For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
They destroyed everything he had, everything he was. Now, crime has a new enemy and justice has a new face.
Dr. Peyton Westlake is on the verge of realizing a major breakthrough in synthetic skin when his laboratory is destroyed by gangsters. Having been burned beyond recognition and forever altered by an experimental medical procedure, Westlake becomes known as Darkman, assuming alternate identities in his quest for revenge and a new life with a former love.
i'm not sure why the world decided that mad science, goofy effects, heavy-handed metaphors, overacting, cartoonishly noir lighting, bouncing overbearing scores, weird special effects, and totally unrealistic everything weren't good enough for superhero movies anymore but we really fucked up bad. this is so much better than every other "but who's the REAL monster?" comic book movie that came after it, and it wasn't even based on a comic book. it's also Raimi's best movie and one of Neeson's best performances - the way he moves his body around is an incredible Universal Monster homage that probably nobody expected he could do. THE INVISIBLE MAN meets Adam West's Batman, what a feat to pull that off.
The movie that always gets forgotten when people put together lists of the best superhero movies of all time -- probably because the character is invented for the screen, rather than adapted to it. And, maybe because its "hero" is a self-described "monster" with a gruesome face. But this really is Raimi's first stab at the genre, and a very successful one.
Plus, it's eerily like a TAKEN movie when you watch it now: Liam Neeson's life gets wrecked and he swears revenge using (in this case literally) superhuman fighting skills.
It also includes the phrases "The Rangeveritz Technique" and "The Bellasarious Memorandum." I love DARKMAN.
Sam Raimi's Darkman is the gritty superhero film we all wanted before Christopher Nolan, complete with a slight dash of signature 90's cheese. Liam Neeson is in traditional form as a vengeful disfigured scientist, bringing the tough and gritty face we all know and love to the front of the screen for the first time, but of course that dashing face is only seen a choice few times, for the rest of the time we see either a horribly disfigured monster's face or some random victim of identity theft's (or briefly Bruce Campbell's mug). Darkman himself is a hero of questionable morals, which makes me wonder how many modern superhero films draw influence from this one. Everyone says that The…
In the era of Batman '89, Darkman surely puts it to shame in just about every category: effects, tone, pacing, humor, gags, origins, ingenuity, music, color, sets, even most of the cast fits together and has chemistry. Holds up marvelously.
Blu-ray looks very pretty indeed :))
Located fittingly between "The Evil Dead" films and the "Spider-man" series in Sam Raimi's canon, his marvelously entertaining "Darkman" is a horror-superhero mash-up that only Raimi could create. Full of character, thrills, and touches of gore, "Darkman" is a stylized action film that feels ripped from the pages of a comic book. It is compelling and delightfully overwrought, and it teems with engaging personality.
The story follows Liam Neeson's Dr. Peyton Westlake, a scientist developing artificial flesh who is assumed to be killed when his lab is ransacked members of a criminal syndicate. Stalking the shadows, Westlake becomes Darkman and, as Darkman, haunts and hunts down those who destroyed his life.
The narrative weaves together elements of crime films, revenge…
Raimi fundamentally understands the art of comic books and shoots his film in the same way a comics artist would panel their work. This is the biggest difference in what Raimi does, and the crop of Marvel/DC movies that have come out in the last few years. He isn't shooting a brand or a revisionist take on comics. He is diving right into what makes them work. Visually the frames from an alleyway in a kind of storyboarder's view, the intense close up, the sparse dialogue that appears while always keeping a characters face in frame is all in the dna of comic books. It's as if he crafted this movie in the same way he would as if he…
In preparation to Deadpool, which I am probably going to watch tomorrow, I wanted to see an older superhero film with a very different style from what we see in many contemporary films of this kind. Not only is Darkman not a direct adaptation of a comic book hero, although it was inspired by some, especially Batman, in terms of its tone, it is also a superhero film that manages to be both gritty and entertaining, something DC/Warner doesn't seem to be able to pull off with their counterparts to the more lighthearted Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The direction by Sam Raimi is great. Visual cues in terms of character development are used brilliantly to move the story forward. An example…
It seems weird that I hadn't seen this movie until now. It's super awesome and Sam Raimi really goes for it. Everything is intense ALL THE TIME. Liam Neeson is great as the good guy even though sometimes you wonder if he's gone totally nutso-futso, which is pretty understandable since he gets most of his face melted off. Frances McDormand is awesome because she is tough and strong and a babe. Larry Drake is awesome because he is super evil, like maybe one of the most evil villains I've ever encountered.
An ideal film for middle schoolers. It's slightly more violent than kids films without being gorey, yet still just the right amount of icky. The style is cartoony but the subject matter is closer to adult. And at the center is a character who isn't really in control of his emotions. I wish I'd seen this film younger. Instead, I skipped straight to the Evil Dead trilogy.
Distinctly a Sam Raimi movie, Darkman is a fun, chaotic, absurd action movie, filled to the brim with directorial choices so bizarre that it's almost beside the point whether they "work" or not.
Very exciting and entertaining movie, I almost felt like I was a kid again. Little clumsiness didn't bother me, especially because the story was solid and most of the things in movie worked. I'm not sure if I ever have seen Liam Neeson movies ever before, but in this one he was convincing - especially when he was Darkman. This had great make-up and there was cool action scenes in the end. It also was rare, that... well usually in these kind of revenge movies I don't really get into the mind of a victim and the result is that I just watch when he gets his/her revenge and never feel anything, not really. Now this one, this had some…
This was probably original for its time it feels like pretty much every superhero movie ever now. The opening scene with the cigar cutter has been burned into my head since I was a kid so it was cool to find out where that was from again, though.
This classic B movie definitely has the stamp from the horror master, Sam Raimi for a few reasons:
- This was back when Liam Neeson's getting more attention before Schindler's List.
- This was when Sam Raimi was making great movies. I'm looking at you, Oz and Spidey 3!
- "Take the fucking elephant!" - Liam Neeson.
"Give me the fucking elephant!!" Bonkers.
Not another list of the last five Marvel movies, but an attempt at creating The Superhero List To End All…