Sunday, July 15, 2012

Spawn


  So Spawn just came out on north American Blu Ray (the Canadian transfer was beyond shit, and not even full HD)

Only $9 bucks. Worth it? Despite seeing the movie as a flawed piece of glossy junk.... I can't help but like it. So yeah. I think its worth it. A shlocky piece of bad 90's nostalgia that can be a little mindlessly enjoyable for only just under 10 dollars? Not bad.

All the special effects, comic relief, PG-13 action, and big sprawling sets one could want from an almost-gothic summer superhero blockbuster. However, does any of that sound like what Spawn should be like? No, unfortunately. Its lackluster in most ways that count, ultimately failing to be a decent live-action vehicle for Todd McFarlane's flagship character. The bad guys aren't really scary so much as they are simply... greedy and power hungry. And I'm sorry, Martin Sheen is horribly out of place here as lead villain, Jason Wynn. Like John Travolta as Howard Saint in The Punisher. So when you have a story that revolves around a super assassin being killed, sent to hell, only to be granted power by the devil himself, and thrust back into the world a year later with a vendetta on his hands... you don't really wanna go 'tame' with it. It begs to be edgy and harsh but... alas.

Its not that gritty, its not that violent, even the R rated cut, is only a slight improvement. I also find Leguizamo's demonic Clown to be a total drag. He's gross and unfunny, not scary or threatening in the least. He waddles around like DeVito in Batman Returns, failing to be a competent villainous counterpoint for our hero in turmoil, and instead comes across as merely annoying. Props to John for pulling off the look, but damn, it was the worst comic relief ever. Not even his leeway with the crude humor churned out anything witty.

Worse yet is the dreadful setup of what should've been something Epic, but instead the movie continually confines its set pieces to small claustrophobic arenas that are indeed big on eye candy and admitted kinda fun to watch, especially when Spawn has the mask ON and isn't busy pulling a Judge Dredd, but they lack the scope and impact of what Spawn SHOULD have. For a big budget, spendy, summer movie adaption, it felt like they didn't have a grip on their own big scale effects, and I know from documentaries that the studio tied their hands content wise, so... how this even got made? I'll never know.

On the upside, Michael Jai White is fun as possible as an ass-kicking hell-hero with a vengeance. He sells his lines no matter how corny, and the spawn suit looks legitimately awesome and badass to me. When he's rocking the guns and crashing through windows with Gothic imagery a-blazing and his massive computer rendered cape a-flowing, the movie is quite fun. It succeeds in matching the fun and stylistic high points of Batman Forever, (with less neon and less facepalm worthy moments) and the same kind of action as you might expect from a 90's PG-13 summer blockbuster. Worth snagging from a bargain bin to watch when you're bored. Not all the humor is bad, some is quite chuckle worth, and the photography is quite stunning at some points...

But, this is an absolute case of missed opportunity and sheer bad timing.
Its worst crime is being able of being described as 'tame'. Nothing about Spawn should EVER be described as tame. That’s a crying shame.