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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Review by Paul Bowler

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a spectacular new Asian led chapter in the next phase of Marvel’s highly anticipated wave of post Endgame movies, and also a much needed breath of fresh air for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Staring actor and stuntman Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who post blip is using the alias of Shaun while working as a hotel valet in San Francisco, together with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina). When they are suddenly attacked by the deadly Razor Fist (Florian Munteanu) and his henchmen, Shang-Chi has no choice but to reveal his true identity and return home to face the demons of his past, including his father, Wenwu (Tony Leung), who just happens to be the centuries old super-villain leader of the Ten Rings organisation!   

Director Destin Daniel Cretton stylishly blends the superhero fantasy and martial arts action. The frenetic fight sequences are beautifully choreographed, with Simu Liu performing many of his own stunts, and as origin stories go Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a great addition to the MCU line-up. The saga of the Ten Rings, the mystical weapons that grant their owner great power and immortality, is intricately woven into the narrative, and Shang-Chi’s fears his that estranged sister Xu Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) will also be targeted sees him race to Macau with Katy to find Xialing.

The plot hardly pauses for a moment from the outset. Highlights included a Jacky Chan like sequence on a skyscraper swathed in bamboo scaffolding, there’s a cage fight between Wong (Benedict Wong) and the Abomination (voice by Tim Roth), a daring Speed-style chase unfolds through the streets of San Francisco, and a bombastic finale of epic proportions round off Shang-Chi’s MCU debut in fine style.

Simu Liu effortlessly makes the role Shang-Chi his own, while Awkwafina’s scene stealing turn as Chi’s comic sidekick ensures there’s plenty of fun moments interspaced between the frenetic action. There’s some father son angst that gives the plot added depth, sacrifices are also made, and everything builds to a fittingly spectacular – if somewhat CGI heavy – climatic  mystical showdown. The supporting cast is excellent as well, although I felt the addition of Sir Ben Kingsley’s character Trevor Slattery (the faux Mandarin from Iron Man 3) was a little bit superfluous.

As Marvel Studios first film with an Asian director and a predominately Asian cast, Shan-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a fine exploration and representation of Asian culture, and a visually impressive and exciting MCU film on every level. There are plenty of Easter eggs and MCU references to past movies and future Phase Four projects to enjoy as well. This film may not be as game changing as Black Panther, but it was way more fun than Black Widow! Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Ring is a good all-round action-adventure film in its own right, the dazzling martial arts fight sequences will blow yu away, and the post credit scenes (featuring some fan pleasing cameos) bring the character of Shang-Chi even further into the wider mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook