In a time when superhero movies were a popular fad in The 90’s, Bruce Timm created Batman: The Animated Series, his Magnum Opus. Fox Kids aired X-Men: The Animated Series & Spider-Man: The Animated Series. Three of the cartoons gathered a new generation of comic book fans. (including me) Power Rangers also became a billion dollar franchise spawning merchandise, toys, t-shirts among many others. Those were the good ol’ days for 90’s Kids/90’s Babies. One film in particular that never made it to the big leagues like Batman or The Crow, was an attempt to make a successful black superhero film called, “Blankman,” starring In Living Color castmates, Damon Wayans & David Alan Grier.
Blankman opened in theaters in 1994. At the time of its release, the film was critically panned by critics and failed to generate revenue at the box office. Overtime, Blankman went on to become a cult classic in the superhero genre airing on television as well as consumers who bought the film in the home video market.
With Black Panther recently breaking records with movie goers pre-ordering their tickets before its upcoming release. I would like to show you fellow movie goers, one of the first attempts that Hollywood tried to make a critical and box office success focusing on a black superhero. Until Wesley Snipes’ Blade happened. By the way, Spawn doesn’t count, because that movie was an epic disaster for us comic geeks. Let us never forget that travesty that nearly destroyed Spawn’s credibility as an established superhero.
This review doesn’t contain any huge SPOILERS whatsoever. You’re allowed to read this article if you’ve never seen it before.
Positive: Damon Wayans & David Alan Grier both did a good job on their laugh out loud performances as Darryl/Blankman and Kevin his sidekick brother.
Damon Wayans also wrote the script for the film and also did a good job on coming up with jokes.
The Villain has an unfortunate last name that made me laugh hysterically. I’ll give you a hint, the actress who played Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz, has a daughter who’s a singer/actress who’s also an Oscar winner in a film called, Cabaret.
Blankman has some ridiculous but cool looking gadgets that surprisingly come in handy.
A Pause Worthy Moment featuring a Bruce Lee poster inside Kevin’s room, I’ll give this Easter Egg an Extra Point on foreshadowing his skills.
The film pokes fun at Superhero elements including Jason Alexander’s role as an over-the-top J. Jonah Jameson like character, Blankman visiting a police station and The Climax that pays tribute to Adam West’s Batman, known for its silly death traps and fight scenes from various episodes.
Cinematography looks decent without any Shaky Cam. Dutch Angles were used sparingly.
Tony Cox, Greg Kinnear (in his film debut) & Arsenio Hall make cameo appearances
I’m gonna give this movie credit for inspiring the comic book series called, Kick-Ass, that went on to become a film and spawned a sequel.
Darryl/Blankman has a special weakness. I won’t tell you what it is, you’ll be laughing your butt off!
Negative: Product Placement featuring the following brands such as, Pepsi, Sony, Kix, Cap’n Crunch, Funyuns, Ruffles, Fritos, Lay’s, Doritos, Spam & McDonald’s.
Without giving too much away, Kevin unintentionally convinces Darryl to wear his costume while working at a public restaurant filled with customers inside the building! I find that inconsistent!
One of the characters gets an early love interest. Dagnabbit! I really can’t stand an early romance! In real life, it’ll take a couple of days or weeks to get to know one another until a relationship begins.
The Final Verdict: B-
Despite a few blemishes, honestly, I thought Blankman wasn’t THAT bad at all. I’m positively sure that its not a critically acclaimed masterpiece, I would consider this an adequate superhero comedy. If you’re prepping up to see Black Panther or Avengers: Infinity War, I recommend Blankman as one of the films to keep you busy before Marvel’s latest film comes out. Fellow critics, if you’re reading this, brace yourselves on the next big future Razzie winner coming out in July, which is my birthday month. Its an upcoming superhero film called, Teen Titans Go To The Movies. I will be the first to see this movie as a noble sacrifice for those who want to save their precious hard earned cash.