Yesterday afternoon we watched the Spawn movie from 1997. I remember it being much better than it actually was.
The concept of Spawn is original, the storyline riveting, the graphics gory and dark. But I’m talking about the comics. Not the movie.
When interviewed, Todd McFarlane has repeatedly said that a script for a remake or sequel is in the works. He understands there is a market and fans everywhere love Spawn. But we’re still waiting.
The internet is rife with fan art, cosplayers, designers, and dreamers remaking, reliving, and revitalizing this epic, though unlikely, hero.
And in my house, it’s no different.
We have figures. The movie. Video games. The original HBO series. Comics. And now, finally, a real life version in the works. Because, of course, I am referring to cosplaying.
For that is the costume my husband is currently working on.
And we watched the movie for inspiration. But found it lacking. And no, it wasn’t the graphics or the actors. It was the plot.
In the end, it didn’t answer one vital question: Why do I care?
There was no emotional connection to the characters. To their plights. It lacked depth. And insight. I found myself more concerned with the ratty dog, Spaz, than I was Ed Sullizan (Spawn), Rhonda, Violator, or almost anyone else. (I can’t say the same for Cyan, the daughter, because she was just adorable.) And I was especially not convinced that Spawn shouldn’t do Hell’s dirty work. Why? Because some old guy yielding a sword told him not to? Where was that guy’s story? Why was he chosen to be the one to convince Spawn not to follow through?
Instead of a grabbing backstory, this is what we got:
“Don’t do Hell’s work. Your actions have consequences.”
“But I’m angry and want revenge.”
“But you will fall into their trap.”
“Ok. I’m done doing Hell’s work.”
I know I’m simplifying this part of the movie, but ask yourself, am I really? Is that really much different than the way it happened? Where was the struggle? The pain? This can’t be conveyed through a couple of simple, short scenes.
If a story can’t convince me to care, than it has failed. Which means, and I really hate saying this, that Spawn failed.
This doesn’t make me like the character any less. And it didn’t stop me from spending a couple hours working on his cape last night. And my husband from starting on the boot part of Spawn’s armor.
But it did leave me disappointed and wanting. Although it seems unlikely, I still hope that McFarlane gives Spawn the desperately needed reboot that he deserves.
Despite my lackluster opinion of this movie, if you’ve never seen it, or never delved into McFarlane’s world, than I would still recommend it. Maybe my opinion is jaded because I know what Spawn’s been through. I know his pain and torment. How he killed so many, thinking that he was on the side of justice, only to find out that he was a pawn. How all he wanted was a better life and it was ripped away from him. And I can’t imagine the hell he went through when he was brought back, completely burned and crispy.
This is a story that has everything: murder, betrayal, death, scandals, and supernatural powers. And it is a story worth retelling.
Hopefully, it won’t fall on the fans to be to do it.