Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Review)

by Lee Hernly, Editor

For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, my son and I went in-person to a movie at the AMC Hoffman 22. We took in the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. I’ll try to limit the spoilers here for you. The movie was well acted, well written, and very well directed with very cool special effects.

“Shang-Chi” is first Marvel film to get an exclusive cinematic release since the Covid pandemic shut down the movie theater business in March 2020. Weekend box office results show the movie delivered. With a 92% “Fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes from 244 reviews, those who have seen the movie call it  “a strong step forward for the MCU”.

The movie centers on Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), a valet at a ritzy San Francisco hotel, who goes by Shaun, an Americanized version of his name. He is the son of Wenwu (Tony Leung), a centuries-old conqueror, crime lord and wielder of the legendary 10 rings. The holder of the 10 rings has immortality and great power. Wenwu gave up his power when he met and married Jiang Li (Fala Chen) only to be drawn back in when evil comes and kills his wife.

After the death of his mother, a teenage Shang-Chi left his ancestral home and remained estranged from his father for years. Now, as an adult, he is suddenly forced to confront his past when father’s assassins come for Shang-Chi on a bus, and we learn that Shang-Chi was trained from childhood to be one of the deadliest fighters alive – and he is very, very good at combat.

The movie really gets going from there. With action-packed fight sequences and zippy one-liners, which have become staples in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Shang-Chi” explores the clash of East and West on a large, explosive scale with a fairy tale mixed in. Awkwafina is very good as his fast-talking, wisecracking best friend Katy. Michelle Yeoh is fantastic as the sister of Jiang Li and one of the guardians of Ta-Lo. Shang-Chi has to defeat his father with the help of Katy and his estranged sister Xialing (Meng’er Zhang).

An MCU fan might recognize prior plot points from the Iron Man films regarding the Ten Rings terrorist organization and its puppet leader, The Mandarin. Another great character from the MCU even makes an appearance in the film. For me, “Shang-Chi,”  was better than Iron Man as they crafted a human tale and not a story of heroes and villains. To me, “Shang-Chi” is a family drama centered on a family coming to terms with long-suppressed anger and grief.

After conquering evil and saving the world, Shang-Chi & Katy return to their mundane, slacker life only to be leaving us wanting more. And looks like more we will get. Get tickets here at this link.

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