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Before we get started, I’d like to mention that this review does contain spoilers. If you’d like to read our thoughts without spoilers, please view our spoiler-free review of Shang-Chi.
This week I had the pleasure of watching Shang-Chi and The Legends Of The Ten Rings, and I decided to review it in this blog for any of you that are truly hesitant about this movie. If you are like me, you may be going into this movie completely blind to who Shang-Chi is, his powers, and how this movie will even work. All of these questions and more are answered in this review of Shang-Chi And The Legends Of The Ten Rings.
What is Shang-Chi And The Legends Of The Ten Rings
Let’s first talk about what this movie is. Shang-Chi And The Legends Of the Ten Rings is a marvel superhero movie, about a character known as Shang-Chi. Shang-Chi’s mother dies as a result of his father’s ‘past’ criminal activity, and I do say ‘past’ lightly, as his father, the Mandarin, is a crime boss that runs an organization known as the Ten Rings. The Ten Rings organization is named after the magical rings that the Mandarin wears throughout his conquest.
The Ten Rings grant the wearer powers such as the ability to jump long distances, partial invulnerability, and the rings can even be shot at an opponent with extreme force. In this movie, the true origin of the rings is a bit of a mystery which the film teases may have bigger implications for the rest of the MCU.
When we are first introduced to Shang-Chi, he is living in California where so many MCU films take place, and he’s working as a valet with his, let’s say ‘colorful’ friend Katie. Shang-Chi was trained in the ways of martial arts by his father, following the death of his mother, but he has hidden his true identity and martial arts talent from Katie. A sudden attack on a bus, which you see in the film’s trailer, causes Shang-Chi to reveal his fighting ability as he works to save those stranded on the bus.
Shang-Chi and Katie are then off on their adventure after Shang-Chi reveals that he has a sister and she has sent him a postcard with her location. Shang-Chi and Katie then travel there to ensure his sister’s safety, and this begins Shang-Chi’s journey of revealing his past and dealing with, let’s just call him his family issues.
His father, the Mandarin, is on a warpath to bring his mother back after he hears her voice calling for her to be rescued. Shang-Chi learns throughout the film that his father is instead being misled by an ancient group of dragons that devour souls, and are focused on reaching the outside world.
Who is Shang-Chi?
Shang-Chi, played by Simu Liu, is a character that is so clouded in darkness from his father’s harsh training that he is not comfortable in his own skin. There is a conflict brewing within Shang-Chi, and this is one that he chooses to run away from. Early in the film, we learn that Shang-Chi was brutally trained by his father, and once his training was complete he was tasked with murdering his mother’s killer.
Shang-Chi did actually avenge his mother’s death, but this caused him to run away from his father’s criminal enterprise because he doesn’t believe his mother would have wanted him to do this. The conflict in this film primarily deals with Shang-Chi having to decide between what he was taught by his father and the teachings and beliefs of his Mother. Ultimately, Shang-Chi has to use a combination of both to defeat his father and save the day at the end of the film.
Things I Enjoyed About This Film
I really enjoyed this movie, and there are many elements of this film I liked. One of the first elements, and most important are the fight scenes and action sequences. This is an MCU film that is very heavy on combat, but Shang-Chi is a martial artist so this is to be expected with this movie. If you are a fan of martial arts films and love the Marvel Cinematic Universe you will absolutely love this film, as it is a beautiful combination of both worlds.
The fight scenes are a little outlandish which we’ve come to see in many martial arts films anyway, but it’s not too over the top in this movie so I think this is a great decision by Marvel as it still helps the film stay grounded. Simu Lius’ fighting is really impressive, and you can tell he trained a ton for this role and took it seriously. The rest of the cast all fight well, and the acting is great.
The only thing I will really say I didn’t like about this movie was Shang-Chi’s sister. Her character and the dynamic between her and Shang-Chi weren’t really explored, but given the end credit scene, this should be explored in the sequel film. Next was the comic relief of the film which was Katie. In some instances, Katie is great, but in the beginning of the film Katie and her personality are very over the top and at times it feels as though the film is trying too hard to get us to like Katie.
As the film progresses, and we learn more about the character, Katie did grow on me. There is also a hint at a future romance between the two, but for now, Katie is the lovable, and fun-loving friend of Shang-Chi. From what we know about Shang-Chi and his reason for leaving it’s no surprise that he would pal around with someone such as Katie. Someone with no ambition, and someone that also runs from challenges. The two have a really unique bond that I love, and can’t wait to see Marvel develop this relationship.
Let’s just talk about how superheroes can’t have great father figures, and if they do they are destined to pass away early into the character’s introduction… I’m kidding, even though I notice this is a trend with superheroes. Shang-Chi is a great film, and if I had to give it a rating it would be an 8.5. I wanted to rate this film higher on my list, but this film does start off slowly and some of the characters can be annoying when we first meet them.
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is an enjoyable film that moviegoers will want to see over and over again. It truly is a welcome refresher from the typical Marvel movie. I loved this film, and I can’t wait to see Shang-Chi interact with the other characters in the MCU.
That’s all I have for today. Thank you so much for reading my review.