Franchises Keep Stealing From Sam Raimi's Forgotten Superhero Movie
When you think of Sam Raimi, you probably think of the Evil Dead films or the original Spider-Man trilogy, or that Wizard of Oz prequel starring James Franco that was a real movie that was released in actual movie theaters and not a fever dream ... We're pretty sure. But one Raimi movie that often gets left behind in the shuffle is his 1990 horror-superhero melange Darkman starring Liam Neeson as a mad scientist who seeks revenge on the mobsters who disfigured him and blew up his sweet loft, all while dressed like a hipster Mummy.
Despite the fact that the studio continually tinkered with Darkman, seemingly souring Raimi on the entire experience, it's kind of a masterpiece. And even though it was only a modest success at best, the influence of Darkman can be felt in a laundry list of other, far more lucrative blockbusters. Like the Mission: Impossible series, the original movie similarly found its hero chased by a helicopter -- only to escape by affixing a dangling cable to a moving vehicle, pulling the copter down to its ultimate destruction.
The sequel was even more blatant in its Darkman thievery -- at one point, the hero uses their collection of lifelike rubber face masks to hide the identity of an unconscious henchman, and there's a scene where the villain threatens to chop off someone's finger with a cigar cutter --
Not unlike Durant in Darkman ...
Even Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight has shades of Darkman -- it's literally about a dude who has half his face blown off getting revenge on the criminals responsible. Also, it similarly ends with a fight atop a construction site that ends with the bad guy hanging upside down.
And Raimi seemingly borrowed from himself while making Spider-Man 2, which, too, features a scientist (Doctor Octavius) perfecting an experimental new technology inside of his laboratory/swanky loft, which also, unfortunately, blows up. The terrible incident turns both into morally compromised figures who rebuild their labs in abandoned industrial spaces that somehow aren't filled with raccoons or teenagers doing whippits.
If you've enjoyed any of these other movies and haven't seen Darkman in a while (or at all), why not give it a watch. We can't, however, recommend revisiting the Nintendo game.
Top Image: Universal Pictures