Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings movie review

Rating: 4 out of 6.

Finally, we are getting the official Phase Four Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie after the end of the Infinity Saga with 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far from Home” which feels like years ago during the pandemic. Oh, wait… we did have “Black Widow” last week. Well, that doesn’t count because it was a flashback movie and it didn’t do anything to push the MCU narrative forward but “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is and let’s talk about it!

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is the origin story of the MCU’s first Asian superhero – besides Wong (Benedict Wong) of course who makes a quick appearance in this too – Shang-Chi who is played by the very charismatic Simu Liu. Shang-Chi has a past that he left behind to pursue a normal life living in San Francisco with his BFF Katy (Awkwafina). He left his father Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung) and sister Xu Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) for six years and vows to never return because of the abuse he had gotten from his father, who turned into the leader of the Ten Rings organisation after the death of his mother. But when his past comes back to bring him home, that is when he learns that his father plans to destroy the innocent hidden village of Ta Lo for personal reasons. And Shang-Chi is there to stop him.

This is the 25th movie in the MCU so how on earth are they gonna tell an origin story again without it feeling the same like the other ones? Well, you put in some kung fu, baby! Straight up, this movie has the best fight choreographies we’ve seen in a Marvel Studios movie. The bus scene was what people have been talking but personally, I enjoyed the one in the scaffolding a little more. And it helps that Simu Liu did his own stunts and the camerawork doesn’t cut every single frame all the time. It holds long enough for you to actually see what is going on in a fight ala classic Hong Kong movies so this enables Simu Liu to really show off both his acting and fighting skills which were really impressive coming from a guy who hasn’t gotten any action roles prior to this.

But if we are going to talk about performance as a whole, give a standing ovation to the legendary Tony Leung because he is by far the best character in this movie, even overshadowing our titular character! It is rare to see the villain getting more of the spotlight because the MCU isn’t known to have strong villains except for the likes of Killmonger, Mysterio, Thanos, and a few others. However, Tony Leung’s character Xu Wenwu was definitely fleshed out more compared to the rest. The movie’s backstory is from his perspective which gives an understanding between the father-son and husband-wife relationship; a very smart choice the movie made. Ultimately, it is a story about a husband’s grief which is portrayed really well by Tony Leung because you get the sense that he’d do anything to get his wife back even if it means misusing his powers, and that was really heartbreaking to watch.

It is the personal issues that these characters go through that is more interesting to explore, but since this is a Marvel Studios movie, they have to bring in the big spectacle at the end. I mean, I get it, it has to end with a bang but maybe for once if they could just make a movie that is so much more personal and explore the characters through the bond that they have, it would definitely be a much satisfying end. You don’t always have to have a big CGI fight at the end. Besides, half of your cast can fight, they can do their own stunts! Have them kung fu their way to the end instead of having big soulless creatures that we don’t care about taking up the entire screen.

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is an impressive welcome to the MCU with characters that stand on their own and some that might need a little more exploring – the sister to be exact. Really looking forward to what Shang-Chi brings to the table as an MCU character but as a movie alone, this is one of the better origin movies with a villain that demands your attention and will definitely be an instant fan favourite.

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