Harry Situation Reviews: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings of Power is a new Marvel martial arts superhero film, starring Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Fala Chen, Tony Leung, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, and Benedict Wong.
Shang-Chi (played by Simu Liu) was living an ordinary life until his past comes back to haunt him. Before he was working as a valet but it turns out he actually has connections to the Ten Rings terrorist organization (the same group that kidnapped Tony Stark in the first Iron Man), led by his father, the Mandarin (played by Tony Leung).
I’m gonna be real: I know next to nothing about Shang-Chi. I’ve never read any of the comics. I wasn’t even aware that this was a thing until now. Because of my lack of knowledge I was all the more excited to see this movie. I mean I didn’t know anything about the Guardians of the Galaxy before I saw the first movie and I loved that movie. So did the same thing happen with Shang-Chi? You bet your ass it did.
First positive is our titular hero Shang-Chi. Simu Liu was just perfect casting. Usually Marvel & Disney picks the right people for the roles and this one’s no exception. It’s incredibly likeable. I think from the first few scenes we see him in I already liked him. And he’s a total badass.
The next positive is our villain, the Mandarin. Yeah, I know technically his character’s name is Xu Wenwu and his character doesn’t really associate with that name, but since he’s got the ten rings of power - and he’s nothing like Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin - I’m calling him the Mandarin. It’s actually a very compelling, sympathetic villain. This is the kind of villain we’ve been lacking in the MCU (aside from Loki, Thanos, Vulture, Mysterio, Hela, Killmonger, Ultron, Ego, and those are the only MCU villains I can think of). He’s menacing. He’s a great foil for our heroes. And you actually understand his position. You don’t necessarily agree with his actions but you understand them. Also, Tony Leung was just fantastic. Again, perfect casting.
A lot of the side characters like Awkwafina are great too. They have a ton of personality and just so likeable whenever they’re on screen. Hell, even Ben Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery was actually tolerable in this movie. If I ever get the chance to review Iron Man 3 you’ll know why I hated what they did with the character of “the Mandarin” in that movie.
This film also has some of the best fight sequences I’ve seen in any superhero movie. A lot of it reminds me of stuff from old Jackie Chan movies or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Much of the fighting and stunt work are done by the actors themselves so it makes for a more realistic experience. Very little CGI is used in these action scenes and when CGI is used it blends perfectly.
I love all the fantasy elements woven into this movie too. We get to explore and witness so much Asian mythology from locations to creatures in this movie. It was a blast to see on screen.
Speaking of Asian culture, gotta give this movie some mad props on its representation on Asian culture. It is done with perfection and respect. And this is a company who was notorious in the past for stereotyping ethnic groups. Disney certainly has come a long way from its roots. While I don’t necessarily respect them as a global company hellbent on world domination, I can at least respect them for showing positive representation.
This was honestly one of the best films I’ve seen all year. It was great to see an origin story but done so with a new edge. After watching this movie, I definitely want to look up Shang-Chi and read more of his comics. If you’re a Marvel/superhero fan this one’s a must see for everyone.
-Fantastic action & fights
Final Grade: A+
So those are my thoughts on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Have you seen it? What were your thoughts on it? Please be kind, leave a like and comment, and check out more reviews as we approach my 350th review!
Jiang Nan: “You are a product of all who came before you, the legacy of your family. You are your mother. And whether you like it or not, you are also your father.”