I throw my hands up in conciliatory defeat. You win, Darkman: I remain a child. I can only swallow something like this when it gleefully (and knowingly) lays waste to any vestige of seriousness. How can a movie so stupid, made for a glut of stupid people, somehow be so smart (not serious) about it? That's the Raimi family recipe. William Castle would have loved it, but would presumably not have been in on the joke.
First time seeing the film since its release in 1990 and I found it underwhelming then and a relic now. Piss poor blue screen effects and logic gaps in the story nearly halt any enjoyment in Raimi's early studio film. Cast is under utilized with Larry Drake offering the only pleasure. Whatever happened to Colin Friels?
Visually interesting, this seems like a comic book character adaptation. And surprisingly, the comic books came after the movie. The dialogs and the scene intensity are not always up to the set up. But still there is a tragic quality about this character that has a classic touch. (Anti-)heros on revenge-mode are far from being new. But Watchmen stories (the deconstruction of it all) are rare. There's... one?
Darkman is Raimi at his best. A master of the formal elements of genre, here using his inventiveness and perfect control of the tempo to create tension, enhance action scenes, and reflect upon the title character’s inner conflicts—his past, his humanity, and his descent into a man of many faces. It’s possible that after all these years, Darkman is still the best superhero film out there.
Raimi seems to approach his films from the point of view of a child, or a young film student filled with the burning passion for cinema and all its imperfections. "Darkman" is a great film, drawing from classical influences such as Leroux or even the Beauty and the Beast myth, he creates a fantastic film, simple and cocky.
A lurid, twitchy tribute to Steve Ditko's Question comics and the hate-driven pulp vigilantes of the '20s, '30s and '40s. If you like the source material as much as I do you'll find a lot to dig about this film.