Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 2021 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Writers: Dave Callaham(screenplay by), Destin Daniel Cretton(screenplay by), Andrew Lanham(screenplay by)
Stars: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung
Marvel is back again with its latest cinematic entry, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”. Based on a character from Marvel comics, Shang-Chi isn’t a character that has gotten a lot of exposure until now. Even comic readers like me who’ve read stories on Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, and even Ant-Man don’t really know a lot about this character. Despite this, I am open to different characters getting their chance in the spotlight as there seems to be a lot of potential that can be done with this premise. He’s a Chinese martial artist in a world filled with dragons, assassins, and a style that feels distinct to this universe.
The film centers on Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), who lives in San Francisco with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina). However, their lives are interrupted when a group of assassins from the organization Ten Rings, find Shang-Chi who is revealed to be an expert martial artist who left behind his life as an assassin long ago. Forced to confront his past, Shang-Chi has to locate his sister Xialing, as they are both confronted by the leader of the Ten Rings, their father Xu Wenwu (who is identified as the true Mandarin in this universe). From here we go from bus fights to family dilemmas, to conflicts that add a lot of dimension to this story.
As someone who loves martial arts and films that are willing to go above the status quo and do something different, I am happy to say I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. You can tell that the creators put a lot of effort into giving us a story that deviates from the Marvel formula, while still remaining faithful to its roots. It is common knowledge that there are a ton of Marvel movies. While a lot of them are very entertaining, I can probably count on one hand a number of films that legitimately outright astounded me. Some of it does come down to how certain elements like the CG action scenes or even their stock villains. Thankfully, with Shang-Chi we get something that not only has a lot of character but also introduces this world and style that you can easily see playing a part in this universe.
First off, the action is phenomenal! Not since “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” have I seen such great physical fight scenes in a Marvel movie. I’m not talking about the ones revolving around CG, but the scenes when the actors are on set doing these impressive moves with really inventive fight choreography. The first fight scene on the bus alone is worth the price of admission. These scenes felt very reminiscent of classic martial arts films involving Jet Lee and Jackie Chan. The actors do a fantastic job performing these stunts in these creative locations. They’re also well shot so you can see everything. It isn’t just quick shots of people dueling each other, but these well-laid-out shots are done in a way that makes you feel like you’re in the moment. While there are some moments that do feel a bit outlandish where you have people flying or falling off buildings, it works because it feels like you’re watching a comic book fight scene come to life.
The cast, much like in a lot of Marvel productions, is also top-notch. Simu Liu in his first starring role is one of the biggest standouts. He’s cool, has an interesting character, and gets across a lot of emotion. I can already tell that this guy is going to be a superstar. Awkwafina is also really good as she brings a lot of heart and humor to the film. Meng’er Zhang has a lot of awesome scenes and even a character who I can’t wait to see more of in the future. I even greatly enjoyed Tony Leung as Xu Wenwu. I understand this is Marvel’s apology to fans after the fake Mandarin in “Iron Man 3”. So to see this character be brought to the big screen with a big name actor behind him was something I was excited to see. I was also surprised with how they manage to add history and depth to a character who most people would write off as another villain. It’s obvious that Marvel has been doing a lot of villains with relatable motivations in the past years, but this one surprised me with how it got me to care about this character. While he’s built up to be the main antagonist of the film, when you see his relationship with his family and what his motivations are, it becomes clear that the conflict is a lot more personal than people would have expected.