MOVIE REVIEW: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: Is this a Marvel or Not?

By Thomas Stodghill, IV

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe has gotten more expansive, Marvel has given more superheroes their time to shine. While Marvel gave some established characters like Scarlet Witch and Loki more screen time, they wanted to introduce some new heroes to its repertoire.

Shang-Chi is the first one to get this treatment this year. If this movie is anything to go by, then I am excited to see what Marvel does with him. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” follows our titular protagonist, played by Simu Liu, who wants to live a normal life after being trained to be an assassin by his father, Wenwu (Tony Leung). After Wenwu hunts him down, Shang-Chi is forced to confront his past.

The story itself, while not free of all Marvel’s cliches, explains the whole backstory of Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings organization well. The story delivers a compelling and tragic backstory that goes deep into exploring Asian culture.

I also loved the performances by Liu and Leung. I can tell that Lui had a great time with his role, especially doing a lot of his stunts. Leung delivered a great performance as the antagonist who was a little sympathetic.

This movie has some of the best choreography in any of Marvel’s movies. The fight scenes are exhilarating to watch, no matter if the characters fight with their arms, a sword, bow and arrow, or a machete.

Another highlight of the movie is easily the humor. Shang-Chi’s friend, Katy, delivers some of the funniest jokes in the movie. Awkwafina delivers a hilarious performance, and she gets her moments to shine.

Going into this movie, I did not know how this movie would connect to the other Marvel movies. While the film mostly stands on its own, it has a handful of characters from the MCU. Like 2018’s “Black Panther,” this movie knows to let the new characters shine first.

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is a fascinating origin story that hints at more to come. While a little cliché at times, the story is compelling, and the performances are top notch. This movie is a must watch if you are into superheroes or action-adventure movies.

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