Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Film Review
by Katie McCann
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
If you have been following the development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) you probably already know that we are now deep in Phase 4. What does this mean? Well aside from saying goodbye to some fan favourites, we are now getting a bunch of new superheroes to fawn over and the first significant introduction comes in the form of Shang-Chi and the Legend of
the Ten Rings.
As you can probably guess this is an origin movie introducing us to a host of new characters and a hero coming into his own. While on the surface this seems like the same tired old formula (and in some ways it is) there is something truly refreshing about Shang-Chi that makes it a brilliant addition to the MCU.
Shaun (Simu Liu) is a young man living his life carefree and responsibility-free along with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina). They are working as valets by day and singing karaoke by night until they are ambushed on the way to work by the legendary and super badass army known as the Ten Rings. During the ensuing fight, Shaun reveals himself not to be the shy awkward guy that Katy has known him to be for the last ten years but instead that he is the son of the Ten Rings merciless leader and in fact a trained assassin. The time has come for Shaun or Shang-Chi to face his past and return home to his father and his destiny.
There are a number of things that set this movie apart from previous origin movies, the most impressive thing being its fight sequences. Most Marvel movies lay on the action pretty thick in a blur of bodies and moving parts but Shang-Chi is the first to make these sequences truly beautiful to watch. The use of martial arts is more reminiscent of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon than any Avenger movie and this elevates the film magnificently. Never before have I been longing for another fight sequence like I did in this film. Honestly, they are that cool. The leads are also wonderful and hugely charismatic, meaning you are really rooting for them throughout. There are also some great surprises in the film as well as a bit with a dragon and who doesn’t love a bit with a dragon!
Shang-Chi is a crowd-pleasing and superbly crafted film and above all else, a genuinely exciting addition to the MCU, showing that this phase is going to present us with a lot of variety and the cultural diversity that these films have been missing all along. If you love an action film and want something with a bit of heart and a lot of laughs this is absolutely a solid choice and bodes well for the future of Marvel.