The Shadow and Batman Begins:
A Movie Comparison

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Okay, we've all heard the story: The Shadow was the inspiration for Batman. But who knew the 1994 Shadow movie would be referenced in the 2005 Batman movie?

It all began when I first saw the teaser trailer for "Batman Begins", and lo and behold, this appeared:

My jaw dropped. "That's just like the Shadow movie!"

Several online clips, trailers, and two viewings of the movie later, I was convinced this was not a coincidence. So on a whim, I decided to do a scene-by-scene comparison following the storyline of the 1994 movie — mainly focusing on scenes and plotlines that are almost similar. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, this is quite a tribute. And one that I'm happy to watch again and again.

Feel free to judge for yourself.

(Note: "Batman Begins" is copyright of Warner Bros.)

As noted in the Print Tidbits section:
Comics Scene #49 (November 1992)
David Goyer noted that he wrote a screenplay for Doctor Strange in the 1990's. He noted that he wanted to follow the origin storyline -- a selfish, acquisitive man gets redeemed when going to Tibet and studying under a mystic. Then The Shadow came out in 1994 which featured a similar origin. "Batman Begins" also featured a somewhat similar origin (although Wayne was self-absorbed, he was not really acquisitive) -- and it was written by David Goyer!

Click on each picture for a larger image

Far Eastern Beginnings
We begin in Tibet (okay, they filmed this in the United States, but let's pretend) We begin in China, somewhere near the Tibetan border (okay, they filmed this in Iceland, but let's pretend)


In Dreams

The Tulku appears —
a sign of what Lamont will become
Bruce's childhood trauma involving bats —
a sign of what he will become


Off to the Temple

Lamont makes the journey (unwillingly),
unsure of what he will find
Bruce makes the journey (willingly),
unsure of what he will find


The Temple in the Mountains
Temple of the Cobras HQ of the League of Shadows



My, what big doors you have...


What is it with bald Asian guys on thrones?

The Tulku Ra's al Ghul


First Attack in the Temple
Lamont vs. Phurba Bruce vs. Ducard


First Appearance

Who...where are you?!


Men in Tuxes
Gotta love a man in a suit....


On the town

At The Cobalt Club At a swanky Gotham hotel


The Playboy
Lucky with the ladies


How Long?
"...when you disappeared for some seven years." "You've been gone seven years."


Police Problems
"I'll put a task force on him." "Commissioner Loeb set up a
massive task force to catch you."


Nice House
Cranston Mansion
(French-style architecture)
Wayne Manor
(English-style architecture)


Meeting the Enemy on Your Territory
Shiwan Khan crashes the Sanctum Ducard/Ra's al Ghul crashes Wayne Manor


Bored Stiff
"You know somthing Lamont? It puzzles me how a man like yourself who has absolutely nothing to do, can be late for every little engagement." "Strange Injuries, a nonexistent social life. These things beg the question as to what exactly does Bruce Wayne do with his time and money."


By a Hand

Interrogating a Mongol warrior Interrogating a crooked cop


"You're The Shadow!" "Bruce?"


Hero's Vow
"...and besides, you know I'm gonna stop you." "I'm standing right here,
between you and the people of Gotham."


Running into Trouble... being trapped in a flooding tank being gassed with a psychotropic
weaponized hallucinogen then set on fire


Being Saved by Someone who Cares
By Margo By Alfred


Even heroes need to recover


Remembering the Past

Lamont's life of crime Bruce's life of crime


Nice Entrance (notice the stairs?)
At the Monolith Hotel At Arkham Asylum


Go Mad!

Driving Farley Claymore nuts Gassing the Scarecrow


Final Confrontation
"You're finished Khan!" "It ends here!"


It's not easy being a police commissioner....


Last Kiss
On the town On the ruins of Wayne Manor


Always be there...
"I'll know" "I never said thank you."
"And you'll never have to."

Other similarities and notes of interest not featured on this page:
  • Both received training in Asia
  • Both learned the art of invisibility (in different ways of course)
  • "The League of Shadows" (Hmm...)
  • Both have a secret hideout
  • Both have an elderly butler (but Bruce Wayne is closer to his)
  • Both have a similar theme song on their respective movie soundtracks. Have a listen to "Molossus" (Batman Begins), there's a short piece in there that sounds a bit like the theme in "The Poppy Fields" (The Shadow).

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