The first time I saw this film I was blown away. But upon watching this after many many years I am starting to wonder why because this film is one giant mess.
Visually though this film still is impressive and that should hardly be surprising since director Mark A.Z. Dippé is a visual effects artist who has worked on films like Terminator 2, Jurassic Park and Back to the Future part 2. John Leguizamo as the Clown / Violator shows his versatility as an actor and is one of the few people who is in tune with the darker nature of the comics. These are the only good things I can mention. Which brings me to the following issue. They made Spawn PG-13. The consequence is that all the violence and horror is removed. Think about it. Here you have a tale about an assassin who is murdered and then send to hell who is made into a general to lead an army of nasty demons. Does that sound like it's going to be an old school jolly and lighthearted adventure? Of course not. And yet Spawn is incredibly tame and childish at times. After the pretty cool and slick intro every action sequence after is poorly choreographed and dull. The action is constantly interrupted by bad dialogue and Spawn's stupidity. Anybody who is familiar with Michael Jai White will know that the man can fight and could do much better. But it seems like he had very little to say concerning this project. Which is a real shame because with his input the action would at least have been exciting. What is the point of showing people this awesome suite that barely gets used? Don't know about you but if I had these amazing powers I would test them all out. Simmons for some unexplainable reason refuses to and sticks to guns. Ok. Maybe I should try to look at this from his point of view. He still has to deal with the fact that he is dead and that the world has moved on. I get it. He is trying to hold on to his humanity for a little longer. Although if I got constantly harassed by a demon clown I would not bitch and moan about it too long. I would take action. (I have considered the fact that this film is so low on action because of budget problems. It could be that they had all these great ideas but were running short on money and were forced to exclude them. But shouldn't you then at least tried to do other things?)
Back in 1997 I might have been very willing to overlook the film's flaws because it delivered nice eye candy. But now it simply is not sufficient if every other element of film making is lacking. I can't recommend this.