Written By: Marcus Munoz
Shattering Expectations & Breaking Barriers
With MARVEL Studios finally making their comeback to theatres, Shang-Chi And The Legend of the Ten Rings was one of the most anticipated movie releases of 2021. Starring Simu Liu (Kim’s Convenience) and Awkwafina (Nora From Queens) - fans were heavily invested in the MCU’s first Asian superhero in a leading role. With no surprise, Shang-Chi claimed its legendary status as 2021’s most successful movie release to date. What mystical force foretold this incredible achievement you might ask? Read on to find out...
I will admit, I was not familiar with Simu Liu’s work outside of Kim’s Convenience (great show btw), so I was a little worried for his transition from comedy to a more serious role. Now thinking back, there wasn’t any reason for doubt! #1, MARVEL always has great casting and #2, this character was so much more than just the stereotypical stoic martial artist - he was funny too. I think Shang-Chi brought a breath of fresh air to the MCU roster, while still leaning into the theme of Phase 4. I can’t wait to see more from this character AND Simu Liu in future MARVEL movies.
Standing ovation for Awkwafina please. As the loveable comedic relief Katy, Awkwafina SLAYED. At the exact moment the movie became a little dry, Katy would jump in to freshen the mood. Not only that, the character was fierce and formidable too, which made for a much more well-rounded addition to the cast, unlike most comedic characters. I think this character has a lot of potential to be a mainstay in the MCU because she is “too talented and too smart” to let go.
Boss level bad***. Wenwu’s ultra-intimidating crime boss persona is definitely the highlight of this character throughout the film. Sure, the Ten Rings probably play a big part in his intimidation factor - but when he’s actually giving orders, it’s like he doesn’t even need them! And I love that. His “heroic” sacrifice at the end of the final act was commendable, and did feel like a full circle moment for the character. The only sad part is we won’t be seeing Tony Leung back for another movie.. Why do they always axe off the good characters!
Martial Arts Choreography
Now, don’t come for me in the comments because I am stating right here and now - I am NOT a martial arts expert nor have I ever claimed to be. I will say however, I thoroughly enjoyed the choreography done for scenes in the opening act with Wenwu and the San Francisco bus scene with Shang-Chi. Not to sound like a broken record here, but it’s nice to see MARVEL do something different with their superheroes. At this point, Shang-Chi isn’t BOSS LEVEL OP, so what he’s doing in terms of martial arts feels more realistic and I like that.
This movie has a ton of great material to work with and the team at MARVEL is clearly working hard to bring Shang-Chi to the forefront of the MCU. I would say for the most part, there were a lot of new things in this movie that other MARVEL films haven’t done yet – mainly the focus on martial arts and Asian historical references. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that nearing the final act, the movie did turn into the generic MARVEL cookie-cutter plot line - for this movie though, I’ll allow it. Also, that END CREDIT SCENE? If you haven’t watched it yet (which shame on you) I won’t spoil much, but it does prelude to some incredible “team ups” for future MARVEL movies. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and would recommend anyone and everyone to go and see it right now.