Spawn

Spawn Image
Metascore
34

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 212 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A government assassin is brought back to life as a black superhero with supernatural powers. (Warner Bros.)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 17
  2. Negative: 8 out of 17
  1. 88
    It walks and talks like a big budget horror film, heavy on special effects and pitched at the teenage audience, and maybe that's how it will be received. But it's more impressive if you ignore the genre and just look at what's on the screen.
  2. Reviewed by: David Kaplan
    70
    Think Batman on crystal meth.
  3. 50
    Unfortunately, where the movie falls apart is in the storyline. While Spawn fans may be delighted by this effort, the uninitiated may have a hard time getting beyond the fancy special effects and often-incoherent plot.
  4. 40
    If Spawn had anything close to a script, it would be a pretty nifty fantasy about conspiracy, apocalypse and a fat killer clown.
  5. 30
    The nonsensical screenplay can barely stand-up to the hellzapoppin, Beelzebubbin effects mustered by first-time director Mark Dippe.
  6. Otherwise, the movie, which borrows from a dozen pop sources and improves on none of them, is pretty much a washout.
  7. Reviewed by: Laura Miller
    0
    The special effects look model-shop cheesy, as if they'd been created using a handful of action figures and MacPaint, and the rest of the picture has the flat visual finish and phoned-in performances of a TV movie.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 8
  2. Negative: 4 out of 8
  1. maxxk
    Jul 19, 2007
    8
    The movie has its flaws, but I found it to be really good. The special effects were ok, nothing special. The acting was great, especially The movie has its flaws, but I found it to be really good. The special effects were ok, nothing special. The acting was great, especially John Leguizamo as the Clown. Expand
  2. Sam
    Oct 15, 2005
    6
    Is it a terrible movie? No. Is it an ok movie? Sure. Does it deserve the 3 and a half out of for stars that Roger Ebert gave it? Not even close.
  3. Jan 28, 2013
    5
    Overall an OK movie and decently made for the time. Effects were astounding (for the 90s) and Leguizamo is fantastic as Violator (perhaps aOverall an OK movie and decently made for the time. Effects were astounding (for the 90s) and Leguizamo is fantastic as Violator (perhaps a bit too over the top.) The rest of the cast were clearly not as interested in their roles. A really hammy performance from Martin Sheen, a bit shocked that he was capable of this. The story does cover modern Spawn's origin story, but in the most bland and rushed way possible. Like most comic book movies of the age, it clearly suffers from trying to do too much in a limited time and ending up with a disjointed mess that makes little sense. Too many references that only fans would understand with little to no exposition to explain them to anyone else. Overall: Spawn was fun to watch, but really a bit of a let down to most hardcore fans as it barely scratches the surface on the potential it could have been. Average, in every sense of the word. Expand
  4. Aug 10, 2013
    3
    The over exaggerated performances take away the overall mobility in character depth from the movie, leaving the broad span of violence andThe over exaggerated performances take away the overall mobility in character depth from the movie, leaving the broad span of violence and moderate special effects the task of bailing it out from near complete disaster. Expand
  5. Mar 20, 2016
    2
    “Spawn” is a moodily malevolent, anything-goes revenge fantasy that relies more upon special visual and digitally animated effects for its“Spawn” is a moodily malevolent, anything-goes revenge fantasy that relies more upon special visual and digitally animated effects for its intended appeal than any comics-derived sci-fier to date. Based on Todd McFarlane’s enormously successful comic books, which have already spawned an HBO animated series and a thriving toy line, this narratively knuckleheaded, visually teeming film will appeal to the comics’ abundant fan base as well as to a fair portion of the young and mostly male sci-fi faithful who put “The Fifth Element” into the win column at the beginning of the summer. Traditionalists and older viewers will cringe, but that shouldn’t prevent New Line from reaping a quick reward on its reasonable $45 million production investment.

    Pic brandishes any number of elements that, for teenagers, will mark it as edgy and cool: high-tech armor and artillery that put old-fashioned comic book heroes like Batman and Superman to shame; a physically dark, morally relative universe in which there are mostly just degrees of bad, and little good; irreverent and scatological humor; a heavy metal/alternative soundtrack; and, for once, a black superhero who, in this case, has literally gone to hell and back.

    At the same time, however, “Spawn” piles on the sensory overload with no compensatory narrative or thematic balance; is numbingly repetitive in its action; features a uniquely unsavory and uninteresting cast of characters; substitutes adolescent vulgarity and obnoxiousness for genuine subversiveness and wit; and, perhaps worst of all, establishes no guidelines as to what its supernaturally gifted characters are capable of, seeming to make up their abilities as it goes along. For anyone not predisposed to locking in to its wavelength, the film is a forbidding, notably unlikable pop culture artifact.

    Through a couple of explosive action sequences, first quarter-hour establishes the expertise and ultimate betrayal of U.S. government operative Al Simmons (Michael Jai White, star of HBO’s “Tyson”). On a secret mission to take out a North Korean biological weapons plant, Simmons is blown to smithereens by his boss Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen), who subsequently takes possession of the germ material to establish his bid for individual world domination.

    In this world, however, people don’t necessarily die forever, and five years later, a horribly scarred Simmons is given the chance to return to Earth and see his beloved wife Wanda (Theresa Randle) and daughter Cyan (Sydni Beaudoin) if he will lead the Devil’s army to conquer the world. To this end, he is influenced on behalf of the forces of darkness by the repellent, scabarously sarcastic Clown from hell (John Leguizamo, unrecognizable in billowing fat and costumes), just as the venerable conjurer Cogliostro (Nicol Williamson) attempts to convince him to accept the assignment in order to eventually turn the tables on Satan.

    All of this is presented in a dramatically muddled way in Alan McElroy’s screenplay, which has Simmons, now transformed into the armor-plated, physically superhuman Spawn, quickly get on the trail of the nefarious Wynn, who himself is in league with the malignant Clown. Threatened with Spawn’s vengeance, Wynn undergoes an operation that represents the supreme manifestation of tyrannical ego: He has a device implanted so that deadly bacteria will be released worldwide, killing everyone, should his heart stop beating.

    As the story, such as it is, moves along, punctuated throughout by fancy wipes and transitions, one could be excused for increasingly losing one’s bearings, since the goal posts keep being moved by the filmmakers for their own convenience. Some wounds heals, others don’t; some characters seem to die, and while some do, others are able to bounce back; spatial and temporal relativity is played with willy-nilly, and nothing much ultimately seems to make any difference. Even the fate of the rightfully aggrieved, righteously motivated Simmons/Spawn gets lost in the unholy stew, to the point that any human engagement in his mission is an afterthought.

    The filmmakers here, including first-time director Mark A.Z. Dippe, producer Clint Goldman and visual effects supervisor Steve (Spaz) Williams, have long experience in the f/x field, notably at Industrial Light & Magic, which did many of the effects here. Rarely has there been a film so loaded with effects at the expense of character or narrative coherence, which will be as a big a turn-on for some viewers as it is a turn-off for others.

    The accomplishment and variety of visual happenings provides plenty of onscreen fireworks, but without any suspense, horror, wonder or dramatic surprise underlying them, they remain things to admire or just behold for their own sake.

    Thesps have all been seen to better advantage elsewhere, to say the least.
    Expand
  6. Jan 11, 2012
    1
    En voyant le comics-book, il y avait quelque chose d'intéressant à tirer de Spawn. Surtout si le projet auraitEn voyant le comics-book, il y avait quelque chose d'intéressant à tirer de Spawn. Surtout si le projet aurait atterri dans les main d'un réalisateur talentueux tel que Tim Burton, qui aurait pu faire ressortir toute l'ambiance et la puissance du comics ou tout simplement nous aurait livré un nouveau chef-d'oeuvre plastique comme il avait fait avec Batman. Mais au lieu de ça, Spawn reste un très mauvais film en plus d'être une très mauvaise adaptation. Et pour cause, le scénario est aussi indigeste que ses dialogues, c'est mal joué, les effets spéciaux sont immondes, la bande-son inadapté... Bref, tout est à jeter! Bon, je dois reconnaître que les maquillages et les costumes relèvent légèrement le niveau, mais cela n'est même pas suffisant pour faire un navet potable. Et franchement, on peut s'en rendre compte dès la première seconde du film, où une horrible voix off raconte les faits sur un montage digne du plus mal fichu des clips. En conclusion, Spawn ne ressemble à rien. Ou peut-être que si : il ressemble plus à un très mauvais jeu vidéo qui, lui-même, ne ressemble à rien. C'est pour vous dire... Expand
  7. Mar 1, 2014
    0
    Ok I felt like I was playing a video game in the scene where he was in hell (The CGI'S were terrible to) I picked up my XBOX controller andOk I felt like I was playing a video game in the scene where he was in hell (The CGI'S were terrible to) I picked up my XBOX controller and started pressing random buttons (The old NG6 graphics were way better than this)
    This movie is a great example about great comic books that were made into movies and sucked I watched this on TV and it goes above scary movie 2 "Spawn" is the worst movie I've ever seen.
    Expand

See all 8 User Reviews

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