Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings: A Review

This September, the Ten Rings were passed on to a new, prodigal son in Marvel’s cabal of heroes. Shang-Chi, son of a thousand-year-old warlord and airbender from a village hidden in the leaves, was given the Ten Rings in a movie that does a good job of balancing comedy, seriousness, and well orchestrated fight sequences.

While the fight scenes in the movie had traditional Marvel choreography and timing, Shang-Chi brought in some Kung-Fu and faster paced fights with large leaps and survival calisthenics. Shang-Chi also brought in some old Enter the Dragon styles, where the theme of the fights was related to nature, and the Tai Chi sequence. This is something unique to this character, that really set this movie apart from other Marvel films. 

“The film’s use of the Mandarin language, for starters, encompasses everything from slang to chengyu—idioms with roots in Chinese history that are primarily formed by four characters.” – Time Magazine

Like Marvel’s basic superhero origins, Shang-Chi was portrayed to be an everyday citizen of San Francisco, who had a simple nine-to-five job. The jokes and addition of a friend, Katy, made Shang-Chi seem more ordinary, and relatable for many people in the intended audience.  

The acting in the movie was unsurprisingly well done. The actor that played Shang-Chi, Simu Liu, played the role of a character who started as a valet parker before he became a hero. However, Marvel Studios shocked viewers when they orchestrated the first fight sequence in the film, inside of a San Francisco tram. Within the first few seconds, one could soon realize that Shang-Chi wasn’t so ordinary, and that he was not some bootleg, Karate Kid actor. Because of this awe-inspiring transition, Liu was the perfect Shang-Chi because he was able to differentiate between a trained assassin, and an average valet parker. 

Awkwafina, the actor and comedian who played the role of ‘Katy,’ was the perfect friend for Shang-Chi. She gave a sense of normalism, in a movie full of organized ninjas, dark web fight clubs, thousand year-old video game bosses, and sorcerers of air. Marvel’s goal for this character was likely to project a person that we could likely be in sync with, to follow the entire journey. 

The film’s use of the Mandarin language, for starters, encompasses everything from slang to chengyu—idioms with roots in Chinese history that are primarily formed by four characters.”

— Shang-Chi

Perhaps one of the best parts of this movie was the plot arch. The humble beginning that Shang-Chi had and how he developed as the movie progressed was a point of interest. Instead of him remaining a simple character, Marvel Studios fashioned him into a highly dynamic one through plot depth. To avoid too many spoilers, the dynamic plot Marvel came up with was essential to making this a great movie. Zubair

It is believed that Shang-Chi has a big spot ahead. He could end up being one of the main characters in any future crossover. When observed closely, after all of the preview television shows, his story was the first live-action movie to kick off the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4 plan. Like the first movie of Phase 1 “Iron Man,” which kickstarted the universe and was one of the most important characters in the movies, Shang-Chi could have a role of similar importance to the MCU’s new movies, such as Marvel’s Eternals and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.

Critics all around the world are raving about Shang-Chi. This movie has a high, 86% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Critics say that Simu Liu is “simply a joy to watch” and say that he is the most significant rookie in the MCU since Chris Evans and the late Chadwick Boseman. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is filled with superb acting, kung-fu styled choreography, and a rightfully supernatural and well developed plot.