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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Review

The second entry into MCU’s Phase 4 movies, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings expands the cinematic universe to a completely new setting and characters but with some familiarities. This is our first look at our first Asian superhero on the big screen. Canadian actor Simi Liu portrays Shang-Chi. The son of a powerful father who is forced to confront him into an epic battle to save humanity and resist the powers of the Ten Rings organisation.

The hype levels for us Marvel geeks to get four Marvel movies in one year has us salivating at the mouth. After experiencing the solid entry with Black Widow earlier in the summer, we have been hotly anticipating some fresh faces to be introduced to the MCU. Installing new characters and storylines is always a hard one, especially after the successful Avengers: Endgame back in 2019. A film that felt like the end of the journey for Marvel, but, with Kevin Feige’s bright mind at the top of Marvel, we get to continue to experience new stories and new characters. Shang-Chi isn’t one that we had at the top of our lists of most anticipated characters to be introduced. But once the film started rolling on the beautiful IMAX screens, it didn’t take long for us to be roped in and be fully engrossed in a new superhero. Even though our knowledge on the titular character was non-existent, the film itself doesn’t hang about in making you feel like you’ve been watching Shang-Chi for years and years.

Clearly inspired by the classic kung-fu movie Crouching, Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Shang-Chi delivers spectacle after spectacle of beautifully orchestrated choreography and wonderful wire work that was masterfully done by the 2000 movie above. Shang-Chi has the privilege to have the success of the MCU franchise behind it to really bring the character and storyline it deserves to life. Due to this, Marvel delivers us one of its strongest origin movies to date. Packed full of insane choreography that hasn’t been witnessed in the MCU, tremendous acting and writing by all, but most importantly, a brilliant vision by director Destin Daniel Cretton. Director of fantastic indie films such as Short Term 12 and Just Mercy, the Hawaiian director is another product of Marvel’s indie director turned blockbuster genius.

The ultimate star of the show is always going to be Simi Liu. The actor who has defined what it means by bursting onto the scene. The TV bit part actor turned Marvel leading actor is a true accomplishment. Alongside him, is the ever brilliant and hilarious Awkwafina. Her balance of genre acting is one to behold, and becomes what will be, an important character going forward for the MCU. A special shoutout goes out to Tony Chiu-Wai Leung who plays Xu Wenwu, Shang’s father. He delivers what is a fantastic rendition of good guy gone bad. His chemistry with Simi Liu in pivotal scenes help deliver gut wrenching lines that make you want to well up.

It’s no surprise that we have been well and truly sucked into another Marvel product. But it’s another example of how Marvel keeps on turning out the product and improving time in and time out. It’s a wonderful direction that it’s going in and we can only hope for more like Shang-Chi in the future.

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