Bomb Rating: 

Along with quadriplegics and mongoloids, readers of comic books are the kind of people I can't help but stare at. I know it's wrong and I know I should be more considerate of their disability, but it's as if they all have a giant speaker dangling from the neck that's belting out "GEEK! GEEK!" at a hundred decibels. Take your average pocket-protecting nerd, grow him some long hair and slap some cheap leather on him and you have got ninety-nine percent of all comic book readers.

Todd McFarlane's comic creation is brought to the screen by director Mark Dippé (pronounced Dip-pay; and don't try to tell me that isn't significant), himself a veteran of Industrial Light and Magic. This explains the movie's reliance on cheesy, video-game renderings of hell and the monsters that inhabit it. Hell is, of course, the origin of Spawn (Michael Jai White), a former special operative who makes a deal with the devil to return to see his wife (Theresa Randle) after he is murdered by a nasty government agent, Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen), hell-bent on taking over the world.

Although Spawn is supposed to lead the army of hell in the Armageddon, he's conflicted by his good nature. On one side is the obese devil's helper, Clown (John Leguizamo), and on the other, Cogliostro (Nicol Williamson).

The ascension of "Spawn" to the big screen is less of a cinematic event than the poorest excuse outside of an "X-Men" convention to get a lot of comic-book dweebs in a central location. Add the video-game addicts whose hands twitched reflexively every time Spawn jumped or kicked, and the bevy of special- effects whores drawn to "Spawn" by its over-reliance on computer animation, and slipping sterilization agents into the popcorn becomes not so much a crime as a moral obligation.

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