Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings review by Bobby Blakey
I love all things comic related, but there are two Marvel properties that I have been more excited about than anything that has come before. One being the upcoming Moon Knight Disney + series and the other being Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The film features Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Tony Leung as Wenwu, Awkwafina as Shang-Chi’s friend Katy and Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan, as well as Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, and Ronny Chieng. Could this latest entry into the MCU do the character justice or will it fail to find its chi?
Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings follows Shang-Chi who has tried to live a nice quiet peaceful life away from that of his father. When his past comes back to haunt him and he is forced to decide if he will stand against the Ten Rings or take his rightful place by his father’s side? For those that don’t know the character debuted in comics in 1973 and followed Shang-Chi who was born in the Honan province of China, and was the son of Fu Manchu, the Chinese mastermind who has repeatedly attempted world conquest and had a thirst for blood. His mother was a white American woman genetically selected by his father.
Through the years they have revamped his history to do away with the connection to Fu Manchu and taken it more into the world of superheroes while still keeping the martial arts theme intact. This latest version brought to life is kind of an amalgamation of the original version, the current and as well as doing its own thing to make it something new. When Doctor Strange came out it took the MCU into the world of magic and thanks to the Asian themed elements and of course Scott Adkins I felt it was the closest thing to being the full on martial arts film for Marvel at the time. That is now changed as Shang-Chi is not only a full on martial arts epic on par with films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon it infuses it into the world of the MCU cleverly to be the most non-Marvel film to date which is a good thing.
Make no mistake it is firmly planted in the MCU universe, but it dives head first into the wuxia genre and blends into the Asian mythology giving it that fantasy element that you might think wouldn’t make a lot of sense in comparison to the other films in the MCU, but we have taken on aliens, other worldly plane of existence so why not this? I was honestly worried with it being the more new version of the character that I was
going to be let down, but I am happy to say it delivers exactly what I had hoped with the exception of that old school look I was hoping would find its way in.
The cast are all great with Liu doing a great job embodying this new take on the iconic character. Awkwafina fits into the world nicely and I found her to be entertaining. She and Liu have great chemistry making yo buy into their friendship and journey they take. The real scene stealer is the always awesome Tony Leung making his long overdue Hollywood debut. He brings a calm menace to the role and really goes all in to make him a worthy adversary. The always amazing Michelle Yeoh is a great addition and perfectly cast for her connection to it all. I am happy to say that everyone gets their time to shine as well including some varying surprises that had me giddy with happiness.
The action and fight sequences were perfection and a ton of fun to watch. The early elements struggled a bit as it was setting up a story so felt more out of place, until you see how it brings it all back together and balances it all out. The ending piece takes it in the usual big Marvel style finally that might not work for some, but I found it pretty entertaining and loved the designs. For those wondering there are two after credits sequences with one mid-credits and one at the very end of the credits.
Love it or hate it, Marvel has stepped into the world martial arts with the Master of Kung Fu himself and I cannot wait to see how he merges into the bigger universe. Check out Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in theaters now.