spawn posterNew Line Cinema
1997
PG-13

“Aren’t there any normal people left on Earth?  Or is everybody back from Hell?”

Al Simons is an assassin whacked by his bosses and sent to Hades, where he gets a new lease on the afterlife as one of the Hellspawn.  But while the others of his kind do evil work, Spawn uses his power for good, though he would like nothing more than to exact revenge on his killer.

My history with the Image Comics antihero Spawn lies solely with this movie.  I was more of a Spider-Man kinda guy when it came to comic books, really.  But comic books are one thing; when it comes to movies based on comic book properties, I’m an equal opportunity geek.

I saw Spawn in the theater.  Twice.  Second time I brought along a Japanese exchange student that was staying with my parents for a couple of weeks in the summer of ’97.  Personally, I enjoyed the heck out of Spawn back then.  Sure, we can look back and wonder why, but keep in mind the other superhero big-budget extravaganza that summer was Batman And Robin a week or so before.  Spawn was just the thing to flush that abomination out of my head, there.

Of course, fifteen years after the fact, and it’s rather evident that Spawn hasn’t exactly held up over time.  This is mostly due to the CGI effects, 1997-era effects, yes, but even back then they came off as more like a Playstation One game than movie quality.  Spawn is a perfect example of over-reliance on CG effects, especially when Malebogia hits the screen.  The majority of the dialogue is groan-inducing, Martin Sheen seems out of place and it shows on his face, and the normally annoying John Leguizamo cranks the annoying factor up past eleven.  The editing is a bit ham-fisted, and…did I mention the lousy CGI?  Yeah, it’s that bad.

And you know what?  I love every minute of this.  It’s a guilty pleasure, something I’ll watch every time I see it on television and throw on for background noise for busywork.  Spawn is a great mindless action movie, heavily flawed but also heavy on things blowing up.  It’s one of those movies I have just because.