Spawn (1997) Poster

(1997)

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6/10
Who the HELL approved those effects???
silentbobni13 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Not a bad film but seriously let down by the hell sequences which look like they were done by a child messing around with Microsoft paint.
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5/10
Just Like the Comic - For the Right and Wrong Reasons.
GuyCC11 June 2000
This film is just like the comic that inspired it: Great visuals (I still really like McFarlane's superhero art style), but much like the majority of "Spawn" stories, it really doesn't go anywhere. The set looks good, the characters look good, the cape looks REALLY good, but the story? Other than telling the origin and the standard "must stop the bad guy" motive, it doesn't do as much as it should. And yes, I know it's a Hell-based movie, but the metal soundtrack just got distracting and annoying, instead of enhancing the story like it should have. John Williams or Danny Elfman it wasn't.

Need to see the film? It's a great visual ride. Just don't expect much more than that. It did make for some cool toys, though.
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8/10
A flawed but enjoyable absurdist horror-comic book film
BrandtSponseller25 January 2005
Al Simmons (Michael Jai White) is one of the top operatives for Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen), who is the head of an organization called A6. When Simmons becomes aware that A6 might be a little shady, he learns the hard way that he isn't allowed to quit A6. This leads to his transformation into Spawn, a superhero with a background and motivations that are just as morally ambiguous as A6. The film largely concerns Spawn discovering and exploring his new identity, while working to uncover a nefarious plot and attain revenge.

If you read my reviews frequently enough over time, you'll notice that my ratings often change on repeated viewings. My rating for Spawn has definitely gone down since my last viewing, but currently, I'm giving it a generous 8 out of 10. There are a lot of things that are brilliant about the film, at least for viewers with particular, odd tastes similar to mine, but there are also too many unfortunate missteps to allow for a higher score.

Let's look at the missteps first. The main problem with the film is that screenwriter Alan McElroy and writer/director Mark A.Z. Dippe tried to squeeze far too much plot and too many characters into a 90-minute film. In retrospect, it would have been better to make one film covering everything up to Spawn's transformation (or the beginning of the transformation), and then save the other material (which comprises the bulk of the story here) for later films. Maybe Todd McFarlane, who created the comic books upon which this film was based, was worried that he wouldn't receive funding for sequels, so a multi-film plan wasn't attractive. As it is, there have been no live action sequels to date (there have been animated versions of Spawn), but I think there may have been if the first film would have been handled differently.

As the film stands, too much time has to be spent explaining the plot. The A6 plot is complicated enough, but there is a very high-concept idea behind the creation of Spawn that also has to be explained, too. Also, a lot of characters, most critically Cogliostro (Nicol Williamson--one of my favorite character actors), are basically wasted. There just isn't time to get into them.

A further problem is that both Sheen and White use odd affectations in their speech. I suppose it's supposed to be over-the-top in a comic book way, but on this last viewing, at least, it was more distracting to me. Also, a lot of the cgi-heavy effects already look very dated, and there's a weird cheesiness to most of the scenes in Hell. On the other hand, I personally like that kind of weird cheesiness, so I didn't subtract any points for that.

And speaking of weird cheesiness, I'm sure a lot of people hate John Leguizamo's character in the film (Clown/Violator), but I love it. It's exactly the kind of surreal campiness--part horror, part humor--that I cherish. As Mike Mayo has said, he's like (an evil) Krusty the Klown on acid. That works well for me, but if you're not the kind of person who loves films like Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988), you probably won't like this Killer Klown either.

There is also a great campy quality to the material overall, including some of the dialogue (a scene where a father yells at a son in "Rat City" for spitting out a meal they retrieved from the garbage because it's "wasting good food" is a treasure). Spawn, the comic, is really a bizarre amalgamation of a number of different influences, from horror to twisted fairy tales, and the film is not afraid to indulge in that.

The best part of the film, though, aside from Leguizamo's character, is Spawn as superhero. The costume and devices of the costume are fantastic, the cgi for the costume is excellent (I especially loved the cape), and White (as well as the stunt person(s)) does a great job physically. All of the action sequences involving Spawn were incredible. I wanted to see a lot more of that kind of material. In fact, the visual style of the film overall is admirably creative, all the way down to the opening and ending credits.

In the end, the film teeters between being something that's "so bad, it's good" and being just a good film with some unfortunate flaws, but in either case, it's still very enjoyable to watch. You just need to approach it not expecting a realist dramatic masterpiece, but rather with a love for the absurd.
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9/10
Honestly.......
yogirajj-9581016 July 2018
Honestly, I really don't understand why this movie has such a low rating. I theroughly enjoyed this movie. John Leguizamo was hilarious! In fact, I think Leguizamo and White and great acting chemistry. Lots of action, great special effects for it's time, and it had a perfect blend of dark comedy that not that many writers can pull off. Guys, lighten up, this has got to be my ultimate favorite Michael Jai White move.
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1/10
Terrible Film, From a Comic That Is Perhaps Unadaptable
CalvinValjean5 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not sure if the Spawn comics really can be adapted to a film medium. To sum it up: you have a murdered CIA hit-man who makes a deal with a devil, comes back as deformed creature with strange powers, and has to deal with a psychotic demon in clown form. Umm, yeah. Maybe Sam Raimi or Guillermo Del Toro could'be made such a film, but alas, they didn't, and the result is an inept production.

I'll start with the good points; John Leguizamo is perfect as the Clown; both over the top and malevolent. And a few of the visual effects are impressive. And there were a few nods to the comics (Sam and Twitch making a cameo at the end). But that's about it. Here's every other problem:

1. Michael Jai White just sucks as the lead. He's terrible. His interpretation of Spawn is not particularly heroic, or anti-heroic, or likable, or has any character moments, but is just an angry guy yelling: "I'mma gonna kill Wynn! Arrgg!! These powers rock!" Gone are any of the philosophical underpinnings of the character.

2. Hell and the devil Malebolia - laughable, laughable. They could've at least animated the devil's mouth to move in sync with his voice. If this is hell, I just laugh at it. And for those who say "Hey, it was 1997; those were the visual effects of the time," I say look at Independence Day, Space Jam, and Titanic, all films made around the same time with superior effects.

3. Martin Sheen, whom we all know is a good actor, adds little to the Wynn character. He concocts an idiotic plot about inserting a bomb in his heart, so that no one will dare kill him. This plot line isn't in the comics, but even if it was it would still've been idiotic. Doctors are really going to insert a bomb in someone's heart and not think: "Gee, this guy's gonna die someday, so there's no question this bomb will go off and kill people someday?"

4. Child actor Miko Hughes shows up in a subplot, and has to look for Spawn's dog. WTF? It's like the producers realized "We should make this more family friendly by giving Spawn a kid sidekick," but then realized there really wasn't anything he could do, so they had him go look for a dog instead.

5. And after all this, we have a mess of a climax. Spawn fights off the Clown in Hell by transporting through the fireplace! And then we get the big cliché about ending with a shot of Spawn looking out on the city he will now protect. Please. An unsatisfying ending, due to zero character development or reason to care about any of the "saving" that Spawn did throughout the movie.

But there is some good in the world: after all, I walked out of this knowing that if any demonic Clown comes after me, I sure can count on Spawn to decapitate him for me. And if my dog ever runs away, I can count on Miko Hughes to find him for me. And if I ever get confused during a movie, I can count on Nicol Williamson's tacked-on voice-over to provide exposition.

And finally, if I ever go to hell, I know I can look forward to a place filled with cartoon characters. YEE HEE!
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6/10
Heavily flawed, still enjoyed it a bit.
patriciogl1020 November 2019
You can easily tell that comic book based movies were not a popular demand back in the '90s. Spawn is a result of a sloppy adaptation from a source material which is really difficult to rightfully adapt, special effects that were expensive and got dated after two years and a production company that didn't seem to have taken the making of this movie seriously. So logically it feels like a really poor effort, yet it has its moments.

Great casting choice in Michael Jai White, he proved himself worthy of portraying a broken man looking for revenge and a chance to see his family again. Action sequences are actually quite tolerable, and dark humour mostly provided by John Leguizamo's character (in a funny/disturbing performance) was done to a right amount, enough to add a bit of edge to the story and not much to harm the film, a trend you see nowadays in comic book films, too much unnecessary humour.

The special effects are cringe-worthy at best, which don't really appeal visually other than the cape and Spawn's overall look. So, there aren't many reasons to watch this film, well perhaps the hope that a new Spawn adaptation won't be as bad as this one. Even though I know it's bad, I still got a kick out of it, hence my 6 rating.

Oh, if you expect to see a good performance from Martin Sheen, you can forget about it, he's atrocious in this. All I want to do is forget he was in this movie.
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2/10
I tried to like it, I really did...
rsaunders2-130 April 2010
The first time I saw this...well, I wanted to like it. I had rented it probably as soon as it came out on VHS. I hadn't read a Spawn comic but knew one thing, he was a badass and a lot of people liked the comics. I had high hopes. Boy, was I disappointed. Now as the time has passed and I've gotten older, I've tried to like it for different reasons. For the campy aspect of it, for Leguizamo's part, for anything...I still don't.

The effects are what they are, and you can't do much with a budget too low for your aspirations when it comes to a work like this. As it is, the suit and cape look pretty good, but it seems like those are the only things that any money were spent on. However, that is the least of my concerns for Spawn.

The acting is...in a word...atrocious. No one other than Leguizamo has any fun in this thing. He's like the guy at a crappy party that says, "Hey, screw it. I'm gonna have a good time whether the rest of you guys are or not!" Did I like his performance? Not really, but you have to give him credit for trying. That's more than I can say for the rest of the cast, crew, pretty much anyone else associated with this. Jai White is awful. The script doesn't help him at all but he was just the wrong choice. That said, there probably weren't too many African-Americans at the time that folks thought could pull it off, so he was chosen. Wrong choice, but I guess you do what you have to. Sheen was so bad I had to watch Apocalypse Now again just to get the vision of Spawn out of my head. Sweeney and Randle....who? They were in this thing? See what I mean?

The movie should NOT have been PG-13 either. We know well enough these days that even when a movie is put out in a director's cut on DVD with an R rating that it doesn't help much. Spawn should have been a "hard R" all the way from the get-go. It also could have helped itself being a bit longer, say 2 hrs total. But maybe it's the best thing that Spawn only tortured us for 90 mins. Any more of Spawn the way it is and you wind up thinking too much about Death's sweet release.

Like I said, I really wanted to like it. I watch it when it comes on FX or whatever other TV channel just to see if I can find a reason to like it, so maybe I won't feel the disappointment I felt the first time. It never works...and it never will.
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Sacrilege
Mr_Derp21 June 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie after I had seen the animated mini-series, and let me say I am sorry to have seen it all. I never really followed the comics, but after witnessing the genius of the animated version, I could never have imagined that it was possible to ruin such a good character and story so thoroughly and completely. It is flashy, campy, and ridiculous. The acting is terrible, and the effects are just terrible. The movie manages to create a completely inappropriate atmosphere and does nothing to reveal the depth and darkness of the title character. Dump this in the garbage and watch the mini-series.
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10/10
One of my favorite movie ever
Dxkpower4 January 2005
Personal Note: I don't know how many time I have watched this movie and each time i see it i love it more and more.The movie might be old but it's still really well made I think it's even better then some of the recent movies that came out.Spawn is my favorite super hero of all time full action packed plus it has a love touch in it well the movie is basically based on a romance.A man, Practically selling is soul to the devil Malbolgia. Michael Jai White Does a good performance in this.

Well down to business great:A killer named Al Simmons " Michael Jai White"Want's to retire is job but is boss Jason win"Martin Sheen"send's him one last job as a set up and kill's him by burning him in a facility.He goes to hell and The devil Malbolgia tell's if he lead's his army of hell spawn's he'll let him see His wife Wanda "Theresa Randle" and the story goes on.
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6/10
Every time someone farts, a demon gets his wings...
paul_haakonsen22 May 2017
I loved the comic book back in the day, and I was with it from the early beginning. So when there was news about a feature movie based on Spawn was in the works, it was naturally thrilling news. And furthermore, with New Line Cinema involved, it could be nothing but good. Right? Well, while "Spawn" certainly has its moments, it is not without its flaws. And believe you me, the flaws in this movie were monumental.

There is a good amount of action throughout the movie, which is essentially the movie's strongest side. Well, that and the fact that it is based on a very popular comic book franchise. The storyline in the 1997 "Spawn" movie wasn't particularly thrilling, and it was essentially just to bring in new fans to the franchise. Especially since most of what was brought to life on the screen had already been covered in the comic books.

Malbolgia was rather poorly animated and why didn't his mouth move as he spoke? Furthermore, why did he sound like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget whenever he was speaking? It just didn't really add up to anything worthwhile.

As for fan service, then it was nice to see Angela make a cameo appearance but why didn't she intefere at the galla? Saving her for a later movie perhaps? But I still think that it would have been so much better to have her in the movie more than just a few seconds long cameo.

While we are on cameos; it was also a nice cameo by Todd McFarlane when he showed up and came face to face with his own creation - literally.

John Leguizamo was a good choice to play The Violator, because his rugged voice, wits and charms really transcended well into the character. The cast in "Spawn" was quite good, and there was some good names on the cast list.

"Spawn" does have some pretty good CGI effects. Well, except for the billowing cape which was just out of tune with everything else. Sure, I know it was supposed to be a huge cape, but it just looked so poorly animated. And when Clown was entertaining Cyan, where his eyes and tongue came out of the head, then I was actually ready to turn off the movie. That whole thing just added a very unnecessary layer of stupidity to the movie.

Certain parts of the movie did not correspond with the comic book. Especially the thing with Terry being a white guy.

The practical effects, such as Spawn's skin, was quite good. And the special effects team really brought a lot of life to the characters and the environment.

"Spawn" didn't really do justice to the comic book, but it still was an entertaining movie for what it turned out to be. Just take it as a separate entity away from the comic book and you'll be fine.

This is also the type of movie that you can watch every now and again, and I think I had now seen it four or five times since it was released back in 1997, although years pass in between every viewing.
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6/10
Enjoyable, Flawed, Fun= ???
gigan-9227 January 2011
I remember seeing this film as a kid, and i remember it being pretty bad-ass. Joining IMDb, and seeing it at a 4.9, I was astonished. But having been over twelve years, I decided to go out and buy the Director's cut. Just to be blunt, it's nowhere near worthy of the rating it's at. But, there is quite a bit of wasted potentiality. I'll start off with the good, which really there is a lot of if you think about it. First off, if you're really into action, look no further because this film sports a nice amount of it. And the basic premise is pretty interesting, but even the director's cut clocks in at under an hour and forty minutes , so it fails to dive any deeper than it certainly could've. The cinematography is by Guillermo Navarro, who many of you probably know from his work with director Guillermo del Toro ( "Blade 2", the "Hellboy" series, "Pan's Labyrinth", etc.), and he does a bang up job. With the right direction this could have been a masterpiece by all means. Mark A.Z. Dippé knew and carried out the bare minimum of film making, and if you look into it is busy now-a-days with animated Garfield productions. What a down grade, huh? About 90% of the visuals are pretty damn good actually, and the acting as it is is all right. For these things alone, I enjoyed this movie, where as I despised "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" for its predictable generic storyline and overly done flashy effects. Michael Jai White was far from terrible and John Leguizamo was pretty terrific if not a bit cartoony at times.

The bad points really hit this film hard. The pacing, attuned to its short run time, zooms by way too quickly with annoying video game like transitions and a score that didn't fit the film too well. Every time I was expecting more to be developed, I was let down. "Oh, this is a cool plot line-wait, what, we're moving on already? oh..okay..". And lastly, amongst 90% of the great CGI and make-up, the battle in hell is painstakingly terrible. They should've gone with an elaborate set and CGI here and there, but it becomes hopeless so you have to sit threw what you would call a lackluster climax.

But for what it is, I highly recommended this movie for its dark humor and awesome action.
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5/10
A few good scenes don't save this wreck of a story.
Samiam35 June 2010
There are moments in Spawn that stand out with exceptional creativity, but what truly stands out about the movie is just how much of a mess it is.

The screenplay is a wreck, the acting is stiff and unconvincing, and the whole thing seems to fly by so fast, that we don't get a chance to experience much other than a look at some nifty visuals. In fairness, I suppose it is easy enough to argue that Spawn delivers its share of action sequences for a ninety minute movie, but perhaps it needs to back down a bit. It needs more story. In the end, Spawn feels like nothing more or less than an exercise in CGI and make-up effects.

It is pretty difficult to get involved with the story, in part because it makes no sense, but mostly because we simply do not care. The character of Al Simmons is about as cheap and plastic as the armour he suits up in during the second half of the feature. Quite frankly I don't find him all that likable. He is cold and nasty, even as a superhero. I really hate it when the good guys talk like the bad guys; when they cackle or make snarly remarks, like Dr. Westlake in the Darkman series.

Some of the special effects work, some don't. Our hero has a blood red cape which can expand to the size of Texas (don't ask me how). I liked that effect. The thing sort of has a computer generated life of its own, and its elegance clashes with the plastic of Spawn's armour. the primary villain is a clown from hell, who can turn into a ten foot armour plated beast which looks a bit like a cousin of the Queen from Aliens. That is another good effect. The climax takes us deep into the fiery pit of hell, which unfortunately does NOT so convincing. My screen saver is a more intimidating computer generated image. I was reminded a bit of the Brinstar level from Super Smash Brothers.

Like so many films do, Spawn ends on a note that just cries out for a sequel. Needless to say, there isn't one and there never will be. Spawn is entertaining in parts, but definitely not as a whole.
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10/10
Great movie then, still great now.
funpolice5-125 February 2008
This was an awesome movie when it first came out. The special effects were great for it's time. I just recently re-watched and thought it was still awesome. I love the story and characters. However, I'm used to the special effects we have now so the ones in the movie were kind disappointing. Besides that this movie rocks. It has everything and characterizes the Spawn character perfectly, gets his dark and revengeful side and his loving and compassionate side. If you'e going to watch this movie now, keep in mind that this was released a while ago back in 1997 so the effects are out of date but its great besides that. I'd recommend this movie to anyone!
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The muppet show gone wrong
McCarthy11 June 1999
Everyone seems to agree that the original Spawn comic is excellent material for a pointless, violent, stupid and thoroughly amusing movie. This movie, however....It isn't all that violent (if you compare it to the comic book), but it is stupid and utterly pointless. Amusing? It could have been if they had inserted a prolonged torture scene of John Leguizamos Clown character: one of the most un-funny, irritating and tacky "comic relief" characters ever to have (dis)graced the screen. Move over Chris Tucker and Pauly Shore - we have a new candidate for overrated quasi-comedian of the decade. The special effects were kind of confusing - half of them were excellent and half of them looked like beautified Sesame Street animations (the demon "thing" of hell, for example, which had me crying with laughter). Let's hope for the next Spawn movie they take a few chances and make a grittier downbeat tale with more in common with the original comic and not like the muppet show from hell.
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4/10
too campy to be dark
SnoopyStyle14 January 2016
Al Simmons (Michael Jai White) is an agent of a covert government agency headed by Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen). He is angered by the civilian casualties of the latest hit. Wynn sends him on the next mission to attack a North Korean biochemical plant. Wynn double-crosses him with assassin Jessica Priest (Melinda Clarke). He is sent down to Hell where demon king Malebolgia offers him a deal. It's 5 years late. Al returns to earth to see his love Wanda Blake (Theresa Randle) who is now married to his best friend Terry Fitzgerald (D.B. Sweeney) and raising his daughter Cyan. Evil minion Clown/The Violator (John Leguizamo) reminds him of the deal to kill Wynn and lead the demon army upon Armageddon in exchange for Wanda. Cogliostro was also an assassin from Hell but he saved his soul and battle for Heaven.

It tries to be a darker and uglier type of comic book movie but it ends up more or less campy. I can't really take John Leguizamo seriously. Danny DeVito would have been much better. Everybody is trying too hard to be a cartoon character. Martin Sheen doesn't have to act evil. He would be so much more effect if he acts Presidential. The visual style looks cheap although Spawn himself looks good. The makeup looks pretty good and the CGI is incorporated as well as can be expected. I guess most of the effort was concentrated on the look of Spawn and everything else took a backseat.
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9/10
Good film
shamsuzzohan24 January 2012
If it had Will Smith or Christian Bale at the protagonist role and some top rated people on directorship, it would have earned above 7 rating on IMDb.

It's an irony but true, most people do not appreciate the story line, neither the acting. We only worship the actors and the level of publicity before the release.

A military assassin called Al Simmons was betrayed by the head of a covert government agency. The head of the govt assigned Simmons a mission to take out a Bio-Chem plant in North Korea while ordering his top assassin, Jessica Priest to assassinate Simmons. Very cruel political picture. After Simmons dies from a gas fire, he arrives in the Hell where The Devil offers him a Faustian deal. If Simmons becomes his eternal servant and leader of his army in Armageddon, he will be able to return to Earth to see his beloved people. Simmons accepted the offer.

That's the beginning of the story. Rest of the plot is very perfectly made that can hold your attention for the whole time. I liked this film.
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2/10
Huge disappointment
brian_herm25 December 2007
Take a great story about someone being damned for his sins and brought back as a demon. Then take out all the spooky dark stuff and add a bunch of sweetness-and-light tenderness that adds absolutely nothing to the story. Tone down the comic-book atmosphere to a more believable level, something around the level of the town of Mayberry. What you're left with is a watered-down, listless waste of time that's guaranteed not to offend anyone, and has all the entertainment value of a cup of oatmeal. I can almost see a bunch of guys sitting around a table, discussing a live action version of "Spawn", and then someone says "But let's make it a lot more like 'Lassie Come Home' so people can take their kids to see it." Stick with the animated version, don't waste your time and money on this saccharine yawn-fest.
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5/10
"Spawn"-lite
dee.reid14 December 2006
"Spawn" is a special effects spectacle unlike anything before it. It has some dazzling CGI effects to complement its dark tone and breathe life into the Gothic fantasy, and wondrous cinematography to carry it out. Unfortunately, that's all it has to offer, which is a real shame, because this had the potential to be one hell (pun intended) of a movie.

As a reader of "Spawn" comics and collector of "Spawn" merchandise (and affiliated McFarlane Toys products), I saw at an early age how "Spawn" revolutionized the comics industry with its mystical premise, graphic visuals, Heaven vs. Hell battle theme and gratuitous sex and violence, and while such gusto has been embraced by fans, this 1997 film adaptation of Todd McFarlane's popular underground comic, directed by Mark A.Z. Dippe', is rated "PG-13" (subsequent home video versions were of the "R"-rated director's cut, which contained additional footage), the watered-down violence more cartoonish than graphic. In short, in the comic book world, Spawn is not like anything else out there.

The story is that the demon Malebolgia needs fresh souls for his ever-growing army of undead soldiers to lead an eventual conquest of Earth, and then, Heaven, in what will eventually bring about Armageddon. All Malebolgia needs is a general for his army, and, Holy Lazarus, recently deceased CIA operative Al Simmons (newcomer Michael Jai White) has just the extra-crispy corpse for the job.

See, Simmons was set up by his insane former employer Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen) after making a bargain with Malebolgia's go-to guy and Earthbound lieutenant, the pudgy, disgusting Clown (John Leguizamo, completely unrecognizable in his get-up), to kill Simmons so that he would be sent to Hell. While in Hell (which looks like a CGI version of a Marilyn Manson concert on steroids), Simmons makes a deal with Malebolgia to lead his army, in exchange for one last chance to see his wife Wanda Blake (Theresa Randle), who is now married to his best friend Terry Fitzgerald (D.B. Sweeney) and together the two now have a young daughter named Cyan (Sydni Beaudoin).

Back on Earth and unaware that five years have passed, Simmons has a burnt-to-a-crisp visage that doesn't sit well with people not accustomed to undead soldiers from Hell. He establishes sympathetic links with the homeless denizens of alley Rat City, chiefly young Zack (Miko Hughes), and is watched over by the Godsend Cogliostro (Nicol Williamson). When Simmons's body comes out of its larval stage and transforms him into a "Hellspawn," a being with an endoplasmic and invincible suit of armor, he sees his chance to use these new powers to exact vengeance on Wynn, his lethal vixen Jessica Priest (Melinda Clarke), reunite with Wanda, and seek a way to break out of his agreement with Hell.

As stated earlier, "Spawn" is one hell of a special effects spectacle, and it looks great, but a lot goes wrong in too many places. I was dazzled to see one of my favorite superheroes on the screen nearly 10 years ago as an impressionable pre-teen. Now at 21, I am sorely disappointed by what I see today. "Spawn" still could have been good, even without with the full-on graphic content and Heaven & Hell mysticism of the source material. While a largely accurate reflection of the comics, it still gives more credence to my assertion that this is "Spawn"-lite. Presumably, studio bosses weren't keen on marketing a Hellbound superhero to the masses, so measures were probably taken to make the vehicle more accessible. (Take my advice and stick to the animated HBO miniseries.)

On the plus side, Michael Jai White makes an efficient hero and this remains the actor's most well-known part. We do feel his pain (even if it seems forced at times), his quips, and overall faithful portrayal of the character. Sheen makes for a coolly sadistic madman but it's Leguizamo who steals the show. His gross-out-humor, maggot-munching portrayal of the Clown is just what takes this movie out of the dregs and into full-blown camp territory. Lastly, the soundtrack, a mix of heavy metal and techno, does have some pretty wicked sounds.

It's easy to see that only core fans will want to stick with this picture. It had such a great chance to be something unlike anything else out there. With the comic book craze still in full swing in Hollywood, "Spawn" seems forgotten, or at the very least, sitting on the sidelines. But "Spawn," to me, seems to be an example of mis-marketing, a brilliant idea gone haywire. Maybe it should have stayed in Hell, where it belongs.

5/10
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8/10
Great for it's time
Darth_Osmosis10 June 2018
This is just really cool, plus I saw it first at a rather young age. The effects really are sometimes terrible and other times good or even very good for it's time, still features many cool action scenes and set pieces, a memorable anti-hero and the unforgettable character of the "Clown".
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10/10
excellent!!
mato9 December 1998
I must say I was skeptic to the idea of making a movie outta my favorite comic, but I were most surprised to find out that it ain't impossible to make a good movie based on a comic. In my opinion Spawn is the best movie ever made that's based on a comic. I've seen this movie 4 times and counting!!! I gave it a 10 because it is truly worth it.

p.s. (it's the first time I've ever given a 10 for a movie).
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4/10
Partly entertaining but mostly a FLOP
mardalsfossen013 January 2019
1997 - The year M.I.B., Jurassic Park, Alien: Resurrection or The 5th Element or also Spawn were released.

Specialeffects at that time weren't especially mind-blowing, but Spawn doesn't keep up for the most parts with his contenders of the same year. While some effects looked decent & watchable like Spawns suits & gadgets or The Violator, some just were unbearably bad, especially the scenes from Hell.

The atmosphere of the movie is mostly dark and dystopian, I think the vibe is right, the set is okay.

The 3 main actors played actually well. John Leguizamo standing out as Clown. His character had some funny lines and was entertaining. Michael Jay White played well and Martin Sheen, too. Rest of the cast was okay. Also I liked when 'Apocalypse Now' was mentioned and Martin Sheen was in the next shot.

The plot was good since it's given from the already successful Comics. I did feel entertained, especially the first ¾, just the movie as a whole felt meh.

I'm looking forward to the reboot this year with Jamie Foxx - 'Spawn' is a cool character with potential, almost like Venom maybe.
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10/10
Fantasy doesn't get any better.
wvelovich6 June 2005
Story, script, direction and performances were perfect. EFx got us over and into the trip. When will the next movie be made? Watching n waiting... Few variations from the books but the movie did justice to Spawn and stands up alone well. I am quite surprised that John Leguzamo was not nominated for and academy award here. The Clown/Violator was over the top and Leguzamo's performance aside from stellar did give enough creep, vulgarity, humor and ever present sense of evil. One of the few DVDs I have bought, Spawn always entertains friends who haven't been Spawned before. We're all awaiting Spawn's return...hopefully darker and with added angst than before.
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10/10
The Master of Hell in the Movie of Horror...
Tyler_R_Weston7 November 2003
Spawn has become one of my favorite superheros of all-time. There's no words for this film. IT'S SUPERB!!! The fx are amazingly done and McFarlane should be proud of this film. Spawn is a new hero to our world, his appearances are only about 10 years old. But that doesn't matter. I believe that this movie demonstrates what Hell can really be like. Spawn is a super original hero that only a person like McFarlane create. If there are any remakes or sequels, this one will remain the best!! I'm disappointed with the rating though. Spawn has also made a great appearance in Soul Calibur 2. This movie has a great cast and the costumes are magnificent. Lequizamo is strangely humorous in this film and insane. The Violator was also superb. Bring on part 2! McFarlane has proved himself powerful by creating Spawn. I truly recommend it. Spawn is one of our top heroes of all time.
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5/10
just good, it could have been better.
arker10 October 2000
The problem again here with this movie, that had an excellent story, is the usage that the director gave to it. This director could not handle the story and delivered just a plain and simple story, that is kind of boring. Mark Dippe, learn from directors as Norrington (Blade), and from Guillermo del Toro (Mimic). What a shame.
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Cult favorite, but shamefully wrong adaptation
Rainfox21 November 1999
* (1 out of 5) Spawn

Directed by : Mark A.Z. Dippé, 1997

Cult comic book comes to the screen looking like a bad computer game. Lacklustre story, illogically put together, some really awful editing and dialogue and finally the Tron-looking computer generated special effects (as in Tron from 1982, yes).

Joe Leguizamo is wickedly funny as spooky Stephen Kingish clown and the only highlight.
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