Much like Batman, The Shadow possessed many mental and physical skills to rely on in his campaign against crime. A genius intellect paired with impressive deductive skills allowed The Shadow (whose most persistent alter-egos were pilot Kent Allard and rich playboy Lamont Cranston) to outthink his foes, sometimes by the use of elaborate disguises.
The Shadow's Olympic-level physical prowess enabled him to perform acrobatic feats of strength and stealth. Unlike Batman, however, The Shadow (in his film and radio adventures, but not the magazine or prose tales) had an extrasensory skill that set him apart: learned from his travels through Asia, The Shadow had gained the ability to "cloud men's minds" through hypnosis, giving him a great advantage in a fight.
The Shadow has enjoyed a robust career in live action as well. His first appearance onscreen was in a series of six short films beginning in 1931 and featuring a rotating roster of actors as the man in the hat and cloak.
In 1937 The Shadow received his first feature-length film, The Shadow Strikes, starring Rod La Rocque. It was followed by a sequel, International Crime, the next year. The series didn't continue beyond those two films, but in 1940 The Shadow (much like Batman and many of his heroic brethren) scared up a 15-installment serial that invaded theaters starring Victor Jory.
This attempt featured a slightly more fantastical approach, featuring a villain called the Black Tiger spreading terror and mayhem. The Shadow himself also wore a covering over his lower face, which was not part of the costume in the earlier two films.
After the serial, three more low-budget films were produced that rebooted the character with a new actor (Kane Richmond) and a modified costume: The Shadow Returns, Behind the Mask and The Missing Lady.
After a rejected television pilot for The Shadow was converted into the theatrical release Invisible Avenger in 1958, the character sat on the silver screen sidelines for decades.
Until 1994, that is, when a major motion picture was released starring Alec Baldwin in the title role, supported by Penelope Ann Miller, John Lone, Ian McKellan, Tim Curry, Peter Boyle and even Jonathan Winters.
Baldwin's Shadow was pitted against Lone's Shiwan Khan, the only descendant of Genghis Khan, aiming to complete his ancestor's dream of conquering the world by force. The film was one of a small group of "pulp hero" update films conceived and released after the success of Tim Burton's Batman that also included The Mask/Legend of Zorro, The Phantom and Dick Tracy.
Following a brief flirtation with a new film from Sam Raimi in the mid-2000's (whose own Darkman was itself an alternative to the Shadow film Raimi was unable to get the rights to make), The Shadow has been absent from live action adventures, though he is thriving in the comic world with adventures overseen by talents such as Garth Ennis and Alex Ross.
A rebooted film franchise for The Shadow has been rumored on and off, but who knows when audiences will see the mysterious crusader on screen again?