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Superzero

On the big screen, Spawn is as flat as a comic book page

In the HBO animated series based on the comics, which opens with a stiffly rendered prologue from an on-camera McFarlane himself, we get a deeper sense of his vision -- the serial (almost soap opera-ish) structure allows him to build. It's writ small, yet despite the crudeness of the storytelling, it borders on affecting. But Spawn the film reaches for all of the creaky cliches of the genre: The movie underscores its lack of invention by giving a mere gun to a hero risen from the dead. And in the end, that's like giving Dracula pepper spray.

Spawn.
Directed by Mark A.Z. Dipp. With Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, Martin Sheen, Theresa Randle and D.B. Sweeney.

Rated PG-13.
93 minutes.

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