“Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings” is currently out right now. Critics, fans and movie goers alike praise the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU for short.
As a Marvel fan, I’ve never heard of Shang-Chi, until now. He’s been around since The 70s. Prior to his cinematic debut, he hasn’t appeared in cartoons and video game crossovers like the “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance” series. Back in The 90s, Bruce Lee’s late son Brandon, was originally gonna star as Shang-Chi, but the project was shelved after his accidental death on the set of “The Crow.” At least they’re together sparing in Heaven. I consider The Crow as the first superhero movie to star an Asian actor before Simu Liu followed in Brandon‘s footsteps fulfilling his legacy bringing the character on the big screen.
As you may know, the MCU’s upcoming installments including “Eternals” & “Spider-Man No Way Home” will be released this Thanksgiving & Christmas. Sony’s overdue Venom sequel “Let There Be Carnage” set outside the MCU is slated to come out on October.
Today’s review contains no SPOILERS. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article. Is Shang-Chi another home run for Marvel? Let’s find out shall we?
Powerful & Weak Aspects
Powerful: Simu Liu did a fantastic job for his performance as the titular character. Simu is actually a skilled martial artist in real life.
Newcomers to the MCU such as Awkwafina, (one of my favorite actresses) Tony Leung, & Michelle Yeoh all did a fantastic job for their respective performances.
Fun Fact: Both Awkwafina & Michelle both collaborated in “Crazy Rich Asians.” Their fellow co-star Gemma Chan was in “Captain Marvel,” she will also be in Eternals. By the way, Michelle was also in “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.”
Destin Daniel Cretten (The Glass Castle) did a great job directing.
Action Sequences are spectacular taking cues from “The Matrix Trilogy” & “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.” Simu and a team of stunt people choreographed fight scenes.
Speaking of The Matrix Trilogy, Bill Pope shot the movie perfectly. He’s got experience working with The Wachowskis. He also shot “Spider-Man 2.” I’ll have you know Bullet Time (slow motion) is often used effectively.
Besides The Matrix Trilogy & Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Shang-Chi is inspired by the “Ip Man” series, “Kung Fu Hustle,” Bruce Lee, Jet Li & Jackie Chan.
Visual Effects are flawlessly beautiful to look at. They don’t seem fake at all.
Humor has some decent jokes. Particularly from Awkwafina’s character Katy. Like her role as Peik Lin Goh from Crazy Rich Asians, she still the show yet earns Bonus Points for making me laugh.
Chemistry between Shang-Chi & Katy felt authentic. They have a close friendship pushing the story forward.
Soundtrack has some catchy instrumentals heavily taking Asian’s music culture.
For the first time, The Mandarin (Tony Stark’s archenemy from the comics) makes his actual debut in the MCU. Ben Kingsley played a decoy in “Iron Man 3.” It’s a shame Tony Stark can’t fight him, due to the events of “Endgame.”
Remember that bus scene from the previews? It reminds me of “Speed.”
The Ten Rings play a pivotal role. They were first introduce in the first Iron Man movie.
Dragons are a recurring motif. I find it hilarious that Awkwafina voiced Sisu from “Raya And The Last Dragon.”
We learn about Shang-Chi’s past on how he became a kung-fu fighter.
Benedict Wong reprises his role as Dr. Strange’s sidekick Wong.
Ben Kingsley reprises his role as Trevor Slattery from “Iron Man 3.”
Tim Roth reprises his role as Emil Blonsky/The Abomination from “The Incredible Hulk.” Unlike the aforementioned film, Abomination retains his pointy ears and shorts from the comics. He will return in “She-Hulk” on Disney Plus.
Stay tune for a Mid-Credits Scene & Post Credits Scene. They set up the future of the MCU.
Weak: Without giving anything away, one character becomes unrealistically becomes a professional. Doesn’t make any logical sense. If this were real life, it would take months or years for an individual to master a talent.
The Final Verdict: A-
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings managed to knock it out of the park. So far, this is the best Marvel movie of the year. If you have no plans, get off your butt and support the MCU. If you haven’t seen Black Widow, don’t forget to check out Scarjo’s overdue solo movie. Who knows if Spider-Man: No Way Home could surpass Shang-Chi. We shall see if the expectations are surpassed. As of September 2021, the MCU hasn’t lost any fuel. I can’t wait to see No Way Home. Which upcoming Marvel movie are you excited about the most? Please leave a comment.