After 7 years away Lamont Cranston/The Shadow returns to New York City and battles against his nemesis, Shiwan Khan, who plans to detonate an atomic bomb.
Sharing many similarities with its comic book successor Batman, DC's The Shadow fairs better if viewed as a prototype/draft version of Bruce Wayne and Gotham City. Its a visually atmospheric film with quality makeup, sets and FX. The 'knife' effect holds up particularly well. Director Russell Mulcahy's hyper-real stylised 1930s gives the film an interesting feel with the sets and locations lavishly created.
The dialogue and action is at times campy yet in contrast dark and violent in places. Despite The Shadows' distracting theatrical laugh Alec Baldwin handles the mostly bland script and action setups well, shining wherever he can making the most of the witty quips.
Ian McKellen and Tim Curry are both sorely underused and the supporting cast are a mix of familiar film and TV faces including Peter Boyle.
It's not an awful film there's plenty to enjoy but it feels like an expensive, elaborate feature length screen test. The Shadow has all the ingredients but it's measured wrong and slightly over cooked with an underdeveloped mix of tones.
Overall it's comic book anti-hero, redemption fun that's sadly forgettable.