SHANG-CHI (2021) – My rating: 10/10

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings poster.jpeg

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a superhero film based on Marvel Comics featuring the character Shang-Chi. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the 25th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Shang-Chi is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, from a screenplay he wrote with Dave Callaham and Andrew Lanham. Shang-Chi is forced to confront his past when his father, leader of the Ten Rings organization, draws Shang-Chi and his sister into a search for a mythical village. I was really hyped about seeing Shang-Chi — It didn’t let me down.  Fantastic film!

Approximately one thousand years ago, Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung) discovers the mystical ten rings which grant immortality and godly powers. He establishes the Ten Rings organization, conquering kingdoms and toppling governments throughout history. In 1996, Wenwu searches for Ta Lo, a village said to harbor mythical beasts. He travels through a magical forest to the village entrance but is stopped by a guardian, Ying Li (Fala Chen). The two fall in love, and when the Ta Lo villagers reject Wenwu, due to his past misdeeds, Li chooses to leave her village to live with Wenwu. They marry and have two children, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Xialing (Meng’er Zhang). Wenwu abandons his organization and locks away the ten rings.

When Shang-Chi (Jayden Zhang) is seven years old, his mother (Li) is murdered by Wenwu’s enemies, the Iron Gang. Wenwu dons the ten rings once again, massacres the Iron Gang, and resumes leadership of his organization. He makes Shang-Chi undergo brutal training in martial arts but does not allow his young daughter, Xialing (Elodie Fong) to train with the others, which prompts her to secretly teach herself. When Shang-Chi (Arnold Sun) is 14, Wenwu sends him to assassinate the Iron Gang’s leader (Raymond Ma).  After completing his mission, a traumatized Shang-Chi runs away to San Francisco and adopts the name “Shaun”.

In the present day, Shang-Chi works as a parking valet with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina), who has no idea about Shaun’s past. One day, while on the way home from work, Shaun and Katy are attacked on a bus by members of the Ten Rings, who steal the pendant that Li gave to Shang-Chi. Later, Shaun flies out to meet his sister, fearing that the Ten Rings organization will go after her for the matching pendant. Shaun begins to reveal his past to Katy, who insists on helping him. They find Xialing at a secret fight club in Macau, which she founded after escaping from Wenwu at the age of sixteen. The Ten Rings attack the fight club, and Wenwu arrives to capture Shang-Chi, Katy, Xialing, and her pendant.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the first Asian Marvel movie.  I think this film is the Avatar of Marvel movies.  The story and the acting are outstanding.  Simu Liu is Chinese, Candian and the first Asian to lead a Marvel movie. Shang-Chi has some of the best special effects you’ll see in a superhero feature. The cinematography was absolutely breathtaking.  I felt as though I was on a journey with the cast.  There’s a bus scene that was done to perfection — sixteen visual effects vendors worked on the film, with up to three vendors on a given shot, creating over 2,000 shots, of which over 1,700 were in the final film.  Shang-Chi featured mystery with an intensity that will have you on the edge of your seat.  The costumes were beautiful and stylish, representing the eras cited in the movie.  The fight scenes were choreographed to the letter and offered magnificent skills of all the participants.  Liu performed many of his own stunts since the character does not wear a mask, and put on 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of muscle for the role while working on his flexibility.  Ta Lo, which exists in a separate dimension with various Chinese mythological creatures added the magical touch necessary to almost make you a believer and lull you all the way in.  The character Wenwu handled the 10 rings with spot-on precision.  I didn’t want Shang-Chi to end.  Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) is an actor who previously took on the guise of the Mandarin and was abducted by the Ten Rings, becoming a “court jester” or a Shakespearean fool for Wenwu. Awkwafina added just the right finishing touches of comedy to round out this brilliant first Marvel Asian feature movie.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings earned $29.6 million on its opening day, which was the third-best opening day since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The film went on to earn more than $250 million.  The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 91%, with an average score of 7.5/10, based on 323 reviews. The website’s critical consensus reads, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings isn’t entirely free of Marvel’s familiar formula, but this exciting origin story expands the MCU in more ways than one.” I think Shang-Chi is one of the most exciting movies out there — I loved it!  BTW:  keep watching after the credits roll, then keep watching after the second set of the credits roll.  Shang-Chi is streaming on Disney + — Check It Out!

[SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS is Oscar-nominated at the 94th Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects — Totaling 1 Oscar Nomination]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s