Comic Book Movie Rewatch: Spawn

I’ve decided to go back and watch a bunch of movies based on comic books. No real reason, just something I thought would be fun. This week it was the 1997 movie Spawn.

Spawn

IMDb Rating: 5.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes critics: 19%

Rotten Tomatoes audience: 37%

My Rating: 3/10

Last night, I watched Spawn while waiting for my baby to fall asleep. I never read the Spawn comics, so I can’t really compare it to those, but the movie by itself isn’t very good. I remember having seen it in theaters when it first came out, and the special effects were really impressive at the time. Unfortunately, they haven’t held up very well. The cape is still awesome, but that’s mostly because of what it does, not how it looks.

The plot is actually okay (for a comic book movie), if a little over the top and rushed, but the writing isn’t great. The dialogue is almost painful at times, and some of the characters make really stupid decisions just to move the plot along. The biggest problem with the movie is the directing, or possibly the acting, it’s hard to tell.

Martin Sheen is a solid actor, but his performance here is painful, which makes me think it’s the director who’s at fault. Sheen plays the villain, and he’s kind of an idiot. Not only does he make some really stupid decisions, but then he personally goes to the locations of his crimes and commits them himself, despite have assassins on the payroll. He’s supposed to come across as menacing, so Sheen affects a gravelly voice, but instead he just sounds like he needs a lozenge.

Most of the other actors are just as bad. Nicol Williamson plays Cogliostro, and is supposed to be Spawn’s mentor, but instead he’s shoved to the background and is unconvincing as a teacher. Theresa Randle is completely wooden as Wanda, and almost everyone else is the same. The lone exception is John Leguizamo as Violator. He’s actually convincing and completely falls into the character. The problem is the character is awful. I think the only reason Leguizamo is good in the role is because he realized how terrible the character is and embraced it, hamming it up, and it worked.

I didn’t really care for the music, but it fit okay with the movie. I normally don’t pay much attention to the score, so the fact that I noticed it at all is a little weird.

Overall, it’s a bad movie. I wish it was better, because it would be nice to see more comic movies that aren’t DC or Marvel.

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