A mercenary is betrayed and murdered, only to return from
Hell as the reluctant leader of the devil's army, Spawn.
Directed by Mark A.Z. Dippé
Written by Alan B. McElroy
Starring Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, Martin Sheen,
Theresa Randle, Nicol Williamson, D.B. Sweeney, Melinda Clarke, Miko Hughes, Sydni Beaudoin, Michael Papajohn, Frank Welker
Based on characters created by Todd McFarlane
Spawn is a film that was made about ten years too early and nearly falls apart because of it. The character of Spawn is one who relies entirely on special effects and the CGI of 1997 simply couldn't keep up with him. It's a film that's been ripe for a reboot for quite some time and with the special effects capabilities of today, it has the potential to be one of the coolest comic book movies ever made. However, this 1997 oddball has fallen through the cracks of the superhero subgenre and exists solely as a cult film admired only by the most loyal of fans.
Michael Jai White was a solid pick for Spawn and once the film is rebooted, I think he should be the first choice to play him again. He had a certain arrogance that an antihero like Spawn needs in order to be taken seriously. John Leguizamo did one hell of a job as the Violator, the fat, disgusting villain who manipulates both sides. Under all that makeup, you can't even tell who the actor is, but for some reason, Leguizamo managed to bring the character to life, even if he's an annoying, vulgar freak. The rest of the characters are forgettable or just irritating, especially Martin Sheen's hammy, Bond villain-esque turn as Jason Wynn.
Spawn was ahead of its time and would fare much better with today's CGI. It has a weak story and some laughable dialogue, but the confidence of Spawn himself helps the film along to an abrupt ending. The inexperience of both the writer and director is painfully obvious and in the right hands, we could be talking about Spawn as a 90's classic instead of a 90's mistake.