Yesterday, this column reviewed "Captain America: The First Avenger," a superhero film set in the 1940s. Captain America's garish costume puts him in the ranks of one of the most conspicuously garbed of all superheroes. If you want to see a superhero at the opposite end of the costume spectrum, consider the now 20-year-old film, "The Shadow." Whereas most superheroes stand out in any crowd, the Shadow's fighting clothes are not a whole lot different from those of any well-dressed businessman.
In "The Shadow," Lamont Cranston (played by Alec Baldwin) lives in New York City and has the ability to control people's minds. At night, he fights crime as a superhero called "The Shadow," who wears a black suit and carries two guns. Unlike most superheroes, he started out enthralled by the dark side, but tutelage in the far east resulted in his transformation into a force for good. When a descendent of Genghis Kahn named Shiwan Kahn (played by John Lone) arrives in the city, the Shadow is the only one who can stop him. Meanwhile, Lamont finds himself drawn to an attractive woman, Margo Lane (played by Penelope Ann Miller). Lamont's psychic abilities, his primary power, do not work with her.
"The Shadow" is directed by Russell Mulcahy. His film is visually stunning and has a great score. Also, it has a lot of action scenes, such as when the Shadow battle's Shiwan Kahn's men in a science lab.
Alec Baldwin is very good in the lead role. He makes a very intimidating superhero. John Lone is equally strong as the villain. Another good performance is by Penelope Ann Miller as Margo, who is very smart and has to work with Lamont.
"The Shadow" is a good choice for people intrigued by a film-noir style superhero.