The answer lies within this page.
"I'm everyone - and no one. Everywhere - nowhere. Call me... Darkman."
Years before Sam Raimi
brought a certain web-head to the screen
, he created his own superhero in this 1990 film. It stars Liam Neeson
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 (Frances McDormand), runs afoul of gangster Robert G. Durant 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; Darkman II: The Return of Durant
(1995) and Darkman III: Die Darkman Die
This film provides examples of:
- Anti-Hero: Pragmatic, frequently slipping into unscrupulous. (Formerly types III and IV).
- The Apple Falls Far: 650 feet, to be precise.
- As You Know: 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.
- Bad Boss: Strack indirectly kills his own Mook in the final battle, then just shrugs indifferently and goes back to trying to kill Darkman.
- Badass Bookworm: Originally a milquetoast personality, Peyton undergoes surgeries that remove the volume control knob from his emotions, turning him into a loud, violent rageaholic. He still possesses the know-how from his days as a scientist, though.
- Battleaxe Nurse: A doctor stabs Darkman in the thigh while he's in therapy just to prove a point to the guided tour she's directing.
- Big Bad: Strack, in the first film. Durant and Rooker make up for the sequel films respectably.
- Blessed with Suck: 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.
- It is explained that he received surgery to cut off his sense of touch to block constant pain from the burns covering his body. This in turn caused the brain to amplify his emotional responses to fill in the void left by lack of external stimulus.
- Bluff the Impostor: Darkman's cover during one disguise is blown this way.
- Bond One-Liner: Durant is prone to these. As is Darkman.
- Break the Cutie: Westlake had just proposed to marry his girlfriend. It seems like she was going to say 'yes' too.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Averted since Durant knows Westlake well enough that he assumed he finished him off.
- The Cameo:
- Captain Ersatz: Darkman is one of The Spider, The Shadow and Batman.
- Car Cushion: Where Pauly ends up.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Darkman can imitate anyone, provided he has a sample of their voice and a lot of time to practice.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Strack. Visionary Villain (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).
- Circus of Fear: At least in the first movie, courtesy of Peyton starting to lose it to rage, rushing to get away before his mask dissolves and some apropos overheard advertising ("A freak, gentlemen!").
- Cross Over: Dynamite Entertainment produced a four-part mini-series seeing Darkman team-up with Ash.
- Disney Villain Death: Strack. The comic adaptation even makes it gorier with some impalement.
- The Dragon: Durant is basically a hired crime lord to do all of Strack's dirty work.
- Driven to Madness:
- Westlake's rebirth as a Super Hero is born from a massive trauma induced mental breakdown.
- The fate of Rick in the Novelization and Comic Book Adaptation, 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.
- Elaborate Underground Base: Darkman's hideout-slash-lab that appears on the Direct-to-Video films, built on an abandoned part of the subway and including a computer-assisted mini-train for him to drive.
- Evil Laugh: 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 adaption of The Shadow, or it could simply be because Westlake hasn't really managed to hold on to all of his marbles, since his trauma.
- Exact Time to Failure: 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.
- Expanded Universe: There are two decent sequels, a very nice Novelization, which started a short-lived series by the same author, a somewhat lame Comic Book Adaptation, a really great Comic Book miniseries by Kurt Busiek, a television pilot, a crappy video game, and a comic book crossover with Evil Dead, also co-written by Busiek.
- Eyes Are Unbreakable: 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.