A new Spawn movie is coming, and it’s threatening to make its fellow R-rated comicbook movie adaptations look like child’s play.
Even by superhero movie standards, there is quite rightly a lot of buzz surrounding Logan right now. Hugh Jackman’s farewell to the X-Men franchise is setting box-office records and winning the hearts of fans and critics alike, all with an R-rating. Like its more light-hearted counterpart, Deadpool, Logan is proving that you don’t have to pander to family values to be a success, and it could usher in a new era of comicbook storytelling on the big screen.
But, R-rated superhero movies are not a new idea, and some of the old-guard are sensing that now is their time to make a comeback.
Back in 1997, Mark A.Z. Dippé’s Spawn brought a super-violent adaptation of the popular Image Comics character to theaters. There was a fair amount of excitement over the movie, but back then comicbook adaptations were not the big money they are now. The movie was panned by critics and its global box office totals topped out at just $88 million – not a total flop, but far from a success, either.
20 years later, Spawn is ready to make a comeback with a new movie that the hero’s creator says will push the limits of what an R-rating will allow. Todd McFarlane first announced his plans to bring Spawn back to the big-screen in the Fall of last year, but now he’s been recorded speaking openly about the movie’s tone and that much-hyped ‘hard-R’ rating.
“Listen, I’m going to paint it for you,” McFarlane said on a TwitchTV stream from Emerald City Comic Con. “The movie is going to be a dark ‘R’ … If here’s PG-13 and here’s Deadpool and here’s Logan, we’re going to be here. It’s going to be dark, it’s going to be NASTY.”
Just because Spawn will be bloody and violent, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a success. Both Logan and Deadpool were incredibly unique superhero movies offering more than just extreme violence and adult themes. Their success was certainly not a fluke, and it would be foolish to think that any R-rated comicbook adaptation comes with a license to print money.
Given the 1997 Spawn movie gave us John Leguizamo (who, in fairness was actually pretty good) looking like an out-of-shape, evil Smurf, this reboot needs to step up its game in more than just the violence department to be a hit.
McFarlane’s previous description of the reboot had included a line about the titular character being more of a boogeyman than a superhero, which I’m not 100% on board with. He also stated that the hero will look nothing like he did in the 1997 original, suggesting he’ll actually appear only as a ghost, hence the boogeyman description.
Let’s hope the end product is better than the description, because Spawn is definitely a character that has something to offer modern audiences, even in these days of superhero saturation.
Image Credits: New Line Cinema