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Spawn (1997)


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

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

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

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


Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 185,390



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 … More

PG-13 (For violence and crude humor.)
Action & Adventure , Horror , Animation , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
Alan McElroy
In Theaters:
Apr 22, 1998
New Line Home Entertainment



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Critic Reviews for Spawn

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.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Entertainment Weekly
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 26, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 22, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

As a visual experience, Spawn is unforgettable.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | July 12, 2012
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.

Full Review… | July 8, 2012
Movie Metropolis

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

Full Review… | July 12, 2010

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

Full Review… | July 12, 2010
Empire Magazine

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

Full Review… | July 12, 2010
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The movie definitely lost something in the translation.

Full Review… | January 15, 2008
Dark Horizons

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

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


Full Review… | January 13, 2004

An ugly, ugly film that makes no sense.

July 14, 2003

Great literature hardly ever translates to the screen ...

Full Review… | November 1, 2002
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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

Full Review… | October 15, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

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

Full Review… | September 10, 2002
Montreal Film Journal

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

Full Review… | June 5, 2002
Boxoffice Magazine

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

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

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.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Spawn

three stars!

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.

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.

Phil Hubbs

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 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.

Eric Alvarez
Eric Alvarez

Super Reviewer

Spawn Quotes

Clown: Peek a boo! I see you!
– Submitted by Max Z (2 years ago)
Al Simmons/Spawn: Just get me to a hospital. 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)

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