Sam Raimi’s trial run for the Spider-Man franchise is a whole bunch of fun. Liam Neeson plays Dr. Peyton Westlake, a super scientist who after a major run-in with the villainous Robert G. Durant (Larry Drake), reinvents himself as Darkman, a super-anti-hero who sets about ridding L.A. of its mobsters.
It’s a comic book film that isn’t based on a comic book, Raimi inventing his own tortured protagonist whilst homaging similar beings of eras past. All the silliness of such fare is here of course, overblown violence and colourful characters are frequent, but there’s good thought gone into the revenge theme, while the action sequences are often excellent. The pace hardly sags, as Raimi’s creations move about a Los Angeles that is equally decaying or affluent, and in Neeson the story has a lead actor with swagger, pathos and emotional force in abundance. 7/10
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