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Movie Review

Spawn

Reviewed by: Michael Holtsbery
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens and Adults
Genre:
Action/Adventure
Length:
87 min.
poster
Relevant Issues
copyrighted photo from film
Hell

Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer

Why was Hell made? Answer

Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer

Will there literally be a burning fire in Hell? Answer

What should you be willing to do to stay out of Hell? Answer

How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer

What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer

The Good News—How to be saved from Hell. Answer

Demons

Demon

Satan

Devil

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

Demon Possesssion and Influence—Can Christians be demon possessed? In what ways can Satan and his demons influence believers? Answer

Starring: Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, Martin Sheen, Nicol Williamson, Theresa Randle, D.B. Sweeney, Miko Hughes, Melinda Clarke / Director: Mark Dippe / Released by: New Line Cinema

“Born in Hell. Sworn to Justice.”

Based on the best-selling comic book series from artist Todd McFarlane, “Spawn” lives up to the expectations praising the special effects. They were both cartoonish, yet incredible! The movie maintains the interest of non-male teenagers via humor from a demonic clown. Male teenagers will especially like “Spawn” albeit at matinee admission prices. Its humor does get even the most critical viewer laughing.

Be warned, however, that this movie is spiritually dangerous!

Spawn is a murder victim back from hell. He has two ambitions: to seek revenge on his murderers, but more importantly to seek his wife and to be re-united with her. His journey to accomplish this feat takes him to both strange and famliar places, all of which deliver the promised special effects extravaganza.

As Spawn seeks a way to see his wife Wanda on Earth, he makes a deal with the devil to lead Hell’s Army in the destruction of mankind. With his Earthly experience as a one-man army, and his devilishly-awarded new powers as commander of an extraterrestrial army and the ability to change his shape, he is the ultimate warrior. Naturally, two opposing forces of good and evil are out to convince him to follow them. The moral Count Cogliostro (Nicol Williamson) attempts to convince Spawn to turn his powers against the devil and deliver humanity from him, while dark-humored Clown (John Leguizamo) encourages Spawn to lead the Armageddon.

Spawn is not aware, at first, that he is dead. When he realizes he is, his attitude slowly changes. Unfortunately, is does not change to that of a clear-cut “good guy.” Throughout the story, Spawn must make many decisions regarding good vs. evil. He must decide if he is to take revenge into his own hands, or allow revenge to be administered the “right” way etc., thus leading to the climax of the movie.

There are good points and much humor (crude at times), but overall the movie is average cinematography-speaking. Spiritually, it is atrocious and bizarrely incorrect. It implies that one has at least two chances to avoid hell. Once you die, you can come back and fight on one side or the other, giving the delusion that one could “make it right” even after being sent to hell! As you can see, this is very dangerous false “doctrine.” It should send chills up many spines.

There also is the possibility that unstable teens could actually think hell was cool with the portrayal of incredible sound effects, wisecracking clowns, and somewhat endearing (yet bizarre) remarks. One has to enjoy the Clowns' zinging one liners. They are fast and funny and the best part of the script—the only dialogue that required any creativity.

Bad language is mild. Immodest dress is present. There was no sexual innuendos or much that is offensive in that way (excepting the few crude jokes by the clown), yet there is an abundance of violence and extremely dangerous ideas regarding the afterlife. Spawn is rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving the dark demonic underworld, intense violence, fantasy action and crude humor.

Recommended resource

“Spawn” should be avoided. It has no redeeming value, with the only possible exception that a lie-exposing discussion on the truth of the afterlife can rightly follow the viewing of this flick.

Year of Release—1997

Viewer Comments
SPAWN was admittedly created for teens. And judging by the comments on your review page, it worked—very well. Each teen (or young adult) gave positive reviews, excusing the Spiritual corruption, the value distortion, and the morality contamination generated by this movie from Hell with This-is-what-I-want-in-movies, claiming immunity from its effects—just like Satan wants—for Spiritual acid to invisibly eat away slowly at righteous inhibition, personal accountability to His Law, and obedience to His Expectations of us. In accordance with our comparative baseline database of movies, our findings for SPAWN revealed:
(Investigation Area—Score / Examples Per Hour / MPAA Equivalent)
Wanton Violence/Crime—47 / 6.4 / R
Impunity/Hate—26 / 13.4 / R
Sex/Homosexuality—33 / 11.5 / R
Drugs/Alcohol—100 / 0.0 / G
Offense to God—0 / 12.1 / R
Murder/Suicide—54 / 3.8 / R

As other reviews stated, this movie pushed the rating envelope as far as it could, ostensibly in accordance with the Motion PIcture Association of America (MPAA) standards. Our standards are the teachings of Jesus—this movie first should not have been made but since it was it should have at least been an R. SPAWN earned a CAP Final Score of 43 (on a scale 100 to zero) which is equivalent to R-rated movies in our comparative baseline database of movies. The movie earned a CAP Influence Density (ID) of 1.16 on a scale starting at zero for minimum influence. MARY POPPINS earned a CAP ID of 0.0, BLOWN AWAY earned 0.97, SILENT FALL earned 1.44, SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION earned 1.45.
—Thomas A. Carder, ChildCare Action Project
I was disturbed to see some very young (6 to 10 year old) children in the movie. Some parents may have thought this was a comic book movie for children. The visual fx were awesome and I like super-hero “Spawn” character but it did delve into the demonic world and present a non-Biblical view of spiritual warfare.
—Nannette Serra, age 55
“Spawn” was disgusting spiritually and socially. My family of five caught the storyline in 30 minutes and walked out. As both a Christian and Afro-American I was offended at both the glorification and dilution of the starkness, finality and destitution of hell and the revival of racial stereotypes during an age in which the church of Jesus Christ is struggling with the sensitive issues of racial reconciliation and unity!!!
—Ray, age 44
“Spawn” is wholly eye-candy. There’s no attempt to be believable (as the Devil in the film so delightfully said of his already-dead minion, “Kill Spawn!”) or even credible (as in, a being deriving power from a Devil can use said power AGAINST said Devil—NOT!). If you go to this film, see it for how pretty the effects are, then go find something with substance.
—Steve, age 26
Coming from a young teenager not to mention Christian that has seen “SPAWN”, I think that the movie was very GOOD! The effects were great, the acting could use some help though. Also the way they portrayed HELL I know for sure that’s where I don’t want to go. So if you think “SPAWN” is ALL that bad and think it will have an effect on your kid’s and teenager’s I’ll tell you it will. Not the way you think it will, but in a positive effect, “SPAWN” has shown me that if you do bad in your lifetime and don’t know GOD then you’ll end up in HELL and from the movie it really didn’t look like a place I wanted to visited…
—Nate Driver, age 16
Sorry, folks, but most of you have NOT seen this. I HAVE.

Myth #1:this movie tells you that everyone has a second life on Earth. FALSE, Al Simmons does (in the same FANTASY element of “The Preacher’s Wife” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” (which this spoofs).

Myth #2: This movie is scary. FALSE, I wasn’t scared except a little shaken during the Hell sequences (appropriately so if I am concerned about America’s souls).

Myth #3:This movie is evil. FALSE, the movie does portray villains as evil and (for once) it shows a hero in a moral dillema, who ultimately pursues what is right (as opposed to everything being given to him with no trials). I liked “Spawn” and it was a very exciting, dark movie with a responsible budget and a great cast.
—Zack, age 16
I feel so sorry for the teens who’ve written in expressing approval of this movie. Imagine what these guys could do if they directed that much energy into God’s work. There are so many hurting teens out there who need to see the awsome scripts that God can write in the lives of those who are available to Him. Go out and pull down some strongholds in the name of Jesus Christ!
—Amy, age 39
I’m reminded often by my children of “our” decision to boycott Disney movies. How then can I go to a movie like “Spawn” (and justify going to see it) and then turn around and boycott “Air Bud”? It gives a mixed message. Besides, our place is in Heaven so we need to fill our minds and hearts with Heavenly things. “Spawn” isn’t my idea of a heavenly movie!
—Richard, age 41
Based on the predominant comments, and weighing the positive and negative reactions [apparently divided along the age lines of naive youth and more mature young adults], my family will not expose ourselves to this film, “entertaining” or not. I agree with some of the others, why commit your stewardship to blatantly non-Christian efforts when some other avenues more neutral or positive are available? WWJD? Let’s be a little more concerned with what we put in our heads.
—jim miller, age 41
I have chosen not to see this film based on the reviews and comments that I have read. My question is why would Christians subject themselves to this type of movie. Enough of this “It’s just entertainment” excuse. To WILLFULLY subject yourself, give your time to, and financially support any film that contains obscenity, sexually provocative scenes, profanity, and false doctrine is grieving to the Holy Spirit of God. If you are a Christian, you are in dwelt by the Holy Spirit, and when you go to see these types of movies you are subjecting the Holy Spirit within you to them as well. Should we be able to do such a thing and have clear consciences? Please don’t take this as a judgment. I have also made the mistake of viewing several movies that I should have avoided, which is why this web page is so valuable to our family. But even if I go to see SPAWN tonight (very unlikely to happen) that still doesn’t excuse me or anyone else in this matter. Remember that we belong to Christ, and that we are called to serve Him and not our desires to entertain the flesh. (Philippians 4:8, Ephesians 5:16)
—Keith Davis, age 29
This film is not only dangerous, it is a sign of the times. As one who got delivered from a 20 year bondage to the demonic, to allow a demon to be a hero and acceptible is just the open door the devil wants. I know. Be forewarned, this is just the beginning!
—Richard Grund, age 41
You should give it a “-4” Moral Rating and a “-5” Movie making. This movie is dumb and is as morally bankrupt as that movie “Priest”.
—JONATHAN CARPENTER, age 29
I don’t think that “Spawn” is a dangerous movie for teenagers to see. Teens are not going to want to go to hell, simply because there are “cool sound effects.” Most kids know that Hell is a bad place to end up. The movie portrays Spawn’s return for redemption as an unpleasant experience, and I don’t think teens are going to set their beliefs according to a movie adapted to a comic book. If they did, we’d have people swinging above our rooftops. “Spawn” is not a “dangerous movie.”…It really isn’t fair to judge a movie by who is on its soundtrack. “Jars of Clay” have a song on the soundtrack for “The Long Kiss Goodnight”, and yet they won a Dove Award for “the Best Christian Group.
—Brad Pearson, age 18
I thought the review on the movie “Spawn” was outstanding! I just wanted to add that the movie also has a soundtrack with the music of Marilyn Manson!!! Need I say more?
—Kevin Harris, age 27
Spawn is just one movie among many that should be avoided. Its motive is to mock Christianity and desensitize people to evil. Its content is occultic in nature and its language foul. If you are a parent, “Spawn”is one movie you would want your child or teenager to stay away from. It promotes rebellion!
—Jerry Sheppard, age 29
The worst thing about “Spawn” is the number of kids who will want to see it… and possibly can. It’s based on a comic book. We know who the target audience is for comic book movies! This is an R rated movie masquerading as a PG-13. Never mind that it’s a bad movie with a bad script. But they purposely deleted all the four-letter words to get the PG-13 so youngsters can see it. (they dubbed over them like a Jackie Chan movie) All the kids who see this are gonna be scared out of their minds. Christian parents beware: DON’T BE DECEIVED. KEEP YOUR KIDS AWAY FROM SPAWN!
—Chris Utley, age 24
I thought “Spawn” was an excellent movie overall, including plot and special effects. Now, you can’t possibly take the ideas about hell and the afterlife seriously. I mean, they say that in order to kill someone who’s already dead, you have to sever their head. I think that people who go to see this movie are going to understand that that is purely fictional. What kind of idiot would take it seriously. The best line in the movie was spoken by the demonic clown the Violator: “How come God gets all the good followers and we get all the retards?
—Milo Lydon, age 15
My comment is to let you know that your review is inaccurate. The movie never says, nor does it imply, that Spawn is given a chance for redemption after initially accepting Satan’s terms. The great irony of Spawn is that he will still go to hell even after doing as much good as he can while on Earth. I’m sure all of your readers would appreciate it if, in the future, you would know what you’re talking about before doing your reviews.
—Paul Spurgeon, age 22