The Shadow

1994, Adventure/Action, 1h 42m

50 Reviews 25,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Bringing a classic pulp character to the big screen, The Shadow features impressive visual effects, but the story ultimately fails to strike a memorable chord. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Set in 1930s New York, a reformed criminal becomes a superhero. With the aid of a beautiful female friend, a playboy millionaire with a dark past sets out to bring the evil Shiwan Khan to justice. His quarry, who is determined to attain world domination, is a deadly descendant of Genghis Khan and will not surrender without a fight.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Shadow

Audience Reviews for The Shadow

  • Nov 11, 2019
    Problematic narrative elements aside, I think one can still appreciate how weird this movie is. Clearly a result of a major Hollywood studio seeing the financial success of Tim Burton's two Batman movies and assuming if they found a dark, Noir, Art Deco, and puply equivalent, they'd also be rolling in money. It's a mess but a beautiful one filled with memorably imagery and strange characters.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 04, 2017
    Pros: *Alec Baldwin does really well in the lead role. He manages to be both charming and subtly menacing, especially in scenes where he is using just his voice to scare the villains. This movie made me realize that Baldwin would have made a good Batman if he was ever given the chance. *Lamont Cranston (aka. The Shadow) is a very interesting protagonist (at least conceptually) because he is a man who used to be an evil individual but is now trying to atone for his past sins by using his own inner darkness (his shadow) to fight evil. It's a nice backstory and the scenes in which Cranston uses his mind-manipulation powers to make people forget things adds nice layers of gray to the story. *The art direction and dark film noir-ish set designs of 1930's New York are impressive. *Jerry Goldsmith's score is very good and fits the dark dramatic atmosphere that the film was going for. *Russell Mulcahy still provides his distinct eye for visuals and clever scene transitions. *There are some pretty funny lines of dialogue. Cons....or Khans: *The storyline is very generic and un-eventful. *It doesn't help that The Shadows origin story is quickly glossed over through the combination of a rushed opening prologue and an ensuing text crawl. The whole affair feels like the second movie in a trilogy because it does the whole "hero fights an evil version of themselves" storyline, which doesn't work when we don't really know our hero. I personally wished this movie had been a "Batman Begins" type storyline to establish Cranston's origin and his early days as The Shadow. That way we would have been able to actually get to know him as a character, grow attached to him and understand his struggle. As it is, Cranston's internal struggles are rarely touched upon. Due to this I couldn't form an emotional connection and this applies to every character in this movie. *Ian McKellen and Tim Curry are sinfully underutilized. *There are not too many action scenes involving The Shadow and they are not too impressive. *John Lone (Shiwan Khan) is entertaining whenever he is sharing dialogue with Baldwin, otherwise Khan sadly ends up feeling like a stock villain. His plan is extremely silly and his final confrontation with The Shadow is extremely underwhelming and baffling. *Penelope Ann Miller ends up giving the weakest performance as Margo Lane. It doesn't help that some of her dialogue is pretty bad and her line delivery is even worse. *Some of the instances of CGI are okay (Ex. The dagger) but other times they are pretty creaky. Overall: This is a movie that seemed to have all the right ingredients: a charming leading man, a supporting cast filled with respected character actors, great set designs, a dark film-noir atmosphere, and imaginative directing. But due to weak action, underdeveloped characters, and an emotionally un-involving storyline, this comic book adaption becomes instantly forgettable.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Jun 07, 2013
    The Shadow isn't a groundbreaking film but the years have been kind to the film and it had a lot of pulpy fun that was generally missed. This film should have more of a cult following, much like The Rocketeer and The Phantom. Russell Mulcahy has a strong visual eye and that scene on the bridge offers some strong camera style and visual work. I have enjoyed this film from release and understood it was far from a classic but it does have redeeming aspects and it is primed for rediscovery. Mulcahy has had a belated career and all his films tend to have repeat viewing style and tend to live on long after they've been released.
    Brendan O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 24, 2013
    "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" A campy, noirish film, The Shadow is entertaining and action packed. Based on the 1930s radio show, the story follows Lamont Cranston, who fights crime as the masked vigilante The Shadow by clouding the minds men, but he meets his match when a descendant of Genghis Khan attempts to destroy New York City. Alec Baldwin, Penelope Ann Miller, and Ian McKellen lead the cast, but they don't seem that comfortable with the material. And the film itself has an inconsistent tone; as the mixture of comedy and action doesn't really work that well. Yet despite its problems, The Shadow is a unique and interesting superhero film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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