The Shadow (1994)

CapeHalf a capeTent

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of crappy movies? Alec Baldwin knows! Mu hu ha ha he he he he ha ha haa....

Woops, it turns out The Shadow did not originate in a comic, but only passed through the comic medium, like Tarzan. In fact, the rights to Shadow comics passed through three different publishers. But what the heck, having put this in, I’ll leave it here.

This one has a lot of room for improvement. The friend I saw it with was shaking her head. Lack of sequels is no surprise here. A shame, because I’ve had a certain fondness for the Shadow character (a strange hook-nosed figure with “the power to cloud men’s minds”, making himself effectively invisible)... but I don’t know if they could have done a whole lot better without some Burtonesque genius to re-imagine it. Correction: yes they could have, just by casting someone other than Baldwin. (And yes, I know he’s been great occasionally, like in The Cooler. But here, he bears responsibility for making a weak movie weaker.) John Lone as the bad guy is cool, in smaller doses, and the movie does have a number of nice touches that help balance out the flaws. But the writing falls somewhat short of professional standards sometimes... Tim Curry’s character, for instance, flip-flops inexplicably between steely resourcefulness and gibbering cowardice.

But what does John Stanley say?

Alec Baldwin is enormously powerful as Cranston/The Shadow... totally satisfying adventure.