August 18, 1997 12:00 PM

Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo

If you judge a superhero by his cape, then Spawn (White) is the coolest. His cape, maraschino-cherry red and seemingly the size of Ringling Brothers’ tent, billows behind him like a giant flame, helping him reach soft landings and disguise himself. Too bad the rest of Spawn, about the titular African-American superhero of Todd McFarlane’s popular comic book series (see page 113), isn’t as alluring as the cape. Although there are some decent special effects, the movie’s story (Spawn’s own spawning and his battle to avert a biochemical disaster) is phantasmagoric gobbledygook that only the most ardent fans of the comic book will willingly endure. (PG-13)

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