The Shadow - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Shadow Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 5, 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.
February 28, 2017
One of my favorite movies of all time.
November 24, 2016
good , fun entertainment. This is a very good movie , for what it is. It is an entertaining story of "The Shadow"; quite the cool guy. Good performances by all. Good villains, hero, love interest, and supporting characters including the great Jonathan Winters.
September 28, 2016
I have watched this many times. Too many films cannot stand repeat viewing because they are not this much fun.
September 21, 2016
An interesting enough movie that I honestly think it's a worthy film to watch just for some of the 'campy charm' of it
July 12, 2016
Being a naive child at that time I did not realize that it is an absolute mess, now most see it more clearly: it is a tedious and infumable adaptation of a comic book read our young parents, not even the powerful music of Jerry Goldsmith, nor the luxurious production design manage to safeguard this garbage, the only thing salvageable was the song "Original Sin" Taylor Dayne is amazing, it is said that Sam Raimi responsible for the trilogies "Evil Dead" and "Spider-Man" has acquired the rights to the Shadow film, he is a big fan of the character and always dreamed of wear to the movies, I try once many years ago but did not get created his own superhero Darkman, hopefully you are lucky and get a decent and proper conduct of the Shadow movie it deserves and make us forget this shit.
½ March 24, 2016
Set your TV's color to 0 to get extra old-school charm out of the film.
½ February 7, 2016
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! This film tries to revitalize America's legendary first superhero for modern audiences but fails completely. In the 1930s, the Shadow was a massively popular suspense character. Born in the Great Depression, when mob crime and ineffective government led many to question life, he acted as a dark-hearted fascist who brutalized lawbreakers in a vigilante war on evil. Thus, in a time of darkness, the idea of justice rose out of a shadow cast by hopelessness and despair. It was so Biblically final, it became a national treasure, but when Tinseltown tried to cash in on the legacy, they screwed it up...

Like the comic-book heroes he inspires, The Shadow is an urbane city-dweller who maintains a outward persona under which he pursues a ruthless war on crime. His civilian identity is New York City millionaire Lamont Cranston. The "rich man-about-town" was later aped by BATMAN's Bruce Wayne, but in Cranston's case, it was an elaborate hoax to further confound his enemies. In truth, The Shadow is Kent Allard, an ex-WWI spy who faked his death, went to Tibet, and learned mental mysticism. Embittered by trench warfare and espionage, Allard knew well the evils of mankind. Then he met the industrialist Lamont Cranston, a man he so resembled they were constantly mistaken for each other. Knowing Cranston could get him access to social circles he himself could never obtain, Allard moved to NYC, stole Cranston's identity, and used his mysticism to hypnotize anyone who could still tell them apart. He then went about his new life mission--to battle the evil in men's hearts. Sound complex? It should; it's the movie Hollywood DIDN'T make.

When I think of 1930s crime fiction, I don't see flying demonic knives biting off the tips of people's thumbs, nor do I see Mongol warriors strolling down 5th Avenue fully dressed in battle gear. At least The Shadow himself looks cool, aside from inexplicable make-up that psychically "transforms" Baldwin into the long-nosed avenger. I'm even willing to tolerate how he wears a trench coat that looks like a dress. What I'm NOT willing to buy is the hackjob script. It starts in Tibet, where scuz-bag opium lord Lamont Cranston kills his enemies heartlessly. See, right there, I have to ask... why is America's first "superhero" now a druggie? He doesn't look like a morally convicted fascist, he looks like Vinny Appice from Black Sabbath. Anyway, a Buddhist monk abducts Cranston into a Himalayan temple and uses a knife possessed by evil spirits to beat Cranston into submission. He then lamely forces Cranston to fight crime all over the world, empowered by the "beast within." The mystic tells him this is the price for his redemption. Bear in mind, it's all ham-fisted into the first FIVE minutes, so it's clear THE SHADOW has no focus. Is it horror? Suspense? Action? Adventure? Drama? Comedy? It tries to be all these things because the moviemakers have no clue. Originally, the Shadow fought Depression-era crime, political weakness, and financial decay. In 1994, apparently that meant he had to become "accessible to audiences," so Hollywood psychoanalyzed his crimefighting motivations and put its own stupid spin on things. Result? This Shadow's a tortured-soul pagan poster-child for Zen Buddhism who acts like he's got a split personality. One moment he ruefully regrets his past sins, and the next he laughs sinisterly at how much they empower him.

Aside from wonderfully dark music by Jerry Goldsmith (my favorite score, actually), the film's only success is how it approximates 1930s NYC. Other 1990s superhero flicks look staged, but this is wondrous, with lavish nightclubs, immense mansions, and dark alleys. It's really Manhattan, right down to cigarette billboards dwarfing Times Square. Day scenes are overcast, and night scenes are swathed in dark blues, thick fog, and pitch black--IT LOOKS AWESOME! The cast also look their parts, but they never gel because the whole thing's cardboard. Baldwin tries, but his creepy laugh always sounds forced, like he's posing for the camera without understanding the Shadow's psychopathy. More successful is villain Shiwan Khan, a terrorist descendant of Genghis Khan who wants to blow up NYC because he thinks it's his Heaven-sent imperative. (9/11, anyone?) Their showdown should be more thrilling than it is, but then, we're in 1990s territory, when comic book films were made for children taken to theaters by parents who thought that costumed stuff was nonsense. Sad to say, at times THE SHADOW is outright nonsense--on the level of 1997's BATMAN & ROBIN.

Imagine Heath Ledger's Joker fighting crime instead of fomenting it...THEN you'd get a basic idea how intense this could have been. He's a morally provocative figure because he asks us to condone "Dirty Harry" fascism and mocks audiences for thinking the human race can ever be noble or good. In 1994, Hollywood must've been discomfited by that notion, because here, when the Shadow chuckles with malevolent glee and drafts innocent bystanders into his clandestine war on crime, it's silly, not disturbing like it should be. Ah, well. If you want a sampler, "YouTube" the bridge scene where the Shadow makes mincemeat of a mobster, then turn it off and imagine the rest of the film in your head. It's better than the flawed spectacle that follows.
February 6, 2016
Ok but could be better, took itself too seriously.
½ February 5, 2016
2 1/2 ud af 5 skygger. Fjollet eventyrfilm, der bygger på de klassiske pulpromaner og radioshows og absolut ikke skal tages alvorligt. Latterligt plot, men flot art deco-scenografi.
January 26, 2016
The Shadow (1994)

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows. Some of us know Lamont Cranston from the re-broadcast radio programs from the last century. When in Mongolia/China, Lamont learned his psychic powers and the ability to cloud men's minds to fight crime. Lamont has a shadowy past when he was truly evil, so he knows.

Despite this being a favorite radio, pulp, and comic book character, this movie showed a lot of promise. However, this movie didn't really take off like many of the other superhero movies did. Please don't let the spilled popcorn or the rotten tomato scare you away from this movie.

I thought it was a good movie with some fantastic actors and special effects. The 1930's look and feel was excellent. Lamont's girlfriend, Margo Lane (Penelope Ann Miller) was super hot, especially with those silky, backless gowns. This movie was back when Alec Baldwin was very handsome.

Lamont's nemesis is Shiwan Khan (John Lone), a descendant of Genghis Khan, and remembers Lamont when he was Ying-Ko (Eagles Beak), and opium smuggler and warlord before he was kidnapped and changed by the mysterious Tulku (Brady Tsurutani) who gave Lamont those powers and caused him to use those powers for good.

The movie is tung in cheek and doesn't take itself too seriously, and is filled with some nice humor, not without the help of Jonathan Winters as Wainwright Cranston.
December 22, 2015
one of bad superhero movie i ever watched
½ October 1, 2015
I first garnered a bit of interest in this film due to hit Movie Serial called the Shadow made in 1994, but this really is just Hollywood Hogwash.

Based incredibly loosely on the serial, but more of a vehicle for early CGI & Special Effects.

It's fun to a degree & easy watching but to me didn't capture the essence of the serial. Penelope Ann Miller wasn't too bad as the dame. Will appeal more to children most probably.
½ August 31, 2015
Not bad
Cool SFx for the time, although it looses it's pacing in the second half

Worth a look
½ August 28, 2015
Great movie. People are crazy. It was an 80s summer blockbuster that was swanky.
½ July 22, 2015
Underrated, very entertaining!
½ June 5, 2015
Alec Balswin's character reminds you of Bruce Wayne/Batman, except completely uninteresting.
May 4, 2015
One of the most cheesiest superhero movies ever made on every level
Super Reviewer
April 25, 2015
Good looking, undoubtably, as a mysterious hero with mysterious powers fights against an ancient evil, but the delivery is a tad watery, and so this should have been first in a series was ultimately dropped. Too bad.
½ April 21, 2015
A throwback to yesteryear,they should have thrown this script away and started over.
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