Synopsis – An elite mercenary is killed, but comes back from Hell as a reluctant soldier of the Devil – Spawn
Director – Mark A.Z. Dippe
Released – 1997
For fans of – The Crow, Hellboy, Dark City
I have vivid memories of watching Spawn back in the day and finding it extremely enjoyable, holding it in the same vein as Blade or The Matrix, two films that capitalized greatly on quickly improving CGI to craft wonderfully dark/gritty gothic subject-matter that hold up just as well today as they did upon release, sadly, however, Spawn hasn’t aged in such a graceful manner and elements that I previously thought of as entertaining, may well have been the stupidity of youth. That said, there’s still entertainment to be had.
Part of what made Spawn so cool is the high levels of action, stopping the movie from ever dragging, while the practical effects are visually delightful, sadly the same can’t be same for the CGI, which wasn’t able to keep up with the filmmaker’s grand plans for this anti-hero, while the dialogue is often as corny as anything as seen in Catwoman or either of the Schumacher Batman films, but worst of all is the editing decisions, which can be pretty erratic and offputting
That said, the actors do their best with the clunky material: Michael Jai White brings the character of Spawn to life with just the right amount of emotional punch and violence, while Martin Sheen, John Leguizamo and Nicol Williamson are wonderfully over the top as maniacal comic-book villains, but if this isn’t the time to be extra, then when is?
In the end, Spawn is a move that ran before it could walk, putting too much faith in digital effects that couldn’t portray half of what the filmmakers wanted without it looking cartoonish or distracting to the viewer, but if you can get past that, then like me you might form a lasting bond with this wonderfully entertaining character, I just hope the upcoming reboot does better in the long run.