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The Shadow (1994) - An Underrated Movie

The Shadow movie takes an aspect of Jungian archetypes and crystallizes it into a fictional superhero endowed with psychic and telekinetic powers. There are several other movies that deal with an identical concept such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Bruce Banner and the Hulk, and probably a few more. But none have been so literal with a psychoanalytic concept than The Shadow.

Plot of The Shadow

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who largely established analytical psychology and defined human personality as a composite of elements called archetypes. There is the Persona, the Anima/Animus, the Shadow, and the Self.

The Persona is the aspect of the personality familiar to society, the Anima/Animus is the feminine and the masculine, the Shadow is the darker, repressed part of the personality and the Self is the merging of the conscious and the unconscious giving rise to the identity of a person.

Alec Baldwin's performance is top-notch in this action flick along with Penelope Ann Miller as the damsel in distress and Ian McKellan as the damsel's dad. The parallel's between Batman and The Shadow are more than a few with the origin story of both the heroes being near-identical along with the fortunes with which they come equipped.

The plot of this movie is quite similar to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. The superhero has to take on the nihilistic supervillain from an ancient organization and stop a nuclear bomb from leveling the city.

The twist ending for how the villain is silenced for good is really interesting. Shiwan Khan, the apparent heir to Genghiz Khan's rule, plays a role similar to Ra's Al Ghul in Batman, except Ra's aimed at purging Gotham to pave way for a virtuous society. Shiwan's goals were purely of conquest and glory.

Why you should watch it?

Unlike other books and movies that dance around the concept of Ego and the Id or the Persona and the Shadow - This movie wastes no time in using metaphors and goes straight for the clinical term itself and turns the same into a superhero.

Alec Baldwin's performance is amazing in this flick and the special effects seem to be really good (for the time) - especially when it comes to the mind control scenes. The special effects remind me of another movie that probably met with better reception - Dark City

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