SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (2021)
Shang-Chi has arrived in the MCU with an action-packed adventure that features both some of the best fighting we’ve seen in the films and some of the most choreographed. While the story leaves a bit more to be desired and we have a CGI bonanza on our hands, Simu Liu and Awkwafina steal the show and deliver an enjoyable escape.
Shang-Chi (Liu) must confront his past and the Ten Rings organization, led by his father (Tony Leung), a man who harnesses immense power and threatens to release otherworldly forces, all in the name of family. Right off the bat, I must declare my full support for Marvel’s foray into different cultures and their push for representation. The cast of Shang-Chi is phenomenal in every aspect, especially Liu and Awkwafina (not to mention Michelle Yeoh, who continues to kill it). There is no shortage of action in the film, though for every elegant dance-like battle (I kept thinking “breakdance fighting”), there is another sequence that is so obviously choreographed and awkward. The story also could have used a bit of work; some elements seem unnecessary, like the underground fighting ring, the hellish creatures that feed on souls, or the inclusion of over-CGI’d lion creatures in the third act. While Liu was riveting in his parts of the story, Leung as his father/antagonist never quite landed for me, coming across as too soft.
What is clear is that Shang-Chi has opened the door to major forces at work in the MCU; the mid-credits scene makes it clear that the rings are going to have a major impact moving forward. As a vehicle for the introduction of Liu’s Shang-Chi, I very much enjoyed the film. As an MCU property, the forced humor and excessive, awkwardly-placed mature language didn’t quite fit. Still, Shang-Chi is a blast and a half of a film.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters on September 3rd, 2021.
Photo from Glamour