Shang-Chi is next for me and I couldn’t be happier about that. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings to be precise. But yeah. It’s the 25th entry in the MCU and a movie that follows the first solo female superhero movie. The Black Widow of course. You can check out my review of the Black Widow here. I didn’t really like Black Widow though… But Shang-Chi… It’s a rather different story. Let me just back up a little.
Shang-Chi, Marvel And IndieGala
Now, we don’t specifically have Shang-Chi- the video game in our vault…. But we have some cool Marvel video games. And also plenty of Disney video games. You know… Because Disney owns Marvel. So, perhaps you’d like to visit our Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. You can do that here. Or how about ULTIMATE MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3? Yeah, it’s available for purchase here as well. But what about the Disney games? Well, you can pick and choose your favorite here. Regardless if your favorite is Disney’s Tangled (available here) or Disney’s Bolt (here). We have over 40 Disney titles so we’re certain you can find something cool for you. And don’t even get me started on Star Wars. There are over 30 Star Wars games in our vault. Choose the best one for you here and enjoy.
But let me get back to the main topic of this article. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Is it good? School down to find out. But first…
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: What’s It All About?
Well, it’s mostly about Shang-Chi. Played by Simu Liu, Shang Chi was trained by his father to be an assassin. And just who his father is? Well, none other than Wenwu (Tony Leung) of course. And Wenwu is in possession of the 10 rings. Powerful rings that which gave him immortality and malevolent superpowers. But for a brief period of time he gave them up, and sadly that moment of weakness cost him the life of his beloved wife Li (Fala Chen).
Things went downhill for the family from that moment on. Shang Chi subsequently left China to forge a new life in the US. While his sister Xu Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) operates an underground Fight Club-like nightclub in Macao. The two of them are gonna be reunited fairly quickly though. Once they find out that their dad is aiming to burn to the ground their mom’s mystical village. However, they’ll get plenty of help along the way, and they’ll try and stop their father’s evil plans. It won’t be an easy task but, hey… Easy tasks are rarely interesting.
And Is Shang-Chi Interesting?
For the most part yes. It’s a fairly decent movie I must say, but I did find faults here as well. Hey… It’s far from perfect it’s all I’m saying. But let me start from the good. First and foremost I liked that there’s no worldly threat from the main villain. For the most part, the Earth or the Universe for that matter is not at stake here (unlike most Marvel movies) and things are contained tightly within one family feud.
Secondly, I don’t think that there’s a decent villain (or a baddie here). Well, not in the traditional MCU sense anyway. Over here the Mandarin’s motives (yes the OG Mandarine) are fairly simple. They’re based on emotions and at one point, he’s even sympathetic even. Halfway through I was rooting for him, which is odd. But I suppose that’s mostly because I ADORE Tony Leung. Seriously. I’ve been a fan of Tony since I saw him in Hard Boiled. But yeah.
The casting of Tony Leung is probably the best casting decision since Tom Hiddleston’s pick in the role of Loki. He’s bursting with charisma, and his natural charm/talent/fighting skills are just breathtaking. For a man who primarily acts with his eyes, and utilizes his talent later, I hope Marvel knows what they got with Tony Leung in this movie. Tony Leung gives an outstanding performance here, and it’s a joy to watch every single scene that he’s in.
Watch Out For The Mandarin… Pardon Trevor!
Simu Liu is fine in the lead role, but not all of the other casting choices are fine as well… I’m talking about Awkwafina in the role of Katy (Shang Chi’s BFF) and of course. And yes. The one and only… Ben Kingsley in the role of Trevor Slattery. Do you remember Trevor? From Iron Man 3? Well, he’s back and along with Awkwafina, both serve as comedic relief in the movie.
One does a better job than the other. But most of the lighter tones of the movie come from these two. Frankly, I didn’t like Trevor back in 2013 and I don’t like him now. Instead of spending so much air-time on Trevor, they could have easily give Razor Fist a must bigger role. I mean come on! That’s one of the most iconic Marvel villains and his presence is minuscule here. For shame Marvel. For shame!
Xu Xialing was also ignored and I’m also pissed about that too. I mean she shares much of the history with Shang Chi and her background would have been interesting to explore. But noooo. Marvel just uses her as a prop here. Deep sigh. Moving on.
Great Fight Scenes, Not So Great CGI
Oh man, the fight scenes. I can’t really pick which one is better now can I? The introductory one with Tony Leung and Fala Chen? Or the one in the bus with Shang Chi and Wenwu’s henchmen? How about the scaffolding fight in Macao? Yeah, there’s no shortage of great fight scenes in Shang-Chi and you can see the influence in pretty much all of them.
The nod to the 80’s Jackie Chan movies is evident and so is a whiff of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon/Hero as well. There’s so much to find here when it comes to cinematic storytelling. John Whoo’s classic style is there as well, and I love that. And there’s even a hint of Roger Deakin’s cinematography (most notably from Skyfall). I picked it up in the scene when Shang-Chi is fighting the Death Dealer. Another ignored character I might add. Much like Razor Fist, the Death Dealer deserved a bigger role in this movie.
But when it comes to the SGI, not everything is so great. I can find most fault in the third act when it’s actually the most obvious. You know, when Shang-Chi, Xu Xialing and the rest of the gang are in Ta Lo. But for the most part, they’re good. Add to this the steady and confident direction from Destin Daniel Cretton, and Marvel has given us a pretty flawed but enjoyable movie.
Shang-Chi Is Enjoyable And Fairly Decent
It’s an intimate story about one bereaved family. Torn apart by loss and tragedy. The movie deals with loss in various ways. But it also touches on topics like legacy, and disobedience. And defying family expectations and choosing a different path than the one that’s set up for us. Nice change of pace from the grandiose life or death themes in most MCU movies. But I’m also eager to find out. Did you like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as well? Let us know in the comment section. We’d love to know all about your movie impressions.