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Darkman (1990)

Official movie poster for Darkman
Darkman is supposedly the film which landed writer/director Sam Raimi in the director's seat for Spider-man. If this is true, it's no surprise the Spider-man series has dissolved into such a campy mess, but at least we all can be happy it has never gotten as bad as this.

Liam Neeson as Darkman
Darkman is Raimi's answer to 1989 smash comic book film Batman. Attempting to build on its success is Raimi's own abnormal creation, played by Liam Neeson. Neeson is a scientist named Peyton Westlake who’s attempting to master the creation of a synthetic skin which would revolutionize skin grafting, unfortunately his creation is only able to hold its form for 99 minutes before it completely dissolves. Westlake finally realizes light is the reason the skin is not holding its form, and that it does stay stabilized in the darkness. Before he's able to record these findings he's interrupted by a group of thugs who have come to reclaim an incriminating memo Westlake's girlfriend, an attorney, had discovered on their boss. Westlake insists he knows nothing of the memo, and the thugs’ burn down his apartment and leave him to die. Miraculously Westlake makes it out alive, but is severely burned over his entire body and a complicated medical operation has to be performed. Nerves that regulate pain in his body must be remove, otherwise the extreme pain from his injuries would kill him. Now completely unrecognizable, he must attempt to re-create his synthetic skin formula from memory so that he can disguise himself and seek revenge on those that did this to him.

With Darkman I don't know what's worse, the unbelievably bad story or the over-the-top melodramatic acting. This film is really all around bad, and so much so I found myself laughing hysterically when Liam Neeson starts screaming "they took my hands!" Nothing in this movie is even close to believable, from the fact that Westlake survives the explosion that completely disfigures him to his laboratory equipment still being operational after it was all blown up! This film is strictly for fans of some of Raimi's more offbeat low budget cornball fests, but as for me I'd rather sit through Batman & Robin than this again, at least that film is consistently funny because it's so awful, Darkman is only consistently awful.



  1. You'r entitled to your own opinion so i won't try to argue with you about whether or not this movie is good, only to let those know who read this that you're talking out of your ass. A good example is you saying a man couldn't survive a explosion like that. e.g. or mabey
    and let's not forget all the people that survived 9/11 and soilders surviving all sorts of shit in war. Also you clearly haven't done any homework because Raimi was trying to originally secure rights to either Batman or the Shadow, but being unable to do so began to create Darkman. Oh and by the way if Batman came out in '89 and Darkman in '90 then does that mean that Raimi wrote the original script, then had others improve it, hired all the actors, filmed it, and edited it within a year, or at best a year and a half if he got a look at the Batman script before release, if we follow your logic that this is Raimi's reaction to Tim Burton's Batman.

  2. First off Raimi was only trying to obtain the rights to the Shadow not Batman. And if you're wanting to argue %'s sure there's always going to .01% chance that someone could survive something similar, but realistically it doesn't usually happen, and even if we agreed it could happen there are many other aspects of this film that are far from possible, but that's not the point of my review!

    And Batman was released over a year before Darkman was released, don't you think that's enough time for Raimi to possibly make some changes to a film he's currently working on?!? I wasn't suggesting Raimi watched Batman and then went out a created Darkman, though I'm sure he knew about Batman prior to it's release and he had that in mind! But if you can watch both films and not see some similarities between the two then watch them again, I guess you're saying anything similar is just coincidence. And a year wasn't enough time for Raimi to make even subtle changes!

    Overall, my point is the story is awful, the acting is awful and I thought the film was a poor man's Batman. If you liked it fine, and frankly what you've stated could be possible, but I think I've clarified what I've said in this comment to prove enough that what I believe is possible. Either way it doesn't change how I felt or will continue to feel about the film. Just proves maybe I need to be a little clearer in the future, or you just nick pick too much. Either way I appreciate your comment.

  3. I wanted to state an opinion about Darkman. First off it is an excellent film. Second well there had been other films growing up that well probably at least made Darkman look better. Even though Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was groundbreaking for it's time somewhat in special effects. The did tone it down too many times. At least with Darkman they kept it true and you have to admit original. If anything matching it close to Darkman I say compare the Shadow, to Phantom of the Opera, to Mary Shelly's Frankenstien. He's Darkman because he is essentially a "Dark Hero". And trust me by far there are plenty of differences between him and Batman. The only reason Bruce became Batman was because his parents were killed. Period. Darkman became what he was because his lab was destroyed by thugs, his work almost burned to ashes and he was thought to be left for dead. His whole life destroyed. If you really want similarites look into "Swamp Thing" Scientist surviving major incident left altered for the rest of his life and seeks justice or revenge with the well transformation he was left with from the accident plot. Pretty common if you ask me, but Swamp Thing was a plant hybrid or in this case a elemental plant being thinking he was Alex Holland. I'll leave that tid bit for the experts to argue. However allow me to say I enjoyed Darkman, and sure while it might have been B rated for some upper standing critics as they like to portray it. Still it was awesome. To me it's also like RoboCop left for dead and altered from the incident. The only thing is simple Darkman takes justice with a blunt point of view, a means of revenge with the demented style of bringing hell to the criminal and most of the time dieing in the most grusome way. To me that's awesome as hell compared to Batman. At least to me Darkman isn't some stuck up snot nosed hero like Batman at times. This dude relied on science, intuition, and whatever he could scramble together. And all with equipment either stolen, salvaged, or more sheer engineering in an apocalypic like envioriment. To me truely awesome.

  4. I would seriously advise the man (or woman) who wrote the review to reconsider his or her basis for interpreting a film. This is a comic book film (though not inspired by any actual comic) and the fact that 'unbelievable' is circulated all throughout the review only demonstrates a depressingly narrow scope of analyzing a movie. If all movies were considered bad based on their plausibility, then indeed not much 'good' would remain in cinema. And this especially applies to superhero movies or films inspired by graphic novels etc.

    A more productive way to analyze 'Darkman' would be visual style, music and story telling. Peyton's hallucinations, delirium and rage outbursts are small expressionist masterpieces. The uncompromising way it treats violence that bursts more violence is not very Hollywood material, but more like indie ballsy vision. So is the dark, gruesome humor (like Paulie flying through the window or Ted Raimi's violent death). Danny Elfman's score is again a masterpiece in itself and one of his best.

    The acting is supposed to be melodramatic - again, here we're dealing with expressionism, not 'realism'. I suggest you read more about German expressionism and watch some movies like 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' and broaden your scope. 'Common sense' needn't always apply, not in movies anyway.

    As for the laughing on certain lines like 'they took my hands', dunno what to say - it's your reaction, I guess. But to me all these lines and the movies as a whole was very scary and sad in the same time and can't say I laughed at anything. Except maybe at Durrant's remark to Paulie: "Have a nice flight".

    If you ask me if 'Darkman' is well written, then I'll say no. It has many plotholes that indeed are just plotholes (like the recovery of the lab equipment that was blown up). But then again, the script went through 13 drafts and one can imagine it was severely patched by several writers. And again, that's not the only thing that matters here.

    If you ask me if 'Darkman' is a stylish, sometimes nightmarish thriller about a dramatic hero, and also an original interpretation of the comic book / superhero genre, then hell yes. It's a small... Marvel. :P


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