Spirited, a new spin on A Christmas Carol from Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell, hits Apple TV+ today – let’s break down what happens in the ending.
Everyone knows the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the cold-hearted humbug who goes on an odyssey through his past, present, and future, and awakens on Christmas Day with renewed spirit, cheer, and generosity.
What about the three spirits responsible for his epiphany? That’s essentially the elevator pitch for Spirited, a cracking Christmas musical that spins the classic fable from the POV of Present (Ferrell), a ghost who takes on the “unredeemable” Clint Briggs (Reynolds), a man who “causes division for a job.”
Their toe-tapping journey makes for a good afternoon – check out our review here – and the ending of Spirited leaves the door open for more… or does it? Let’s dig in.
Spirited ending explained: What happens to Clint and Present?
In the final third of the movie, we learn Present was actually Scrooge, who was once considered “unredeemable.” Jacob Marley (Patrick Page) insists he’s made up for all his wrongs, but Clint believes Present should retire and return to the real world, so he can live the life he wants; aka, being with Kimberly (Octavia Spencer) and raising a family together.
After an emotional ballad, he takes his retirement and meets Kimberly at Clint’s Christmas party, only this time he’s a real person, not a Ghost allowing someone to see him.
Meanwhile, Clint is forced to continue the rest of his haunt with the Ghost of Christmases Yet To Come, and the movie takes a harrowing turn: if his niece Wren (Marlow Barkley) takes his advice and posts the video of Josh (Maximillian Piazza), her competitor for the school council, he’ll eventually kill himself because of the bullying that follows.
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Clint and Present race to the ice rink to prevent her from posting it, but they’re not quick enough… because Kimberly got to her first and told her “her choices make her who she is”, and she decided not to upload it.
Present is confused. He’s waiting for the singing and dancing to begin, because Clint has been redeemed – but it appears he hasn’t, and Clint agrees. “I’m going to go back to work next week and I’m going to keep doing what I do,” he says, but Present isn’t convinced; suddenly, the idea of being fully redeemed seems futile.
In a moment of madness, he tries to step in front of a bus so he can go back to being a ghost – but Clint pushes him out of the way. Suddenly, time stops – he’s finally been redeemed, as he made the ultimate sacrifice. After another song, ‘Do A Little Good’, there’s a nasty twist: time resumes, and he’s killed by the bus. “Your sacrifice would have no meaning if it had no consequence,” Marley tells him.
Instead of going to the afterlife with Carrie (Andrea Anders), he has an idea: he decides to take up the mantle of Present, and he takes Carrie with him to work on the next haunts. He pays one last visit to Present, who’s now living in the suburbs with Kimberly and two kids. In the end, they’re all living happily ever after.
Don’t expect a Spirited 2, though. In an interview with Dexerto, director Sean Anders said: “We just wanted the audience to have a sense of these characters having lives beyond the story. It was more about that than setting up a sequel.”
Spirited is available on Apple TV+ now.