I had always heard about Darkman, but never had the opportunity to watch it until recently. It surprised me to learn that it starred Liam Neeson and that Sam Raimi directed it. Those two things are also the strongest cards in the movie’s hand.
The first time I saw Neeson in a serious action role was in the excellent Taken, whose announced sequel I anxiously await. I didn’t know he had a history in the genre, but he does well with it. I also enjoyed the dialogue (the villains’ in particular); snappy and surprising, it delivered laugh after laugh.
The movie takes on a somewhat goofy tone at times, though it certainly seems consistent with other movies from the time (like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Mario Bros., and even Batman to a lesser extent). Of course, you need to make some leaps of logic to invest in the story’s premises, but I had no trouble suspending my disbelief long enough for the movie’s charms to take hold
Though it didn’t manage to become one of my favorites, I appreciate Darkman’s place in history. It gave Raimi a foothold into the superhero genre in advance of its massive explosion the next decade, placing him in an ideal position to shape it (as he went on to do). He obviously learned a lot from making this movie, and Spider-Man turned out all the better for it.