Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
BY JOSEPH MOORE STAFF WRITER
The best superhero movies draw the audience into a fantastical world and lets people escape for a few hours. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), does just that.
The film gives audiences a new corner of the MCU with fantastical settings, charismatic characters and new powers that work together to shape the next phase of the MCU.
Following the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” Marvel has shifted its focus to smaller character stories on Disney+ and in theaters. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” follows suit with that trend. At its roots, it’s a story about a broken family and the struggles each member goes through to find their way.
The film follows Marvel newcomer Simu Liu as the martial arts superhero, Shang Chi. At the opening of the film, Shang-Chi is living in San Francisco working as a valet with his best friend, Katy, played by the wonderful Awkwafina.
Shang-Chi’s troubled past as the son of Wenwu — the leader of the underground organization “The Ten Rings” — quickly catches up to him. As his dad tries to track him down, he is forced to undergo an adventure to save the world from the powers Wenwu is trying to unleash.
Liu is charismatic as Marvel’s newest leading man. In his first outing, he checks all the boxes: funny, witty and kicks some serious butt.
The duo of Liu and Awkwafina as best friends works together so wonderfully. Their interactions are full of heart and it makes them a joy to watch. I can’t wait to watch them appear in their next project and see where they go from here.
The film’s casting of acting legend Tony Leung as Wenwu was brilliant. Leung’s performance gives gravitas to the film’s family drama, keeping the audience emotionally invested. Leung is instantly a top-tier Marvel villain, alongside the likes of Thanos, Loki and Killmonger.
When discussing the film, it is essential to bring up Meng’er Zhang’s performance. She absolutely kills it in her debut role as Shang’s sister. Her fight choreography is standout and rivals some of the sequences Shang gets.
One thing that can’t be forgotten is the introduction of Ta Lo as a setting. It is instantly iconic as a setting in the MCU, with Asian mythological influences that make the secret forest feel alive and magical. It’s filled with magical creatures and gorgeous architecture which make it a joy to experience.
The fight scenes in the film are phenomenal. In particular, the showdown on the side of a skyscraper is a showstopper. The sequence works the best when it shows Shang’s directional movement as he kicks, rolls and swings his way through bad guys, all while he tries to maintain his balance on the scaffolding of the building. It is simply breathtaking.
The film is a fantastic introduction to some of the MCU’s newest characters, and a wonderful addition to the universe. I am eagerly waiting for when Shang-Chi and the rest of the crew will return.