I saw the first Darkman movie yesterday. I'm surprised it took me this long to see it, considering the movie came out in 1990. What should surprise no one is that I like this movie. Yeah, my taste in movies isn't improving. According to IMdB, the movie was inspired by The Shadow radio program. From the looks of it, I'd say Raimi was inspired by The Phantom of the Opera as well. The whole "disfigured tortured soul getting revenge" theme is also in V for Vendetta, so it's really no surprise that I like this movie. Like, but not love. The acting in some parts and a lot of the special effects (though not Darkman's makeup) left a lot to be desired.
The movie came in a DVD set with II and III. Liam Neeson and Sam Raimi aren't involved in II and III, so that right there should tell you something.