Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Writer: Dave Callaham, Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham (Screenplay) Steve Englehart, Jim Starlin (Comics)
Starring: Simu Liu, Tony Leung, Awkwafina, Ben Kinglsey Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh
Plot: Shang-Chi, the master of unarmed weaponry-based Kung Fu, is forced to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization.
Tagline – A Marvel legend will rise.
Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings starts as we learn the history of the Ten Rings that Xu Wenwu (Leung) has possessed for over a 1000-years conquering lands in his quest for power, until he becomes powerless to one thing, love and fatherhood.
Shang-Chi (Liu) his son is trying to have a normal life in America, when he gets attacked by his father’s men, leading him to travel back to China to save his sister Xialing (Zhang), only to learn she is just as deadly as he is, with the pair needing to team up to stop their father unleashing a new horror upon the world.
Thoughts on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Characters & Performances – Shaun is trying to have a normal life in America, only for his past to come back for him, with his true name being revealed as Shang-Chi, a trained assassin, he must find his place in the world now, fight back against his father or stand by his side. Simu Liu does well for the first meeting of this character, he is more entertaining as the Shaun character, than the fighting figure, as this side of things we have seen plenty of times before, but the human side of his character is spot on. Xu Wenwu is the man who holds the tend rings, using them for power to control the world, only giving them up once he found love. When he loses his love, he returns to the rings, wanting to unlock the one secret he strived before falling in love, ripping away the children he was meant to give a happy home too. Tony Leung is everything you would expect, from an actor of his calibre, dominating the screen with every sequence he is in. Katy is the best friend of Shaun’s she knows nothing about his past, is good for an everyday laugh, he is like the best friend everyone wants to have, never taking life too seriously. Awkwafina is scene stealer here, getting more laughs than anyone in the whole film, and laughs that fit the film, not just thrown in there moments. Xialing is the younger sister the Shang-Chi, she lived in the shadows, learning her skill by watching others, proving to be on the same level of Shang-Chi. This is the one character you feel we could have dived deeper into, as it seems like she has a darker past than most of the film only hints at. We do have other appearances of note in the supporting cast, which will include two of the funniest supporting outings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Story – The story will see a young man Shaun, needing to head back to China to confront his father, who has set assassins for him, in hope of finding the one thing that has alluded him, the ability to find a secret village that will hold a key to fixing his pain. This is an original story for a new character for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which means we will be getting a lot of information about the world we are heading into, where Katy is mostly used to fill in the blanks, as she learns, we learn. For the core of an origin story, we get everything we need to learn who we will be following for the next couple of appearances. Where this story can fall short is in the number of flashbacks, we get flashbacks of flashbacks that fill in tiny bits of that moment, only to head back there for more information later in the film.
Themes – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that will give us an introduction to a martial artist figure in Shang-Chi, the action will give us great fight sequences that are the usual, the good guys can be outnumbered and always win. The beauty in this film comes from the moments within the secret village, the creature creations are amazing, along with the way they arrive to the location.
Final Thoughts – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a great introduction to the latest comic book hero from marvel.