In an alternate 1985 where former superheroes exist, the murder of a colleague sends active vigilante Rorschach into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it.
Jackie Earle Haley,
A marksman living in exile is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the president. Ultimately double-crossed and framed for the attempt, he goes on the run to track the real killer and find out who exactly set him up, and why.
Based on the 1930's pulp fiction and radio drama series, the film pits the hero against his arch enemy, Shiwan Khan, who plans to take over the world by holding a city ransom using an atom bomb. Using his powers of invisibility and "The power to cloud men's minds", the Shadow comes blazing to the city's rescue with explosive results. Written by
Michael Ross <M.I.Rossfirstname.lastname@example.org>
The silver coffin of Temujin is from The Masters of Death, the fourth Shadow pulp story to deal with Shiwan Khan, while the cigarette billboard that broadcasts Khan's commands comes from The Golden Master. See more »
The wire insulation on the bomb is modern day plastics not the correct cloth type for the day, and the nylon wire ties wouldn't be invented for another 30 years or so. See more »
I don't really understand the bad rep this movie has gotten. Sure, its not "high art" (then again, Shakespeare, Dickens and Herodetus weren't meant to be, or perceived as, high art when they were written). What The Shadow was, and remains, in my eyes, is one of the best super-hero adaptations ever (the best until X-Men came out, in my opinion).
I'm not terribly familiar with the old radio drama Shadow, so I can't speak as to the details, but the feeling, the essence of the movie fits with what I've experienced. Much more importantly, it stand out well on its own.
Special effects play a major part, but are not of the over-played. Action is well done, and acting is acceptable, though rarely outstanding (the Shadow's cabbie Shrebnitz is an engrossing exception).
What really makes this movie stand out is the layering. Plots, characters, backgrounds, all are complex. The movie's basic plot is well-paced, occasionally a bit slow, but it makes up for it with the incredible wealth of details it packs in. Watching the movie, one gets the sense of an incredible amount of backstory for each character (little things, like the family life of some of the Shadow's agents, barely glimpsed, or even just the complex web of those agents across the city), or that around the corner there lies a world to explore.
This movie can be difficult to classify, which may lead to its unpopularity. Clearly its not a drama, not is it a comedy, nor even entirely an action. Scifi or fantasy are both possible descriptions, but they fail. The Shadow is comicbook style, in the truest sense of the genre. Complex characters, pull-pounding action, some jokes, some drama...it all mixes together. If you can get a bead on the style, its a very enjoyable movie, far ahead of most other super-hero films (Superman, Batman, the Phantom, etc.)
I recommend watching it, but only with an open mind.
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