Title – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
Director – Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12)
Cast – Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Meng’er Zhang, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley
Plot – Kung-Fu master Shaun aka Shang-Chi (Liu) must confront his past with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina) as the two head on a world spanning adventure to reconnect with his sister Xialing (Zhang) and his all-powerful father Xu Wenwu (Leung) who has the power of the magical Ten Rings at his disposal.
“You can’t outrun who you really are”
Review by Eddie on 20/09/2021
Showing no signs of slowing down hot off the heels of Black Widow, a raft of well-received Disney+ series and arriving not too far in front of the hotly anticipated The Eternals, Marvel continues to put in work that puts many other wheelhouses too shame, with the marital arts infused Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, yet another entry into the brands increasingly loaded catalogue of quality blockbuster releases.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Marvel keep doing to maintain the momentum that started all those years ago with 2008’s Iron Man, it’s absolutely correct when many say a lot of these origin stories and event pictures follow a very set formula from A to B, but with an ability to attract some of the best actors working in the industry today and handpicking a raft of some of the most exciting Hollywood filmmakers around, Marvel have once more struck gold with the incredibly fun and inventive Shang-Chi.
Quite possibly the most visually sumptuous Marvel film yet, sometimes feeling as if Marvel has meet with Ang Lee/Yimou Zhang and in my mind the Marvel film that features the best choregraphed action scenes yet from the spectacle heavy brand, Shang-Chi is a big screen blast that is freshly directed by the upcoming Destin Daniel Cretton who here has got his just rewards after his great debut Short Term 12 and the sadly undervalued The Glass Castle came before this big-budgeted ride.
Infusing his film with a great energy and charm that is enhanced by the work of leads Simu Liu (in a career launching turn) as our likable hero Shaun/Shang-Chi, Awkwafina (doing her usual but fun schtick) as Shaun’s bestie Katy and Tony Leung as the unfortunate villain of the piece Xu Wenwu, Cretton has turned out to be the perfect choice to start off the cinematic journey of the fist swinging Shang-Chi and helps instill in his film some nice differences to what we’ve come to expect from comic book blockbusters of the modern era.
Most notably for the film is the exciting use of hand to hand combat that is delivered spectacularly in two stand out sequences on board a moving bus and then bettered alongside a high rise building in Macau, both these set pieces are easily some of the most noteworthy of any Marvel film yet while also benefiting the film other than its Asian infused eccentricities is the fun relationship between Shang-Chi and Katy than never bothers with adding extra baggage to add weight to their believable and fun friendship.
If there was a major drawback to Shang-Chi’s many wins it is in an overdrawn finale, a major problem many have acknowledged previously when it comes to Marvel films, Cretton and his team can’t quite stick the landing for Shang-Chi with it being a little too long in the tooth for its own good and slightly overblown and while it features some incredible imagery and technical wizardry, the films rip-roaring start and strong middle section gives way too something lesser.
Final Say –
Another huge win for Marvel who have here with the help of director Destin Daniel Cretton and his talented cast, created an instantly likable cinematic universe that provides the comic kings with one of their most unique and exciting playgrounds yet.
4 chicken-pigs out of 5