Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Spawn (1997) Review:

Through comic book history, there has been a group of anti-heroes that belong to hell. My favorite was Ghost Rider, but after watching Spawn, I couldn't decide over who was better overall. Spawn is an anti-hero comic book character created from the mind of Todd McFarlane. As for the movie, I was hoping for it to be a little more than just satisfactory. And the only thing I can really say that doesn't negatively criticize it, are its visuals.

John Leguizamo as the clown (aka the Violator)....yeah....
Spawn is the story of an ex-assassin, Al Simmons, who was left for dead after his evil boss, Jason Wynn, burned him in an explosion. Its not until he is brought to hell and made a deal with Lucifer to become the leader of Hell's army. Simmons is portrayed by Michael Jai White, and Wynn by Martin Sheen. White was a good choice for Spawn but there were some times where he sounded like he was growling more than talking and it just became tiresome after a while. Sheen was an interesting choice as the villain because of his acting style. Sheen is very smooth and it never seems like he's out of step with his character.

One character that is less tolerable than the others, is The Violator, played by John Leguizamo. It's understandable that Leguizamo was only acting out the personality of The Violator, but it felt like every time he was on screen, it was just another drawback. Almost like Leguizamo's character was supposed to be stealing the spotlight. Not to mention that The Violator wasn't even that funny to begin with; just a nuisance. The action was good in this film. Of course, that's when Spawn was busy trying to get vengeance, which wasn't all too often. Half the time, Simmons was trying to get in touch with his past, which wasn't ever successful.

Spawn's costume.....pure awesome
The other issue was that Spawn didn't learn know how to really control his powers until the very end of the film. And as all origin comic book adaptations go, the superhero figures out how to control their superpowers quickly, but for Spawn, it takes an awful long time. But despite all these flaws, the visuals and special effects are the greatest things about this movie. The costume of Spawn is spectacular. Bright lime green colored eyes, a black suite of armor and a cloak that can be used as camouflage or to enhance anything he wields makes Spawn an awesome superhero. Another plus is how Spawn can form metal objects from his body. Even his costume has a mind of its own! It's a neat trick.

The sounds are cool listening to as well. Hearing how Spawn morphs his skin can get the skin crawling. Also the Violator in his true form was cool to see in the real world as well. What I couldn't understand was the transition between the real world and hell. Whenever the screen is focused on hell, I felt like a video game simulation and not a movie. Another thing I would've like to see was Spawn being a rated "R" film; PG-13 just didn't seem like the right tone for this kind of story. The musical score was produced by Graeme Revell and sadly I didn't feel much from it either. There was music but no emotional connection.

Todd McFarlane's comic book adaptation has ensnaring visuals and some decent action sequences but is weighed down by an unsupported soundtrack and a slow moving script. Viewers may also be turned off by Leguizamo's obnoxious character role.

Points Earned --> 7:10

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