A superhero who comes from a marginalized ethnic group. Check. Make the story’s foundation non-white. Check. Have a terrible history to your character. All of these are confirmed. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is Phase 4’s Black Panther.
Shang-Chi, played by Simu Liu, is a critical element of a shattered family with a history of internal strife. Shang-Chi, a laid-back valet at a posh hotel. He is the poster kid for lazy, uninspired youngsters, alongside his pal Katy, the hilarious Awkwafina.
The duo is somewhat satisfied with their relatively mundane lives. The only pleasure in their lives is taking fancy automobiles for a joyride. When Shang-history Chi’s past (or papa) comes calling, he is startled into a reality check. All of this culminates in a wonderfully choreographed battle scenario on a moving bus.
Shang Chi fights head-to-head with a “Romanian giant that has a razor blade for something like an arm in this epic battle. From then, it just gets bigger. This movie falls into the Marvel universe in its own style, but it has a tremendous amount of heart that future MCU films, superhero films, and action films in total should learn from.
The action is fresh
Shang-Chi’s transformations are more extreme than those of other Marvel Cinematic Universe characters. The combat scenes, at their best, mess with visual perceptions in a manner that are highly reminiscent of some of the best contemporary Chinese films.
Another scenario finds that the construction catwalks on the side of a building are remarkable to flip across wooden planks. Fly on many floors and beat the pulp out of everything moving; it’s a scene that pays homage to the likes of Stephen Chow in both comedy and bombast. Several moments in these well-cut scenes make me cheer and move in my spot.
Rather than blatantly ripping from everything Bruce Lee, the drama alternates between traditional Chinese martial arts and traditional sorcery. It’s a collection of mystical rings with unexplained abilities that should be worn five on each arm. The film’s huge, final fight, which erupts owing to a chaotic ring-on-ring brawl fireworks display, isn’t even included on the list.
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The very merry CGI
This film has the most dominant use of CGI, especially to make dark clouds for the final combat scene. You can’t help but cheer for it because it’s such an over-the-top, euphoric emotional trip. Although, the CGI on the land of Ta Lo was very artificial-looking. Brilliant lights and extra vivid colours make it look unreal (I mean, it is, but still).
Water usage is expressive; it erupts from surfaces, lingers in the air, and forms a crystalline mapping—a stunning method to show a moment that a hologram would typically represent. There’s even an adorable animated sidekick in the movie. The script deserves a shout-out for subverting the assumptions of lovely heads on plush-looking supporting characters.
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Spirituality, Family and life
A family is the focus of this film. Mistakes the father made, fight the mother fought, responsibilities the kids don’t want to take. Everything. And, as chaotic as this home is, the film has some beautiful things to say about that as well. The mother-son relationship is endearing and honest. The pain the little sister feels about being abandoned by Shang Chi is evident.
In a flashback, we witness how Shang-father, Chi’s Wenwu, met Shang-mother, Chi’s Jiang Li, and how their connection catalyzed positive change for a while. The title of the film suggests that we’re about to enter a magical realm.
There’s a lot of magic going on, and you hear a lot about “divinities” and individuals with god-like abilities. The abilities displayed here by various mortal heroes frequently appear to act as a bridge between very competent martial artists and the control of mass and force.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings movie urges Shang-Chi to accept both the good and the evil parts of himself, hinting at yin-yang polarity. Some gestures appear to be able to control the very air, very Airbender types. The rings alone, of course, are pretty unique. People also express their belief in ghosts and everlasting souls.
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The friendship is refreshing
The storyline is bound together by Shaun and Katy’s relationship, and it’s nice and already established as friends. It makes sense to see she sticks by his side even after knowing about his secret existence.
Their bond also allows them to parkour across scaffolding in an exciting moment. Even navigate a bus around the steep streets of San Francisco (I actually thought I was witnessing the speed at this point).
Both of our protagonists are equally talented, making them a powerful duo capable of handling everything the MCU has to throw at them, which it does in spades in their first appearance. Even though Awkwafina is here to provide comedic relief, her workload is minimal, and her character receives a development benefit after the film.
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Wenwu is brilliant
However, the strength of this cinematic piece is Shang Chi’s father, Wenwu. Chiu-Wai Leung brings his renowned screen expertise to work as among the most hypnotizing characters ever seen in a modern Marvel picture.
The title “Villain” does not do honour to his work. One of the film’s most clever selections, capable of reproducing the same enchantment he’s had in numerous Hong Kong comedies and dramas. This film belongs to Leung.
Leung’s portrayal of the warlord with the steady burn of a parent to whom nothing will ever be good enough. He exudes an unmistakably disdainful air that his co-stars gorge themselves on. Leung kills armies, builds a family, and battles terrible despair. His presence is amplified by the ten blue rings that allow him to catapult and smash everything that stands in his way.
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See it or Skip it?
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings feature the finest action scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. Something that is quite expected given the family history of our protagonist. Wenwu is one of Marvel’s most appealing and complicated antagonists, pitting him against his kids due to his mistaken (but not misplaced) acts.
Shang Chi is yet another child of MCU who refuses to take on the responsibilities that he should (I am looking at you, Star Lard). Overall, it’s a surprising action spectacular that pays homage to the culture it depicts. Extra credit to the writers for incorporating foreign language into the narrative, as it should have been. It was fantastic, watch it in cinemas near you today.
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