If 2018 taught comic book movie fans anything, it’s that studios are more willing than ever before to be silly. “Aquaman” and “Venom” proved that you don’t have to take your superheroes seriously (or be good at all) to entertain and make a billion dollars. Well, don’t tell Todd McFarlane that. In a new interview with Nerdist, the writer-director of the upcoming superhero/horror film “Spawn,” says that his movie isn’t going to be the typical comic book movie that fans have come to expect.
For those not aware what “Spawn” is, the comic book series debuted in the early-’90s from writer/artist McFarlane. The series features a man who makes a deal with the devil after he’s murdered to come back to life. However, since the devil is known to be a bit of a trickster, he’s brought back to life as a hellspawn that sends souls to the afterlife. Needless to say, there’s not a whole lot of room for jokes. Well, except that the late-’90s film adaptation did its best to make it a bit silly (and ultimately turned out to be a huge failure).
So, that being said, McFarlane doesn’t want comic book fans to come to his new version of “Spawn” expected the same quippy dialogue and bright colors that are found in the “Avengers” films.
“There’s no joy,” McFarlane said. “There’s gonna be no fun lines in it, and it’s just gonna be this dark, ugly two hours worth of movie, which is essentially what a lot of supernatural/horror movies are anyway. There’s not a lot of funny in them. And that seems to be a weird hurdle for a lot of people in this city to get over because they sort of go into a superhero/Avengers default all the time.”
This sort of “no joy” and “dark, ugly” tone seems to fit the comic book film, on paper. However, if the DCEU films have taught us anything, it’s that movie-goers are more into the MCU-style of filmmaking and not so much the grim, gritty tone of films like “Man of Steel” and ‘Batman v. Superman.’
Even films like the new “Hellboy” are using a more silly tone when adapting a scary, horror-themed superhero property for the big screen (at least, judging by the first trailer). We’ll have to see if fans are willing to give McFarlane’s version a shot or if the days of grim and gritty superhero storytelling on film are gone.
McFarlane’s “Spawn” stars Jamie Foxx as the titular character and Jeremy Renner in a co-starring role. The film doesn’t currently have a release date.