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    Custom Title jon-el87's Avatar
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    May 08

    The Shadow (1994)

    The two top grossing films of 1994 were The Lion King and Forrest Gump. When a film gets released a week after The Lion King and a week before Forrest Gump, the two other movies were likely to devour it.

    Sam Raimi had attempted to acquire the rights to pulp hero The Shadow in the 1980s, but failed. It set Raimi down the path of creating his own, original, superhero in Darkman (1990). But that's a discussion suitable for another topic (I also haven't seen Darkman in ages, so I don't want to comment too much on it). Of course, Darkman wasn't the first superhero to be inspired by The Shadow. Batman, for instance, was a blatant rip-off of The Shadow. Ironically, if a Shadow movie got made today, a lot of people (unfamiliar with the character) would probably accuse The Shadow of ripping off Batman.

    On a Batman-related note, if I had to pick between hanging out in the Batcave or the Shadow's sanctum (as depicted in this movie), I'd pick the Sanctum. It looks more comfortable. The Batcave is... a cave with bats flying around. So, it might be moist and have bat poop on everything.

    Four years after Darkman, a Shadow movie was finally made starring Alec Baldwin and directed by Highlander (1986) director Russell Mulcahy. Rewatched it yesterday, and quite like it. Liked Baldwin's performance. Though, having listened to a lot of episodes of the old radio show, I'm used to The Shadow having the voice of Orson Welles.

    Quite liked Margo Lane and her interactions with Lamont Cranston (Baldwin). Left rather impressed, when you compare her character to the female main character, in many other superhero movies of this era (and well into a decade after). Vicki Vale in Batman (1989) was a love interest, who served as a damsel in distress during the climax. Julie in Darkman (1990) was a love interest, who gets kidnapped by the villains and serves as damsel in distress during the climax. Dr. Chase Meridian in Batman Forever (1995) was a love interest, who gets kidnapped by the villains and serves as damsel in distress during the climax (she's a psychiatrist, but seems more interested in banging Batman).

    Mary Jane Watson in the three Spider-Man movies made between 2002 and 2007, was always the love interest who gets kidnapped by the villains and serves as damsel in distress in the climax (among other places). Considering the handling of Mary Jane Watson and Julie Hastings, it was probably for the best that Raimi didn't end up making a Shadow movie (though, if I'm not mistaken, he's acquired the rights since). Otherwise, the climax might've had Shiwan Khan hold Margo prisoner, reducing her to a damsel in distress, for the climax.*

    Instead, the film allows Margo to be a partner of the Shadow. Even allowing her to possess mental powers of her own, that allows her to be alerted to him being in danger (and recue him). Sure, she is briefly hypnotized (not in the climax) by Shiwan Khan (but so is a lot of people), but quickly snaps out of it. Lamont tries to use hypnosis on her, but fails. Suggesting that, while she could briefly be hypnotized by the more powerful Shiwan, Margo's own mental powers might be stronger than the Shadow's. She also sets herself up as Lamont's partner. He wants to send her home, but she stands up for herself. She doesn't care what he thinks, she's taking part of it. And, [SPOILER]while the Shadow is the one who defeats Shiwan Kahn, she gets to be proactive and in charge of the attempt to deactivate the atomic bomb (saving all of New York City).[/SPOILER]

    In a side-note, I liked the wardrobe that they gave her.

    Ian McKellen plays Margo's father, in his first role, in this genre. He returned six years later, to more famously play Magneto.

    * Wouldn't surprise me, if we got something like that, in Raimi's upcoming Multiverse of Madness.
    Last edited by jon-el87; 11-07-2020 at 12:46 PM.


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