REASONABLE REMAKES: Spawn

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Under The Gun is continuing our efforts to bring you more original and engaging content with REASONABLE REMAKES. Written by film-nerd Justin Proper, this column aims to highlight Hollywood’s forgotten gems and spark debate.

You see, we’ve grown tired of Hollywood rehashing ideas we’re old enough to remember. Why remake something the majority of the planet still remembers and loves deeply when there are tons of films that deserve a chance to be as great as modern technology and skill can make them? If you agree, this column is for you.

Superhero movies are all the rage these days. We’ve seen how things can go right (Batman Begins, Thor) and we’ve seen how things can go horribly, horribly wrong (Green Lantern, Spiderman 3: Spidey Gets Emo). Either way I don’t think we’ll see and end to 4 or 5 superhero movies a summer for quite some time. With this in mind I set out to find the perfect superhero remake/reboot for the big screen. Sorry Howard The Duck fans, but this week’s article belongs to hell, and the leader of Hell’s army is Spawn

Spawn was the essential dark antihero from the 90’s. He was created in Hell but somehow ended up being on the side of justice. As with most comic books his story is hard to sum up in a little paragraph, so if you want the full story go to wikipedia like a normal person. This article is about the movie, so I’ll summarize that for you. Al Simmons (Michael Jai White) is a military agent who blows shit up. Then he gets betrayed by his boss (Martin Sheen) and is murdered to death by bullets and fire. Then he comes back to earth five years later looking like Freddy Krueger and has awesome Hell powers that manifest themselves in the form of a suit that changes at his will. He meets an old homeless dude who coincidentally has some Hell powers too, so he gets a great mentor to teach him stuff. There’s some more plot in there and eventually Spawn fights a devil like guy in Hell and returns to earth to be a bad ass hero, forever trying to help justice prevail. Pretty basic superhero from Hell stuff. Also, John Leguizamo plays Clown, a disgusting, annoying, flatulent demon sent to keep Spawn in line and tell bad fart jokes.

Dane Cook based his entire personality on this character.


So why does Spawn deserve a remake? Well I don’t want to say the first movie sucked, but it totally sucked. They changed a bit from source comics in plot, but strayed away from the darkness of the comics by a mile. The movie had a PG-13 rating, and I assure you that the comics are rated R. Changing the tone of Spawn to fit in to the PG-13 bracket felt forced and made the movie seem cheesy. If anyone deserves a gritty reboot it’s Spawn. Another thing that didn’t kill Spawn at the time but does now is how dated it feels. It’s really hard to believe it came out only two years before The Matrix due to the special effects. Spawn himself looks great, but everything else looks about as good as the effects in the Twilight Saga movies. If someone had asked me what year this movie was made I’d of guessed 94 or 95 from the look of it, not 97.

If only Spawn could make his suit shoot money lasers for a bigger SFX budget.


So who should direct this Spawn reboot? The choice seems obvious to me. You need someone who’s not afraid to show some gore, but at the same time doesn’t use it as a gimmick. You also need a certain ability to capture the style and feel of the comic book. You know who’s great at that? Zack Snyder. He worked closely with Frank Miller on 300 and completely crushed Watchmen (one of the best comic book movies of the last 20 years) and that’s exactly what we need with Spawn. Todd McFarlane needs to be closely involved with the movie and Snyder has proven he can work with the comic creator to make a movie worthy of the books. Plus, his stylishness would bring the character of Spawn to life on screen in a perfect combination of darkness, edginess, and beauty.

Also, cape-iness.


Casting for spawn is kind of tricky. They changed some of the characters from the comic to the movie to appeal to a…whiter audience (Spawn’s friend that marries his widow was originally black) so Hollywood clearly is careful about what actors to use. It’s pretty racist, but it’s going to happen. So what black actor is well known for lead roles and doesn’t scare away the whites? Will Smith. I’m not afraid to say that the Fresh Prince can act. Hell, we all saw him in The Pursuit Of Happyness. Sure, he doesn’t have the best track record with superhero movies (Hancock) but I would absolutely love to see him tackle this dark role. Smith hasn’t really been in a role like Spawn and I think he’d do an amazing job portraying a man who sold his soul to see his wife again only to realize he’s now a monster and they can’t be together anymore. There’s a really obvious choice of actors for Clown (I can’t believe they missed this opportunity the first time around) and it’s Danny DeVito. You need a short chubby character actor? DeVito’s got your back tenfold. His pedigree includes a Batman movie where his portrayal of the penguin was dead on and phenomenal.
Spawn is one of the best comic series in existence and the movie ruined it. Instead of boosting comic sales it killed most peoples memory of the amazing character. I’ve outlined a great way to reboot the franchise and bring Spawn back from cinematic Hell, where it currently resides. Unfortunately Hollywood probably wont make this movie, and if they did I’m sure they’ll screw it up again. Things aren’t all bad for ol’ Spawn though, he just won Dancing With The Stars.

You can find this joke in my new book "Why I'm Going To Hell When I Die"

Justin Proper spends his free time fighting bears with his beard. You can follow his antics on Twitter. Follow him here.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • I’ve never understood people’s distaste for the Watchmen movie. It was pretty spot on. 

  • Anonymous

    I think the original Spawn movie was kinda cool, but I would love to see a remake of the Spawn franchise!