‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ Review: Marvel’s Newest Blockbuster Superhero

Shang-Chi is a refreshing installment to the MCU, reminding viewers just how diverse and different the MCU can be. Destin Daniel Cretton should be considered for an Avengers-level film if he can keep this up. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the best superhero film of the year. Period.

Let’s dive into this. This article is solely for the film itself, while the mid- and post-credit scenes will be saved for another article. I’ll go through everything about the movie, giving my thoughts on it. The character overview article can be found here.

WARNING: FROM THIS POINT ON, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.

The Good

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Marvel Studios’ SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021.

Shang-Chi is a masterpiece. There is so much good in this movie, it’s hard to decide what to go over first. Remember, I’m not going over the characters much, that’s in another article.

The Action

If I have to start somewhere, though, it’ll be with the action. The action sequences are incredible in this movie. They top Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: Ragnarok, and break even with Black Panther.

Ying Li vs. Wenwu

This is more of a dance than a battle. The grace that Tony Leung and Fala Chen play their characters with in this scene is quite obvious, as it’s gliding and jumping, almost making it look like ballet, rather than an action sequence. However, there are still some elements that are action. Wenwu uses the Ten Rings a LOT, but somehow Ying Li deflects all of them. I loved this sequence, it really set the stage for how heartwarming this film is.

SF Bus Fight
(L-R): Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Razor Fist (Florian Munteanu) in Marvel Studios’ SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

This fight was choreographed so well. Just so well. It’s when Katy discovers that Shang-Chi isn’t just a valet, he’s a trained assassin. Florian Munteanu crushes it as Razor Fist. This sequence was the one that made me think “I expected greatness, but this is on another level”. And in addition to that, it was located in SAN FRANCISCO! God, I love that city so much. It’s beautiful.

Fight Club: Shang-Chi vs. Xialing, Shang-Chi vs. Ten Rings, Shang-Chi vs. Death Dealer

Shang-Chi is getting in a LOT of fights in this part of the movie. He battles his sister, enemy soldiers, and then an enemy assassin. My favorite one was the fight with Xialing, though. She saw Shang-Chi, and didn’t hesitate to kick his ass for all he had done to her. The other 2 were better, with the fight with Death Dealer being EXTREMELY action-filled, with a lot of close-quarters combat.

Shang-Chi vs. Wenwu
(L-R): Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) in Marvel Studios’ SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

The absolute highlight battle of the movie, Shang-Chi battling Wenwu is a glory to behold. So much action, and so many uses of the Ten Rings. This is the sequence where Shang-Chi takes on the power of the Ten Rings, and they become his weapon as Wenwu has his soul sucked by the Dweller-in-Darkness. Notice how when Wenwu uses the rings, they are blue, but when Ying Li and Shang-Chi use them, they turn gold.

Everything Else

The action and the characters were definitely the 2 most noteworthy things in this film, but I want to touch a bit more on things I felt were overlooked.

The Creatures

It’s not every day you see a giant lion walking around in a Marvel movie, or a headless cute animal (Morris is 100% my favorite thing ever). These weird-looking horses, or kind of unicorn-type things, are really underrated and underappreciated. For Marvel, I see a LOT of merch that could be made. I would also love to see these characters again.

The Settings

The settings of this movie are incredible. Like, there are 2 new potential theme parks from this movie alone. Wenwu’s compound and Ta Lo. They were established and designed to perfection. Ta Lo just is so rooted in nature, so much green, while Wenwu’s compound is the exact opposite, just gray slabs of concrete.

The Bad

(L-R): Actress Fala Chen and Shang-Chi (Jayden Tianyi Zhang) in Marvel Studios’ SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. Photo by Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2021.

Now, the bad. There’s not much, but there is some. Mainly, the Soul Eaters.

My only issue with the Soul Eaters is that they’re, well, demons. We had a perfectly good villain set up with Wenwu, and the weak point of the film was that Wenwu was just a puppet for these demons. I feel he could’ve been explored more had the Dweller-in-Darkness and the door never existed in this movie.

The Parallels

Finally, the parallels, because I noticed a LOT of them. This film highly resembles Dreamworks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3. With the hand movements, the feet circles, it resembles the movie highly. I also noticed parallels to MGM’s Skyfall, especially the fight club scenes, and the one by the window. In addition, there were several references to Crouching Tiger, a film that Michelle Yeoh also starred in.

All in all, this movie was great, and I’d gladly see it again. Make sure that if you do, it’s in IMAX or Dolby. Our character breakdown is live NOW, and the post-credits scenes breakdowns are coming shortly. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now in theaters, and will be available to stream on Disney+ on November 12th, 2021.

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