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Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

At The Movies

At Super Heroes — Hola! And welcome to another installment of AT THE MOVIES! I know it's been a long time since my last review, so I figured it was time! Today, I concentrate on SPAWN, Batman and Robin, and THE PHANTOM.

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon, and I figured I''d go plunk down $6.50 for a matinee showing of Spawn, expecting at least an action flick (since I knew I wouldn't be seeing things like characterization, plot, sense, or drama). And I was thoroughly disappointed.

I couldn't believe how stupid spawn was, especially during his first fracas with Violator. There he is, firing a gazillion rounds of ammo at him *without any noticeable effect* and what does he do? Keep firing. And then, he runs to the roof to get *more* ammo.

Uhm. Hello? Mr. Duh? Here's a quarter. Buy a clue.

Now, I will admit that I thought the special fx for the costume was pretty cool (the rest was ho-hum, and all that fire over and over... yawn), but that wasn't enough to save this movie. And the pokes at the other heroes? Not really funny. Oooo! Look! Show them how Batman should *really* break through a skylight! Ooo! Look! Show them how Spiderman should *really* scamper up a building! Oooo! Look! Show them how The Punisher should *really* be blowing bad guys away!

Away? More like Oy Vey. I can't believe I spent money on this. I was actually beginning to think that BATMAN AND ROBIN wasn't so bad compared to this. And, let's face it, Batman and Robin was abysmal. Arnold was pathetic as Mr. Freeze. I couldn't stand his portrayal and wished Warner Brothers had stuck to their guns and gone with Patrick Stewart in the role. At least Patrick would have brought some class to the character, and played him as the pathetic villain he really is, doomed to live his life in a special containment suit. Instead, we get a Punning big guy with an horrendous laugh and annoying lines.

The others? Well, Robin is another annoying fool. I don't know if it's because Chris O'Donnell portrays him that way or what, but *enough* with the freaking whining! And Alicia Silverstone? Well, I still dream of getting lost in those lips, but the character as presented to us really doesn't work as a heroine. Not altruistic enough. I'm still shocked they threw off Jason Woodrue the way they did, considering what kind of character The Floronic Man was in the comic books.

And the worst thing? Batman is blind as the proverbial bat. He's got a *huge* security breach right under his nose and he doesn't even flinch! He doesn't have to worry about villains, he's got Alfred giving out hall passes to everyone who wants to visit the Bat-cave! Oh, Vicki Vale! Come right in! Richard Grayson? Right this way! Barbara, darling! Come see what I've sown for you!

The only saving grace this movie had was Poison Ivy. Uma Thurman did an outstanding job as Ivy and she was a pleasure to watch on the screen (and not just because of her outfit :)).

Moving to the small screen, I have to make mention of The Phantom. I never got a chance to see it at the theatres, but once it came out of video, I bought a copy. After Spawn's major letdown, I needed some cheering up and decided I'd watch Phantom. I'd bought it about a month ago, but hadn't seen it yet. But, seeing as I was in the mood for some 'Pulp fiction' I figured it would be the best bet. And I wasn't disappointed!

Lots of action, lots of suspense thriller-style in the old tv-serials flavor. Very evil bad guy (man that trap with the microscope was both ingenious and hideous), very pretty love interests (as opposed to something like Dick Tracey where I definitely would have gone with Breathless Mahoney instead of Tess Truehart), and a really cool good guy. Yup, Billy Zane was great as Lee Falk's purple-clad hero and he looked good in the suit as well! The storyline was fun and easy to follow and the history of the Phantom was presented to us in a clear manner. Even the idea of Billy being able to see and speak with his dead/murdered father was well-done without giving the movie a 'comic' feel to it (ie; stupid).

So, there ya have it. Spawn may have ruined my afternoon (I should have gone and see COPLAND), The Phantom was able to save the day.

My ratings:
Dick Tracey - 3 stars (a little long at parts, but Pacino is excellent and Madonna looks good)
Batman And Robin - 2.5 stars (Uma! Uma! Uma!)
Spawn - .5 stars (don't waste your money)
The Phantom - 4 stars (a really fun romp!)

So, until next time, make sure to save me some popcorn and some mountain dew, and I'll see you: At The Movies!!

(At The Movies (c) Mike Aragona. All rights reserved. No reproduction or retransmission of this article is granted without written permission of Mike Aragona)

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