Spawn Reboot! Thoughts and opinions welcome!
So it's 1992, I was not really into comic books at the time. In January of 1993, I joined the Navy. When I was in boot camp, I found that many of my shipmates were really into comics...especially Spawn. The could not get enough of him! When we were on liberty, they were buying up Spawn comics like a five year old at a pokemon factory! Some of my shipmates let me read up on some Spawn. His costume was cool as hell, as was his back story!
An African American black ops agent by the name of Al Simmons is on his last mission before retirement so he can be with his new wife Wanda. He is betrayed by his superiors and left for dead. He is sent to hell where Malbolgia (aka the devil) makes a deal with Simmons, "lead hell's army into the gates of heaven, and you can see your wife again". He accepts, only to become a horribly burned version of himself, with certain powers that involves shape shifting, chains, and a cape. Sure he can see his wife, but only in the shadows cloaked in his cape. He discovers that his best friend is now close to his wife, and child, which he was not aware of.
Simmons is first visited by an evil clown who is actually a servant of Malbolgia to get Simmons ready for his war on the heavens. He is later visited by Cogliostro, a similar warrior from many years ago, who reveals that he can fight against Malbolgia and free his mortal soul!
What really hooked me, was the costume. It is like spider man vs batman on crack. he has this kick ass black and white costume with skulls, and this flowing red cape that has supernatural abilities as well as these chains that just come out of nowhere and tear stuff up!
This comic was awesome, not only because of the kick ass art work, but because I found sympathy with this anti-hero. Ultimately it is like the divine comedy. This man has spent his life killing people for the government. And yet all he cares about is his wife and kid. He is tormented by the Clown as his bad conscience who constantly reminds him of the pact he made, yet also tormented by Cogliostro who constantly reminds him that he has one last chance to save his own soul from hell itself.
After I gout out of the Navy, I pursued this comic in graphic novel form. I have all the core issues. And like any other geek, when the movie came out in 1997, I had to go see it. At the time, the movie was acceptable, but was disappointing for several reasons. The pacing of the movie was just too damn fast. If you didn't know anything about the comic, you had a great deal of catching up to do. The movie was not terrible, but it relied way too much on CGI which during 1997, was still pretty sloppy. Michael Jai White as Spawn, well he was a bad ass, but he did not portray any aspect of sympathy well. Also due to some license issue, Psycho ex agent Jess Chapel, got replaced by some generic girl named Jessica Priest who is one of the lamest villains ever. One of the high points was actor Nicol Williamson, who played Cogliostro, which is awesome because the Cogliostro character is basically Merlin, and Williamson played Merlin in the 1980's film Excalibur which is still my favorite telling of King Arthur and the Nights of the round table! Martin Sheen played Jason Wynn, they boss who sent him to death. I guess the real shinning star in all this mess was John Leguizamo who played the clown. Under a fat suit and heavy make up, he came off like The Joker's sloppy fat cousin. He had many funny lines, and kept things rolling quite well. Like I said though, the film is paced to fast, and relied way too much on early CGI. By the end of the film, you barely know what the hell is going on.
That being said though, at the time, Super Hero movies were usually over the top such as Burton's Batman franchise. But let's face it. In the last ten years, comic book movies have evolved. Better directors. Better casting, better scripts. Better use of CGI. Better quality all around. Look at say Iron Man, Spider-Man, The Dark Knight, or Thor.
So now McFarlane has confessed that he is working on a reboot. And this is all he has said about it. "I go into a meeting and say, these are the things that are non negotiable. I write, I direct, I produce. If we can't agree on these things, we shake hands and walk away."
So here are my suggestions for the next Spawn movie which I feel is very over due. I really want to see this story make a good screen adaptation before I die. Mcfarlane already said he does not want to have any super villians, he plans to make this movie on a 10 million budget. I think all of this is possible.
Here are my suggestions for a kick ass spawn movie.
Al Simmons/Spawn is played by Don Cheadle.
To sympathize with a character that is a government assassin turned "hell spawn", you need an actor who can be both bad ass, and emotional at the same time. Michael Jai White was a good action movie type person, but when he tried to be emotional, he came off as just plain comic book goofy. I have seen Cheadle in many movies. The movie Traitor while flawed in plot, was a great source of material for a great actor. He also pulled off the "hero" bit quite nicely along side screen veteran Robert Downey in Iron Man 2
The Clown: is played by comedian Patton Oswald.
Yes. Patton Oswald. He loves comics, he was in Blade Trinity. I am one of about three people that loved that film. No, seriously, I loved it. Patton is a funny guy, you put him in heavy make up, give him some funny lines, he will nail it perfectly just like Leguizamo did. I think Patton would do better personally.
Cogliostro: is played by Patrick Stewart
Also a vet of Shakespere theater and also appeared in Excalibur. I would have also chosen Liam Neeson, but he is in everything, I think Patrick Stewart would be better suited for this part.
Jason Wyn: is played by Josh Brolin
After seeing him in True Grit, I am convinced that Josh Brolin would be the perfect Jason Wyn. Age...methodical, secretive...and just plain self serving. He even looks like his comic book counterpart!
Terry Fitzgerald: is played by Shemar Moore. (you may know him from Criminal Minds if you look him up)
Terry Fitzgerald according to the comics is Al Simmons' closest friend. When Al Simmons dies, Terry takes over the duties as Wanda's companion, and father to Simmon's child.
Jess Chapel: is played by Coby Bell
You may all know him as Jesse Porter from Burn Notice.
In the movie he plays Jess Chapel who paints his face in a skulll form, because he is a psychopathic agent that gets off on death. He is a partner to Simmons on several missions, but ultimately joins Jason Wyn in his political endeavors and joins Jason Wyn in the plot to destroy Al Simmons.
Wanda Simmons: is played by Zoe Saldana
She can be hard, and shoes emotion. My only other pic, would have been Jada Pinkett Smith, but is both too old, and does not project that emotion that Zoe can.
McFarlane has communicated that he does not want to project a super villain in this movie. So the movie then has to be based on the choice that Spawn makes. Does he accept Cogliostro's choice to free his soul from Hell, or does he listen to The Clown, and storm the gates of Heaven as he agreed.
I think that enough is grounds for a good movie. Also, one thing that I liked about the comics that was only briefly addressed in the movie, was Simmons' relationship with the homeless. He protected them, and they made him one of they're own. I hope they build on that more. Really excess cgi is not necessary until Simmons shows his chains and cape.
Also hope they bring the bumbling cops from the animated series into this as well. It really could be a great movie. It does not need a super budget this time....just follow the damn comic this time.
Awesome is all I have to say. Spawn is one of my, if not my favorite comic of all time. I just love the grit and how detailed the artwork is.
And when it comes to the movie... well, taken with a grain of salt It's pretty funny at times. Hope this new project actually takes off.
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