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Spawn (1997)

tomatometer

19

Average Rating: 4/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 34

Spawn is an overbearing, over-violent film that adds little to the comic book adaptation genre.

20

Average Rating: 4/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 8

Spawn is an overbearing, over-violent film that adds little to the comic book adaptation genre.

audience

37

liked it
Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 185,314

My Rating

Movie Info

One of the most popular independent comic books of its decade was transformed into this dark, bloody adventure intended to launch a profitable superhero franchise. Michael Jai White stars as Al Simmons, a corrupt assassin betrayed and murdered by his evil government supervisor, Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen). Sent to Hell, Simmons is offered a chance to return to the earthly plane if he will become a "Hellspawn" ("Spawn" for short), one of many super-powered creatures assigned to encourage living

Apr 22, 1998

New Line Home Entertainment

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And he claims an Oscar-winning actor is ready to star, too. (Fingers crossed for Roberto Benigni!)

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All Critics (42) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (34) | DVD (7)

The film gives you the pleasurably junky sensation of living inside an apocalyptic videogame.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This hopelessly redundant action gross-out aspires to a form of hip vacuousness -- and may achieve it.

April 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dippé, an old SFX hand, needs to think about how to tell a story.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The nonsensical screenplay can barely stand-up to the hellzapoppin,' Beelzebubbin' effects mustered by first-time director Mark Dippe.

January 22, 2002 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a visual experience, Spawn is unforgettable.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (8)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Has aged about as well as a banana in the sweltering sun...

July 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

As a movie, 'Spawn' can't make up its mind what it wants to be any more than its protagonist knows who he is or what he wants to be.

July 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

What it doesn't have is much of a plot.

July 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

It's simply a parade of toys and tricks, without a jot of playfulness, knowing humour or campery to endear itself.

July 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Most of the rest of the cast suffocates beneath mountains of special-effects makeup.

July 12, 2010 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The movie definitely lost something in the translation.

January 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Dark Horizons
Dark Horizons

A would-be cult film carefully constructed from parts of other cult films.

October 7, 2004 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Annoying.

January 13, 2004 Full Review
rec.arts.movies.reviews

An ugly, ugly film that makes no sense.

July 14, 2003 | Comment (1)
About.com

Great literature hardly ever translates to the screen ...

November 1, 2002 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Spawn is a far from perfect movie, but interesting enough to make me look forward to the inevitable sequel.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

... the filmmakers filled their film with tons of FX, leaving little place to action scenes.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

The movie belongs to Jai White, whose eyes, voice and movements lock the audience into his heart and struggle.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

A misguided attempt to sanitize a concept whose most distinctive trait is its darkness.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

It is merely redundant, a now-familiar plot of gloom-soaked heroism decked out with the expected trappings of perpetually rainy alleys, Gothic spires and a couple of explosions.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Audience Reviews for Spawn

three stars!
December 27, 2013
YodaMasterJedi
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

Mark A.Z. Dippe goes down the dark path with Spawn.This 90 film isn't without its share of flaws, as some of the plot details are vague. There are pieces that could do with a little more elaboration; however, there is enough detail to make sense of the story and follow. The film has a dark style to it, which leaves the film more gloomy in nature, but this is how it should be.The usage of effects and green screen is obvious, although it is satisfactory for its time. The action also has its moments thanks to the powers of Spawn.Michael Jai White may be Spawn, but this film belongs to John Leguizamo. He ends up as the perfect fit for the Violator and his consistent use of "black" humor. Martin Sheen steps in with a solid performance. Theresa Randle is too monotone until the very end.Spawn does have room for improvement, but for what it is, it is a solid 90 minute watch.
February 24, 2013
skactopus
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

I really liked this despite many problems with the film. The look is great, like the comic its very dark, gothic and grim. The rain comes down in sheets and the mist swirls around about the night whilst 'Spawn' leaps around in his fantastic looking 'living' suit.
The other fantasy based creatures are also really well created, 'Clown' especially...very dark, humorous and quite chilling. Leguizamo played him brilliantly swinging from nasty, vicious and cheeky with the bat of an eyelid. Best thing about the film easily.

'Violator' is also pretty cool looking in life size model form yet like a lot of the film the CGI version is pretty lame and ruins it. CGI is a problem with this film as its loaded with it, almost everything is CGI and frankly not much is any good. It ranges from excellent on 'Spawns' cape to poor videogame type visuals on most other things. Hell being the worst with a terrible looking 'Malebolgia' and very plain unexciting looking backdrops which look like a school kid created it at home.

The acting is hammy and in general its very cheesy. This film yearns to be harder and more violent (like the comic). It is dark and 'Crow' like for sure but its so watered down its quite painful.

Despite that it does have a certain charm which appeals to me, its dark 'Batman' like world with hellish creatures and brooding anti heroes still manages to be enjoyable. 'Spawn' being a very likeable character, 'Wynn' is also suitably creepy, 'Bishop' is changed to a female for some reason but pretty hot with some nice gun/blade action and altogether with a thumping soundtrack this is a reasonable film.

But I still wonder what it could of been, what it could of achieved had it been made for adults as it should of been. Visually its pleasing if you like this kind of thing and it still beats 'Ghost Rider' any day of the week.
July 28, 2012
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

I thought Spawn was such a cool film as a kid, but remembering it now and having to review it, it is very flawed.....it has poor acting and a poor plot. One thing that is still cool to this day is when Spawn drops in the ballroom at the end and starts fighting......bad ass.
October 26, 2011
Eric Alvarez

Super Reviewer

    1. Clown: Peek a boo! I see you!
    – Submitted by Max Z (2 years ago)
    1. Al Simmons/Spawn: Just get me to a hospital.
    2. Clown: A hospital? Have you looked in a mirror lately, burnt man walking? Even the entire cast of 'E.R.' couldn't put you back together again.
    – Submitted by Nick S (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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