June 1, 2023

If You Liked That, You’ll Love This: The Shadow (1994)

Just like the “Because You Watched…” lane that pops up on your favorite streaming service, Now Playing Podcast wants to help you find the perfect companion flicks. Each week, contributor Chris Bravo brings you fresh recommends that tie in with one of our reviews.

For this week’s article, I tried to think of what the pilot of the 1990 TV series, The Flash, did right. It had a dark, almost film noir aesthetic, even though it was set in the modern world of the 1990s. It had a tight budget but used it extensively on special effects. It established a beloved superhero from the Golden Age of comics and modernized him for modern audiences. And despite everyone’s best efforts, it ultimately failed. I cannot think of any other movie that fits this description just as perfectly as The Flash series as The Shadow.

Imagine this opening scene–in a far-off opium den in Tibet, a long, purple-fingernail-donning drugged-out warlord Alec Baldwin is forced to atone for his crimes against the local populace and become a hero who uses his dark heart for good deeds by a Buddhist monk. Fast forward seven years, and Baldwin is now The Shadow, a dark hero who wields the power of invisibility and mind control to fight crime in 1930s New York City. Eventually, we meet the beautiful blonde bombshell, the last living descendant of Genghis Khan, and scientists Ian McKellen and Tim Curry building an atomic bomb. It’s a silly film that tries to toe the line between taking itself way too seriously and not seriously enough. And while it will never enter any superhero movie fan’s top tier of films–the film doesn’t have enough action for that–The Shadow really scratches that same itch that The Flash series tries to get at.

Leave a Reply