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Darkman: The Master of Disguise

Darkman: The Master of Disguise

We can’t deny the fact that comic books are one of the enjoyable past time back in the day and even today. Comic superheroes like Superman, Batman, and many other heroes entertain us as they combat the mobs of evils. While most of the superheroes debuted from comic books, there are still heroes that were created for the big screen before they even have their own comic series.

Interestingly, Darkman is one of them. Darkman was originally a superhero-horror film series released in 1990. It was written by Sam Raimi (also the creator of Spider-Man) as a tribute for the Universal Pictures before it made its way as a comic book series.

Darkman: Film Appearances

Sam Raimi, the creator of Darkman, had been fascinated by adapting a comic book into a film. However, Raimi failed to secure the rights for ‘The Shadow’ and ‘Batman’. For this reason, he just chose to make his own, thus, the creation of the film, Darkman.Raimi’s initial idea for Darkman was a man that could change a face. This idea was inspired by the two films, namely The Phantom of the Opera and the Elephant Man.  Moreover, some of the inspiration that motivated Raimi was the horror films of Universal Pictures in the year 1930’s to 1940s.

In 1987, Raimi presented the 40-page short story of the Darkman to the Universal Pictures. As a result, this short story was given a green light signal with an estimated budget of USD 8 to 12 million.

Darkman Origin

Darkman theatrical poster

1990, Darkman theatrical poster

Darkman was a 1990 superhero-horror film starring Liam Neeson. He portrayed the role of Peyton Westlake, also known as Darkman, a scientist. Westlake was a scientist developing a synthetic skin for burn victims as well as for the skin cancer patients. Unfortunately, a crime lord named Robert Durant barged in at Westlake’s laboratory, demanding for a document that Westlake doesn’t know. In searching for the document, Durant brutally burns Westlake’s body and blows up his laboratory.

Although Westlake survived, his whole body was severely burnt. He was brought to the hospital and underwent a treatment that cuts his nerves making him no longer feel pain. During the procedure, Westlake’s sensory removal caused his enhanced strength due to adrenal overload. However, Westlake’s emotions became unstable. He was unable to control his emotion and became impulsive and violent. In due course, Westlake was able to rebuild his laboratory and began to produce synthetic skin again. He used these skins to impersonate his enemies as well as to seek revenge.

Darkman II: The Return of Durant

Darkman II, film poster 1995

Darkman II, film poster 1995

Directed by Bradford May and starring Arnold Vosloo, Darkman was set off to another journey in Darkman II: The Return of Durant (1995).

As Dr. Westlake relocated his laboratory, he continued to formulate the skin cells he was working on. He continued to search for a solution regarding his synthetic skin that has a ninety-nine minutes timeframe, with the use of the criminal’s money to fund his research. However, Westlake thought that he had defeated Durant in the first film. Unbeknownst to him, Durant awakens from a coma and was plotting to escape the prison.

Upon the escape of Durant, he attempted to buy Brinkman’s building for them to use for their futuristic weaponry. But when David Brinkman, the co-scientist of Westlake, refuses, Durant killed him. With many lives at stake, Darkman is once again set for another fight against crime and injustice.

Darkman III: Die Darkman Die

Darkman III: Die Darkman Die film poster (1996)

Darkman III: Die Darkman Die film poster (1996)

In the last movie of the Darkman’s trilogy, Arnold Vosloo once again starred as Darkman in the third movie series released in 1996.

In this movie, Westlake is still looking for a way to make a permanent fluid skin formula to fix his burned hands and face. After Westlake stops an illegal trade initiated by a crime boss, Peter Rooker, he is then approached by Dr. Thorne.

Dr. Bridget Thorne was one of the doctors who spared Westlake’s life following his assault on Durant’s account. She asserts that she needs to help Westlake find the way to create the skin formula he needed. She also wants to help Westlake fixed his nervous system to regain his sensory loss.

Subsequently, Westlake found out that Thorne is Rooker’s mistress. The couple had been planning to pose Darkman as their guinea pig to expose the source of his strength. Upon escaping, Darkman imitates Rooker and try to learn about the villain’s family. Conversely, instead of foiling Rooker’s plan, he ended up saving the villain’s family.

Superhuman Powers and Abilities

Because ofthe experiments made to Dr. Westlake, he was unable to feel any physical pain. This experiment also resulted in an extreme adrenal flow that caused his strength and durability.  In addition, he uses synthetic skins to pose as his enemies and to expose them for their own downfall. However, these synthetic skins only last for ninety-nine minutes after being exposed to light.

Darkman: Comic Appearances

When the film was released in 1990, Marvel Comics published a three-issue comic book about the film Darkman. In 1993, Marvel once again issued another six miniseries about Darkman. After almost thirteen years, Dynamite Entertainment published another comic featuring Darkman. It was a comic series where Darman teamed up with another character that Sam Raimi created, Ash Williams, the protagonist in ‘Evil Dead.’

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