Over the years the shift between rooting for the heroes and enjoying the anti-heroes has been brought into focus in many ways. A typical hero is considered to be an individual who, with or without powers, finds a way to protect people and stand for justice in one way or another. An antihero isn’t usually the stereotypical type that wants to help society at all but has a bone to pick with someone or a part of society in general, and in a lot of ways, they’re favored because they’re flawed in some fundamental manner, which is something that helps them relate to people in a very effective way. Darkman was one of those that came and went, even though the movie did get a couple of lackluster sequels that didn’t do much for the overall story. Some folks might find that the sequels work, but it feels likely that if they were given a chance to see Liam Neeson, the original Darkman, come back for a proper sequel, they would embrace it without fail. At the moment there are rumors that this might happen if certain factors align, and honestly, it might be fun.
Would it be a serious horror/action movie? Probably not, but it wouldn’t be something that would carry such high expectations either, especially since the first Darkman movie wasn’t exactly the type of movie that was going to be anything but a cult classic. But the fact that it was given that status without question is impressive since, like many movies that have come before and after it, the status of cult classic is often one of prestige in its own right since these are the movies we tend to remember fondly, even if logic demands that we acknowledge that they’re kind of goofy in some ways even if they teach a valuable lesson or impart a bit of wisdom.
Darkman was rather simple as far as stories go, since it started with Westlake, aka Neeson, attempting to discover a way to make synthetic flesh, ostensibly for the betterment of humanity. When he finds out it’s photosensitive and won’t last longer than 99 minutes, he finds out later on that it will last indefinitely in the dark. The tale goes that a man that his girlfriend works for a man that is involved with a dangerous mobster that wants a document that he believes Westlake has. When Westlake can’t produce the document, his assistant is killed, and he’s blown up, though he does survive, only to endure the fact that he can no longer feel pain and has lost all tactile sensation. On top of that, he’s prone to fits of rage that are made even more dangerous by his augmented strength and the constant flow of adrenaline to his system. In other words, Darkman is not the type of person to fool around with since he’s a ticking timebomb that could go off at any moment. While he does try to reconnect with his girlfriend, he quickly finds that he’s no longer a balanced member of society and abandons his relationship as he decides to avenge himself by disrupting the lives of the mobster and his henchmen.
Westlake begins to kill the mobster’s men until he finally confronts the mobster, which ends with the mobster being dealt with near the end. After finding out that the villain that set the entire mess into motion has his girlfriend, Westlake confronts this individual and drops him off a building. Following that, he disappears once again as he decides to become a vigilante. In short, Darkman is a tale of vengeance with just enough human feeling to keep it somewhat grounded, since the science fiction aspect of it was cool for the time and could be just as cool in this era since imagining how much the tech might have advanced after so long makes it clear that if Darkman did come back for a second movie, a proper sequel, he might have the trick of creating synthetic flesh down pat, and could move throughout society without fail as he could take on the appearance of many people to enact his brand of justice.
Seeing Darkman come back would be interesting, but it would also be kind of difficult since Neeson isn’t as young as he used to be, and it might be time to pass the torch somehow given that Dr. Westlake might finally be tiring within the story. It’d be intriguing to see whether Frances McDormand would come back or not, but even if she did it still feels as though the movie would be better served by seeing a new, slightly younger cast brought into the mix. Other than that, it might be a good idea to reboot the idea entirely and bring Neeson back in a different role as Westlake was taken on by another actor. It could work.
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