Based on the radio drama from many years past, The Shadow is the nineties resurrection of the depression days character that fought for good. The movie opens in Tibet with a wicked man who is forced to reform his life into something good. He is sent to what is called, "that most wretched lair of villainy we know as New York City." Here he becomes The Shadow, a dark underworld figure that fights crime through a network of people he has saved from the clutches of evil.
Superheroes of the nineties certainly have a different outlook on life. The clean-cut Superman with his conservative Lois would look like a grade school bully in this movie. If you have sentimental memories of The Shadow from the radio days, you're in for a shock. Back then, each person saw the images in their mind, using their own experience. Now a director makes those decisions for you, and your children will see things the literally could have never imagined.
The sets and surrounding environment in The Shadow are impressive. The movie has a definite dark tone, a style termed as "film noir" in the industry. But visually striking or not, parents must question movies like The Shadow or The Mask (another new style of superhero), and determine if these are characters we want our children to emulate. It seems that fighting evil can justify any amount of violence and a dose of sexual innuendo is thrown in for extra interest.
The Shadow is appropriately rated PG-13, and parents would be wise to heed that classification. Overall, I think we can present a better hero than a Mafia clone that enjoys smoking, drinking, and has women falling over him. Funny that in these days of sophisticated women we still see the female sex portrayed in such an unrealistic fashion. After all, even in the Superman days Lois always ruled the roost when Clark was around.