Roger Ebert generously gave the film three and a half stars calling it "unforgettable". Spawn is the same train wreck that is Nicholas Cage's Ghost Rider. Same deus ex machina's, same horrible dated CGI, and same pillaging of a classic comic series although I was much more saddened at the death of Spawn than Ghost Rider. Alan B. McElroy, the scribe of Spawn, has written some of the most atrocious scripts for films including The Marine and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. The only thing he can warrant as a success would be Wrong Turn 2, but that lies entirely in the hands of Henry Rollins.
For those who've been trapped under a rock for 10+ years, Spawn concerns a black guy getting betrayed, winding up in hell, making a deal with the devil Malebolgia to exact revenge, and along the way encountering demons and deceit all with the help of his incredibly awesome super necroplasmic powers. Sure, it sounds hokey but for a comic depicting murder, pedophilia, and other scourges of humanity, Spawn kicked righteous ass. Whoever decided that an actor in Toxic Avenger II could play Spawn should have his family burned alive. The only thing right that Spawn achieved was the monumental casting of John Leguizamo as Clown/Violator.
Truth is, I loathe director Mark Dippé for his work in directing Spawn. Thankfully, he seems to have been blacklisted from Hollywood after that bomb seeing as how his only real work after Spawn was creating Garfield releases. What a furious case of karma. With a crew of retards and a cast of inexperienced tough guys sans John Leguizamo, Spawn really was doomed from the start. It's a shame that such potential wasn't exploited. Neil Gaiman was created for helming a Spawn film, too bad it will never happen.
For its time, it might have had substantial CGI but the effects of Malebolgia looked god awful. Tron predated this film by decades and served as a bigger visual treat than this under-produced hell. If hell is anything like watching Spawn for it's laughable effects or entertainment, count me as a saint. This is one of those films you regret loving as you grow older. Roger Ebert would be rolling in his grave had he died already.
I don't remember debates concerning ratings back when film was processed meat like this waste of 35mm film. Nowadays, anyone with a brain will scream and shout about the newest Die Hard or Max Payne film being PG-13. The studios want that accessibility and the fans want source material to be prudent. It seems the studio's raped franchises as early as 97'. How we've been deceived. Please stop me before I begin to shred apart Spawn's practical effects depicting his "burnt" face. How did they go so wrong?
If you want to watch a "black" man with a pink cork face prance around barely using any of the amazing powers he's been given, go for it. Sure, Jason was made into a white character to try and shoo away urban audiences but Spawn's the kind of film that ignorant masses want, although I doubt anyone wants it anymore. Spawn received the shit end of the stick with its inability to age well. The only thing this film's good for anymore is a prop to stop your short-legged table from wobbling.