Ronin, Wolverine (1982 edition), Daredevil (1979 edition), and The Dark Knight Returns (1986 edition). He also created the character of Elektra (which also debuted as a film in 2005 and stunk up the joint). The first Sin City‘s production was both milestone-setting and controversial (see this from Rotten Tomatoes).
Miller has become infamous of late, earning the ire of other comic book artists/graphic novelists for, well, I’ll let Wiki say it:
Daredevil: Born Again and The Dark Knight Returns were both critical successes and influential on a new generation of creators. Batman: Year One was met with even greater praise for its gritty style. Works such as Ronin, 300 and Sin City were also very successful. However, fellow comic book writer Alan Moore has described Miller’s work from Sin City-onwards as homophobic and misogynistic, despite praising his early Batman and Daredevil work. Moore previously penned a flattering introduction to an early collected edition of The Dark Knight Returns. Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, a sequel to The Dark Knight Returns, received mixed reviews, while All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder in particular consistently received harsh criticism and was hailed as a sign of Miller’s creative decline. The filmatization of 300 has been perceived as promoting fascist values, and as hate speech against disabled people.
Holy Terror has been criticized as anti-Islamic propaganda. In addition, some of Miller’s works have been accused of lacking “humanity,” particularly in regard to the abundance of prostitutes portrayed in Sin City. In terms of his film work, Miller’s scripts for Robocop 2 and 3 were unsuccessful, while his 2008 film adaptation of Will Eisner’s The Spirit met with largely negative reviews, earning a metascore of 30/100 at the review aggregation site Metacritic.com.
Given this perception of Miller (or at least “late” Miller) as a neo-fascist, I’m stunned to learn that he’s still making a living in Hollywood, where normally you’d have to be a rapist to earn that kind of generosity of spirit.
Perhaps the community is truly growing. Or perhaps nothing really matters more than money. Or perhaps Miller’s vision does not reflect the Group’s in all particulars, and so the name calling is just Stage One in the Bringing to Heel. (I don’t have an opinion about Miller, frankly, as I am not familiar with his work except for that first Sin City film, which, as I noted, I did not care for. I have never read a single one of his books and have yet to see 300, which is now enjoying a sequel of its own, 301 or something like that, which opens tomorrow.)
Anyway, here’s the trailer.