There may be no more underrated superhero film than Sam Raimi's Darkman. Unable to secure the rights to Batman or The Shadow as he wanted, Raimi instead crafted a new hero that nonetheless paid homage to the mystery men and horror franchises of the 1930s. Raimi created Peyton Westlake (played by Liam Neeson), a brilliant scientist working on synthetic skin to help burn victims. Unfortunately, Westlake becomes involved in an underworld plot headed by gangster Robert Durant (Larry Drake). An explosion at his lab leaves Westlake horribly disfigured but superhumanly strong and utterly unable to feel pain. He uses his synthetic skin to craft uncanny likenesses of mob figures in order to infiltrate criminal gangs in the name of justice and vengeance. The skin dissolves if exposed to light for more than 99 minutes, hence his need for shadows and the name Darkman. Neeson turns in a fantastic performance as the tortured, Phantom-esque figure, while Drake serves as the perfectly smooth yet rotten foil. Darkman remains a truly original and innovative superhero film.

7:30 p.m. Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park, 114 Vintage Park. For information, call 713-715-4707 or visit drafthouse.com. $9
Tue., April 23, 7:30 p.m., 2013


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