I just watched the 1997 film again. It's pretty godawful, but it still seems like a premise with some potential. And... apparently Todd McFarlane has been working on a reboot (or wishing for it) for a while.
That movie was just a mess in general. I love Michael Jai White, but he literally did nothing in the film. Maelbolgia is supposed to be the Emperor of the series, the leading puppetmaster, and yet they just turned him into a awful-looking CGI throwaway character. Violator was too forced to be funny, an Martin Sheen was a bad miscast. I would try to set the series up as an anthology.
Movie 1 - Spawn trying to understand who he is, eventually fighting the mob and Overtkill. Movie ends with Violater kicking the shit out of him, and revealing the grander scheme of Simmons becoming a general for Hell.
Movie 2 - Introduce the concept of Heaven, and make the antagonist the Redeemer, with Jason Wynn becoming more and more involved in the war. Malebolgia reveals himself to Simmons for the first time, but only briefly, in order to express his incredible level of anger towards the Hellspawn, and says that the Necroplasm is starting to take hold. I would have Jason Wynn continue being the Redeemer, unlike in the comics, and he begins to live like Al, and the film ends with him disappearing in a blinding light. The Violater takes full control of Wynn's company. Chapel is hired by the Violator, and altered by the powers of Hell to match Spawn.
Movie 3: The Angela story-arch goes here, with Chapel as a secondary antagonist that leads to Spawn's full origins revealed.
Movie 4: Spawn and Angela take the fight to Malebolgia, and the series ends with Spawn redeeming himself under the eyes of the Mother of All Creation by killing Malebolgia.
Hey, Todd McFarlane had all the control he wanted when he helped make this in the 90's. The fact it didn't come out so well is on him. If he's going to turn it over to someone who knows how to direct, fine.
"I'm not smart so much as I am not dumb." - Harlan Ellison
Probably not correct. McFarlane wrote it, but it was Mark A.Z. Dippé who directed it. And it was apparently his first feature-length film. Somebody like Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend, Water For Elephants) would probably do a good job with the Spawn subject matter nowadays.