By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Femmes fatales and brutish men form a complex web in "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," as old and new faces from Frank Miller's noir graphic novels are brought to life in film.
"A Dame to Kill For," out in U.S. theaters on Friday, is both a prequel and a sequel to 2005's "Sin City," adapted by from Miller's gritty series of the same name.
The film, distributed by Weinstein Co, sees the return of characters such as the warrior Marv (Mickey Rourke), private investigator Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) and exotic dancer Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba), as they battle both their mental and physical demons in the corrupt, hedonistic Sin City.
Brolin plays a prequel version Dwight before the character undergoes major facial reconstruction, as seen in Clive Owen's portrayal in the first film.
"I like that (Dwight) is so multi-faceted," Brolin said. "The minute you make the decision that he is brutish and hypercool and exaggerated like a simian man, suddenly you see all the cracks and the weaknesses."
Dwight's weakness comes in the form of the seductive Ava Lord, played by Eva Green, who embodies all the characteristics of Miller's ultimate femme fatale - a green-eyed ruthless manipulator who uses her sexuality to get what she wants.
"We've all dreamt of being Ava Lord at some point; to have so much power and to just let it all out and use men and be nasty," said Green. "She's a fantasy."
"Sin City" came at the forefront of a new wave of comic book adaptations on the big screen, as DC and Marvel properties such as X-Men, Spider-Man, and Batman reboots dominated the box office in recent years.
Director Robert Rodriguez worked closely with Miller to adapt "A Dame to Kill For," using 3D techniques and animation to lend the graphic novel feel to the film, which Miller said helped the film stay close to the books.
Miller criticized recent superhero films for straying from original source material, pointing to "Iron Man," "Captain America" and "Avengers," based on Jack Kirby's 1960s comics. "There's a big difference between going from a singular vision and taking the title of something into a boardroom full of people and ripping it to pieces," he said.
Miller also wrote two new stories specifically for the film, including "The Long, Bad Night," starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young poker player trying his luck in Sin City, and "Nancy's Last Dance," to give fans of his books something new.
Alba reprised the role of Nancy, who is paralyzed by grief and succumbs to alcohol after losing the love of her life, John Hartigan (Bruce Willis), in the first film.
"She was broken and sad and tormented and she comes out in the end as this pretty badass warrior," Alba said.
"I have a fearlessness, a self-confidence and a sense of self-worth now that I didn't quite have before, so it was nice to tackle this world with that confidence."
(This story has been refiled to correct first paragraph to add dropped 's' in 'femmes fatales')
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker)