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->''"I'm everyone - and no one. Everywhere - nowhere. Call me... [[TitleDrop Darkman]]."''
-->-- '''Peyton Westlake'''

Years before Creator/SamRaimi brought a certain [[Film/SpiderManTrilogy web-head to the screen]], he created his own superhero in this 1990 film. It stars Creator/LiamNeeson as Peyton Westlake, a scientist who has invented synthetic skin that, at its current stage of development, will disintegrate after 99 minutes of exposure to sunlight. His girlfriend, Julie (Creator/FrancesMcDormand), runs afoul of gangster Robert G. Durant (Larry Drake) and his thugs, who have him nearly killed. Peyton, now horrifically burnt, uses his own invention against the crooks as his new alter-ego, Darkman.

Two sequels were made; ''Film/DarkmanIITheReturnOfDurant'' (1995) and ''Film/DarkmanIIIDieDarkmanDie'' (1996).

The film was adapted to a LicensedGame by Ocean Software in 1991, which was released on UsefulNotes/NintendoEntertainmentSystem, UsefulNotes/Commodore64, UsefulNotes/AmstradCPC, UsefulNotes/{{Amiga}}, UsefulNotes/GameBoy, UsefulNotes/ZXSpectrum and UsefulNotes/AtariST.

In 2006, Dynamite Entertainment produced a four-part IntercontinuityCrossover miniseries ''ComicBook/DarkmanVsArmyOfDarkness'', which sees Darkman teaming up with Ash Williams from the ''Franchise/EvilDead'' franchise.

!!''Darkman'' provides examples of:

* AntiHero: {{Pragmatic|Hero}}, frequently slipping into {{Unscrupulous|Hero}}.
* TheAppleFallsFar: 650 feet, to be precise.
* ArtificialLimbs: Skip (one of Durant's henchmen) has a fake leg... which hides a machine pistol.
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: Darkman can enunciate English quite clearly despite the fact that he has no lips.
* ArtisticLicenseMedicine:
** The spinothalamic tract is stated to transmit pain and vibration. It actually transmits pain and temperature.
*** Also, this tract only conveys such sensory information from the neck down. Peyton should still be in considerable agony from his burned ''face'', which transmits its sensations to the brain via the trigeminal nerves. And we know those couldn't have been cut as well, because he can still open and close his mouth.
** The synthetic skin cells are stated to have a membrane potential of 122 megavolts. Human cell membrane potential is measured in ''milli''volts, making this off by a factor of a billion.
* AsYouKnow: Various speeches throughout the franchise. The most apparent is the speech given to the medical students about Peyton's condition, explaining the procedure that was done to him to eliminate his capacity to feel pain and the side-effects (inhuman strength, turning the patient into an emotionally unbalanced berserker) that ensue.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: For a SmugSnake in a suit, Strack actually puts up a pretty good fight against the superhuman Darkman in the finale. Justified in that Strack used to work construction and thus is familiar with maneuvering around skyscrapers, hence why he chose one as the place to lure Darkman to for their confrontation.
* BadBoss: Strack indirectly kills his own {{Mook|s}} in the final battle, then just shrugs indifferently and goes back to trying to kill Darkman.
* BadassBookworm: Originally a milquetoast personality, Peyton undergoes surgeries that remove the volume control knob from his emotions, turning him into a loud, violent rageaholic who's heart is as big as his temper and just as sensative. He still possesses the know-how from his days as a scientist, though.
* BattleaxeNurse: A doctor stabs Darkman in the thigh while he's in therapy just to prove a point to the guided tour she's directing.
%%* BecomingTheMask: Inverted.
* BigBad: Strack. Durant and Rooker make up for the sequel films respectably.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Darkman got his revenge on the criminals who ruined his life but he is now a creature of the night who can never return to the normal world.]]
* BlessedWithSuck: The treatment which made him super-humanly strong, agile, and impervious to pain also amplified his emotions to the point that he's in a near-constant state of uncontrollable rage and despair. Also, he apparently has no sense of touch due to surgery that cut off that sense in order to constant pain from the burns covering his body. This in turn caused his brain to amplify his emotional responses to fill in the void left by that lack of external stimulus.
* BluffTheImpostor: Darkman's cover during one disguise is blown this way.
* BondOneLiner: Durant is prone to these. As is Darkman.
* BreakTheCutie: Westlake had just proposed to marry his girlfriend. It seems like she was going to say 'yes' too.
%%* BuryYourGays: All of them, twice.
* ButForMeItWasTuesday: Averted since Durant knows Westlake well enough that he assumed he finished him off.
* TheCameo:
** Director Creator/JohnLandis as a burn ward doctor.
** [[spoiler:Creator/BruceCampbell]] as the final mask Westlake puts on at the end of the movie.
** [[Film/{{Walkabout}} Jenny Agutter]] as the nurse that stabs Darkman while he's in therapy.
* CaptainErsatz: Darkman is one of Literature/TheSpider, Radio/TheShadow and Franchise/{{Batman}}.
* CarCushion: Where Pauly ends up.
* CharlesAtlasSuperpower: Darkman can imitate anyone, provided he has a sample of their voice and a lot of time to practice.
* ChekhovsGun: The coffee-cup ring Peyton accidentally leaves on one of Julie's documents.
* CircusOfFear:
** The carnival that Peyton and his girlfriend attend starts developing these vibes when Peyton starts to lose it to rage, rushing to get away before his mask dissolves and some apropos overheard advertising ("A freak, gentlemen! He's a freak!").
** The carnival also has funhouse mirrors which seem to be mocking Peyton. Also not helping is a carnival barker revealing a circus freak the moment Peyton was about to tell Julie the truth.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Strack. VisionaryVillain (he sees his projects as a window to the future and a revival of the district), but he's also power-mad ("I built it all!") and pretty willing to kill and seduce his way to the top (with a wife he himself killed as one of his first stepping stones).
* DeathByIrony: Durant sets the lab to explode using a drinking bird. Later, Darkman does the same with his makeshift lab to Durant's mook Smiley. Smiley tries to stop it but it's a hologram, he keeps trying to grab it which [[OhCrap sets off the real bomb very quickly]].
* DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler:Strack]]. The comic adaptation even makes it gorier with some impalement.
* TheDragon: Durant is basically a hired crime lord to do all of Strack's dirty work. But with Strack's death, Durant is once again his own boss.
* DrivenToMadness:
** Westlake's rebirth as a SuperHero is born from a massive trauma-induced mental breakdown.
** The fate of Rick in the {{Novelization}} and ComicBookAdaptation, after seeing Darkman's face and being interrogated by him. Possibly also his fate in the original story concept, as novelizations tend to be based on such things.
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: Darkman's hideout-slash-lab that appears on the DirectToVideo films, built on an abandoned part of the subway and including a [[CoolTrain computer-assisted mini-train for him to drive]].
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: For Durant when using the cigar cutter.
-->'''Durant:''' Now, let's consider my points one by one. ''(snips off a finger)'' One: I try not to let my anger get the better of me. ''(snips off a finger)'' Two: I don't always succeed. ''(snips off a finger)'' Three: I've got seven more points.
* EvilLaugh: Darkman tends to emit a villainous cackle whenever he kills gangsters, threatens to kill gangsters or contemplates killing gangsters. It could be because Raimi originally intended to make an adaptation of Radio/TheShadow, or it could simply be because Westlake hasn't really managed to [[AxCrazy hold on to all of his marbles]], since his trauma.
* ExactTimeToFailure: 99 minutes of sunlight exposure until the synthetic skin breaks down. This is extended in the second movie by further research and development, but restored in the third film when Darkman loses some of his research.
* ExpandedUniverse: There are two [[SoOkayItsAverage decent]] sequels, a very nice {{Novelization}}, which started a short-lived series by the same author, a somewhat lame ComicBookAdaptation, a really great ComicBook miniseries by Creator/KurtBusiek, a television pilot, a [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames crappy]] video game, and a comic book crossover with ''Franchise/EvilDead'', also co-written by Busiek.
* EyesAreUnbreakable: With all the severe facial damage Westlake gets, ''including being on the point-blank range of an explosion and being dipped head-first in a big vat of acid'', it's impressive that he didn't got any ocular damage.
%%* FaceFramedInShadow
* FacialHorror: Peyton's ''severely'' burnt face.
* {{Fingore}}:
** Durant has sliced off a ''lot'' of fingers. And keeps them from rotting and decaying.
** Also, Peyton vs. {{jerkass}} carnie. Ouch.
** During Peyton's mutilation, we get to actually see the skin stripped from his fingers when he's forced onto the electrodes by Durant's men.
* {{Gayngster}}: [[AmbiguouslyGay Possibly]]. There's a hint in the deli scene that Durant may have a thing for Rick, plus he has no kids.
* GetItOverWith: Strack while Darkman is dangling him, combined with YouWouldntShootMe via EvilGloating. Unfortunately for him, he picked a wrong moment to think Peyton is TheCape...
* GratuitousLaboratoryFlasks: Being a scientist, Westlake has tons of beakers, flasks, test tubes and the like, most of which gets trashed. As Darkman, he salvages what he can to continue his work. Interestingly, during a {{Montage}} depicting him working, Raimi makes the interesting stylistic choice to have beakers and test tubes fly by to indicate the passage of time.
* GratuitousSpanish: Guzman, Durant's Mexican goon, indulges in this.
* HairTriggerTemper:
** The side effect of the surgeries Darkman undergoes to allow him to do anything without feeling crippling amounts of pain.
** Durant has one too, once he loses his shit though. As shown when he was framed by Darkman.
* HaveYouToldAnyoneElse: Amusingly subverted: Stack confronts Julie in his office about her stumbling on his evil scheme...and explains that she doesn't actually have enough information to justify him killing her, prompting this response:
-->"Well, if you're not going to kill me, I have things to do..."
* HellishCopter: How Durant meets his fate: his chopper is dragged by a truck and rammed right onto an overpass (and probably dragged a few feet into the tunnel as well).
-->'''Darkman:''' Burn in Hell!
* HourOfPower: Darkman's masks last exactly 99 minutes from the moment of first exposure to any kind of bright light. Peyton's quest for them lasting longer for so much as a minute is a constant sub-plot throughout the entire franchise.
* IfYouKillHimYouWillBeJustLikeHim: Subverted; Strack ''tries'' to save himself by invoking this trope. Guess how [[AntiHero Darkman]] responds.
** The villains in the sequels are under the assumptions that Darkman doesn't kill. Darkman himself also seems to be under that delusion that he doesn't kill bad guys, even though he lethally disposes of every villain he comes across.
* ILied: Played with in this exchange:
--> '''Rick:''' I told you everything!\\
'''Darkman:''' I know, Rick, I know you did. But let's pretend you didn't!
%%** Used by both Durant and Darkman.
* ImpaledPalm: Darkman gets a rivet shot into his hand during the climax, pinning him to the beam behind him.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice:
** Implied to be the fate of the {{Mook|s}} who falls down the building in the film's climax. The movie made a [[JustForPun point]] of setting up those rebars at the bottom.
** Also the fate of Strack in the comic adaptation, with pretty gory results.
* KickTheDog: Peyton and Julie both get several swift ones. Peyton is obvious, but consider that Julie thought she'd lost the love of her life, and was finally piecing her emotional self back together...[[spoiler:and then her rebound guy turns out to be an emotionless psychopath, her former lover turns out to be insane and heavily injured, and at the end, dumps her because he's become a monster.]] Oh, and all of this got started because of an accounting discrepancy she was looking into as part of her day job. ''Ouch.''
* LatexPerfection: Darkman's masks. Justified in that they are made of synthetic human skin and Westlake's devices to create them, even if looking hodgepodge, are state of the art.
* LighterAndSofter:
** The sequels, to a degree. Also the movie's ComicBookAdaptation.
** Although the comic actually showed Strack [[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice getting impaled on the rebars]] after Darkman drops him.
* LostInACrowd: Peyton vanishes from Julie in this manner at the end...by turning into [[spoiler:Bruce Campbell]].
* LovesOnlyGold: Strack in the novelization. In a subplot ultimately removed from the film and existing only in this book, Strack is obsessed with investing in South African krugerrands. When his father disagrees, insisting the Stracks are in construction and real estate, not gold, Strack [[SelfMadeOrphan has him killed]]. Near the end of the book, Strack takes the "Love" part of the trope to a literal level when he has a literal mountain of gold krugerrand coins piled onto his bed and [[{{Squick}} has sex with it]].
* MadeOfIron:
** Darkman ''can'' get hurt, but since he can't feel pain and has lost all sense of touch, tends to ignore it. It's driven home at one point when he accidentally lights his hand on fire while working... and ''doesn't notice'' for several seconds.
** The {{Mooks}} that were hooked on the PsychoSerum that Rooker had created in ''Die Darkman Die'', because they have "Darkman's superhuman DNA".
* MatchCut: One of the more brilliant: Julie watching the explosion match cuts to her at Peyton's funeral.
* NailEm: Strack wields a rivet gun in the construction site battle that concludes the original film.
* NightmareFace: Darkman's real face, after Durant's goons are done with him. Only one part of his skin remains without some burns and it's deadly pale, and on a couple of spots the burns are bad enough that ''you can see bone''.
* NotSoDifferent: The movie makes it pretty clear that the only thing separating Westlake and his nemeses is that he's bumping off "bad" people. The ThatManIsDead speech in the finale underlines the point.
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: Darkman wants to be the one to kill Durant. And he did, [[DeathIsCheap more than once]].
* PetRat: Durant is one.
* PrecisionFStrike: "Take the fucking elephant!"
* ProtagonistTitle
* PunctuatedPounding: Darkman beating the snot out of Smiley (replace each hyphen with a punch in the face):
* QuirkyMinibossSquad: Durant's crew. To a lesser extent, his replacement crew in the sequel.
* RealityEnsues: We get a double dose of this. The first instance happens when Westlake confronts the BigBad. Naturally, the villain erupts into a VillainousBreakdown, cursing his enemy for all the destruction that was done to his organization, right? Wrong. This is a slick, savvy corrupt businessman who only used Durant and his cronies as hired muscle and knows full well how useful a BadassAbnormal with shapeshifting techniques could be to him. Unfortunately for him, the borderline psychotic vigilante who has ''already'' personally disposed of his underlings still has a bit of an issue with him since he was the one ultimately responsible for everything that had happened thus far.
* RequiredSecondaryPowers: Since Darkman is missing roughly 40% of his skin, he pretty much needs a HealingFactor, or he'd keel over from various horrible diseases and the injuries he sustains in battle.
** Dr. Thorne in the third movie states that he does have rapid healing, [[YouFailBiologyForever somehow as a result of the operation that killed his sense of touch]].
*** Alternatively, one could presume a [[FridgeBrilliance scientist working on revolutionary treatments for burn victims might have a trick to prevent infection.]]
*** For that matter, he could be wearing synthetic skin under his clothes, where it'd be protected from light and will last longer. He leaves his face and hands uncovered between disguises because the former would ''have'' to be exposed to light if he's to be able to see, and the latter would wear through as he handles objects.
** Westlake also seems to be the world's greatest vocal impersonator.
*** Also a talented ventriloquist as he somehow manages to speak coherently without lips.
* RetCon:
** Durant is shown to be killed in a copter crash. But in the second film, it merely left him comatose.
** In the third film, a character named Dr. Bridget Thorne is is introduced and is stated to be one of the doctors who treated Westlake's burned body.
* SameLanguageDub: Bruce Campbell dubbed Liam Neeson in some scenes. Especially when he meets Julie on the street and says "JUUUUUUUULLLLIIEEEEE! IT'S MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
* SaveTheDayTurnAway: Dr. Westlake won the Pink Elephant, defeated the villains, and saved the girl. But due to his transformation into a hideous berserker of faceless justice, Peyton must abandon his desire of a life with Julie. He must walk the path of the hero alone, in the darkness.
** He performs one in each sequel as well, always followed by an heroic monologue.
* SaveTheVillain: Awesomely subverted as Darkman holds Strack by the ankle over the edge of the rooftop.
-->'''Strack''': Go ahead, do it, do it, Westlake. But think of this: [[HeWhoFightsMonsters you let me die, and you become as bad as meóworse]]! Haha, you canít. I know you too well. [[WrongGenreSavvy Dropping meóitís not really an option for you. Itís not something you could live with]].\\
'''Darkman''': [[BondOneLiner Iím learning to live with a lot of things]].
* SayMyName:
* ScreamingWoman: A hooker screams as Pauly fell on the car near her. She screamed again when she saw Darkman disguised as Pauly.
* SnipingTheCockpit: Durant kills four gangsters during the opening by shooting two car drivers, who crash their cars, killing their friends riding shotgun.
* SuicidalOverconfidence: Played with. Strack actually chooses his ground against Peyton quite well, as he has experience in skyscraper construction.
* SuperHero: a rare example that is native to the film medium.
* TakeThat: In the ''Franchise/EvilDead'' comic crossover, the main villain refers to Strack as not being worth bringing back.
* ThatManIsDead: "Peyton is gone."
* TheyLookJustLikeEveryoneElse: A non-villainous example. One of the random citizens Julie mistaken for Peyton looks back at her. He may or may not truly be Peyton. His narration at the end (which is the page-top quote) makes it even more ambiguous.
* ThisIsWhatTheBuildingWillLookLike: Strack has a glass model of his planned "City of the Future" in his office that he fawns over.
%%* ThoseTwoBadGuys: Skip and Rudy.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: Not only does it show ''exactly'' what is going to happen to the helicopter that chases after Darkman, it also clearly depicts Strack as the ManBehindTheMan, which is treated as a ''twist'' in the actual film.
* VillainHasAPoint: The monologue during the ending confrontation has Stracks giving a HannibalLecture defending his reputation as a VisionaryVillain, and it seems to hold up. A critical viewer might realize that even though he tried to brutally kill Westlake and essentially fights gang wars, he's also done a *lot* to benefit his surroundings - and, megalomania aside, is much more civilized than Peyton/Darkman, who thrives on a personal, bestial kind of revenge.
* VisionaryVillain: Strack's desire to build the "City of the Future" and revitalize the city's economy, and in particular (as he sees it) save the grungy waterfront district from crime and decay. He just happens to be willing to bribe, cheat and murder to get the necessary building permits.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Skip disappears after Durant's death. There was a scene of Darkman killing him with his own prosthetic leg. With the scene cut, Skip [[KarmaHoudini avoids any retribution]].
* WhatTheHellHero: Julie was disturbed seeing Peyton's face mask dissolve. Then she tells him he (who's hiding) should have told her the truth, and that she would have understood.
* WholePlotReference: To ''Film/RoboCop1987'', even down to the locations.
* WinHerAPrize: While the main character Peyton and his girlfriend visit a carnival, he plays a game to try and win a pink elephant doll for her. However he argues with an employee over whether he rightly won the prize or not, [[HairTriggerTemper which results in Peyton]] [[{{Fingore}} gruesomely twisting the carnie's fingers]].
* WrongGenreSavvy: Strack is a bit too quick to assume Westlake is TheCape and therefore can't kill him. Not in ''this'' superhero movie, smartass...