Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
By James Davidson
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is the newest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film introduces Shang-Chi (played by Simu Liu), a kung-fu master whose father, Xu Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) is the leader of the terrorist organization the Ten Rings. Shang-Chi must face his father, as well as some other demons from his past, in order to save the mythical realm of Ta Lo, the homeland of his mother.
While I am a huge fan of the MCU and Marvel comics, I was not familiar with the character of Shang-Chi. However, after seeing the trailers and seeing that Simu Liu and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung were starring in the film, I was very excited to see this movie. This is Leung’s first role in an English language film after being a long time star in Hong Kong films. Shang-Chi and Leung did not disappoint.
The acting performances by Liu and Leung were incredible. Both stars played their roles to perfection and really carried a star-studded cast including Awkwafina, and Ben Kingsley reprising his role of Trevor Slattery from Iron Man 3. Kingsley also played his role perfectly as Trevor Slattery is quickly becoming one of my favorite MCU characters.
The acting complimented the writing quite well. While the plot was a bit cookie-cutter, it was well written and reminiscent of kung-fu movies of old. The action scenes were incredible and well shot. The fight scenes were very similar to 90’s era kung-fu films and a joy to watch. I thought that movie was visually stunning. The mythical land of Ta Lo was beautiful and while CGI heavy, was tastefully animated.Even the “real world” scenes were beautifully shot.
As opposed to recent MCU films, “Shang-Chi” seems to be very important to the overall story of the Marvel Universe. There were many call backs to Iron Man 3 and the film sets up some interesting looking storylines for future films. Marvel did an amazing job at introducing a relatively unknown character in Shang-Chi. I was worried since I didn’t know much about the character I would find it hard to connect with the story. However, the film did an incredible job at developing new characters and making me care about them from the beginning as though they were beloved old friends.
This movie is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, action, and language. While there is a little bit of violence in this film, it isn’t worse than any of the other Marvel films and if you have enjoyed the other MCU movies then this is a must see movie.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is a beautiful action film reminiscent of classic Kung-fu films. While the plot is slightly derivative, it is a fun film with some fantastic acting performances, including a fantastic English language debut of Tony Chiu-Wai Leung and a powerful performance by Simu Liu. I will definitely see this movie again and recommend it to any fan of Kung-fu movies and a must see for MCU fans. It earns 4.5 out of 5 stars.