Shang-Chi and a Breath of Fresh Air

Marvel’s Phase Four is different. There’s no denying that. Starting off with WandaVision, a bonkers sitcom, leading us into the politically charged Falcon and the Winter Soldier, only to take another left turn with the Loki series, Marvel is boldy saying “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

And that brings us to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Here’s how IMDB describes it:

“Shang-Chi, the master of unarmed weaponry-based Kung Fu, is forced to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization.”

Let me tell you how much of an undersell this is. Shang-Chi, as a character, is as big as Tony Stark was to Phase one. Destin Daniel Cretton laid down the gauntlet with this film, boldly declaring the old rules are not our rules, and then took the best parts of martial arts films, family dramas, buddy comedies and Star Wars (yeah, you heard me “Heroes Journey” fans) and made a better superhero movie than most of those that came before.

Simu Liu is not only a superhero, but he’s a leading man, in the best kind of Hollywood way. I can’t wait to watch him in everything he does moving forward–especially Shang-Chi 2. Like, I’m ready for it.

And just in case that wasn’t enough for you, Tony Leung (one of my favorite actors–period–full stop) plays the leader of the titular Ten Rings organization. And for Marvel, this yet another step in the right direction as his Wenwu is as heartbreakingly sympathetic as he is dangerous–yet, another good Marvel villain. (If they keep this up, we may have like five. ;))

Lastly, let’s talk about the women in this movie: I love Awkwafina, and she does not disappoint in this movie–she’s funny, competent, and above all, a real person–she grounds this very fantastical movie, as does Shang-Chi’s sister, played by Meng’er Zhang, who is not under utilized in this movie and whose part is only going to be greater as the MCU continues to expand.

EDIT: I forgot to mention Michelle Yeoh–who should be a national treasure to not only China, but to the world–and she always delivers!

So let’s try this ourselves:

“In a world where forces from across the universe can strike at any moment, Shang-Chi–trained as an assassin from childhood–just wants to live a normal life with his found family. But by chance or destiny, the Ten Rings Crime Syndicate greatest killers have finally found him.”

There… first try is already better. It’s not even a good description, but it’s better. IMDB, I’m available.

IN SHORT – Watch this movie and get hyped, phase four isn’t pulling it’s punches, nor do I want it to.

Oh, I’m on Letterboxd now… You should check it out and we can vote on movies together: My profile.

I’m not dead…but I am busy.

If it isn’t apparent by the regular schedule I keep on this blog, I am not a blogger. I like blogging, but blogging doesn’t like me very much. I do my best to try and “write” something each day, and 80% of the time I do. But blogging is a greater commitment. You need a subject–like writing, cooking, or movies–that you love enough to talk about it, and that’s the key. I love all of those things and I enjoy talking about it, just not writing about it. I’m a conversationalist. ūüôā

So, my blog is a an infrequent sojourn into the stream-of-conscious writing about my day that is too long for a social media post. It isn’t a blog.

So, what am I writing? Well, two things: A novel, and a screenplay, and I’ve been hopping back and forth between them for some time now.

The novel, Marney, The Ogre Slayer, is a much larger endeavor than I had imagined, as novel writing and screenwriting are two-complete different animals. Yes, story structure, drama and character are the same, but not the language, and I am having a lot of fun (painstaking and furious fun) learning how I write novels.

The screenplay, a feature tentatively titled The Good Guys is a genre blend of a western, lovers on the run, and killer thriller that has a lot of moving pieces, and will make a great independent movie one day. Which I plan to make.

As far as other film projects, I’ve completed in the 2017 60 Hour Film Challenge and was short-listed (top 16 out of 730+ films), and the 2018 Indianapolis 48-Hour Film Project (which I don’t want to talk about right now #cringe).

I’ve been in a few more commercials, and the auditions keep on coming–thank you Talent Fusion! I’m currently looking for representation in Chicago, as larger commercials and pilots tend to get shot there. #FingersCrossed

Hit me up if you want me to read for any big time TV Pilots, or if you need to cast a new Wolverine whose the right height?!  #T2forWolvie2018

I’m apparently still into hashtags. They still hip?

I also got cast in a low/no budget feature film (see picture of my bloody face) where something horrible happens to me on page 60.¬† ūüôā

My video project schedule is about to be more complicated though, as T3 has decided that he wants to have a YouTube channel in the vein of Ryan’s Toy Review and HobbyKids. So, T3TV will be happening in 2018. We’ve shot two videos, and I have been lagging on the editing of the second. Will be shooting the third this upcoming week. He’s very excited.

And, speaking of my children:

I’m a Dad again!

Marlowe Alexis Brown was born on July 17th, 2017 and will be one in just over a month! #TimeFliesWhenYoureNotSleeping

She’s adorable, and the happiest baby I have ever met:

So family life is good. The boy is good. The girl is good, and the wife continues to amaze me. I’m a lucky man.

[insert segue]

I’m watched a lot of movies, and intend to write more reviews of them, as it is one of my favorite subjects, but I will only write one here:

I’m going to talk about The Last Jedi

However, what I will not do is debate whether or not it destroyed your childhood or not. I review movies on their own merit, not on any pre-conceived notions we brought with us into the film.

The short and simple truth is that I loved this movie.

It was fun, and it was Star Wars.

As a direct sequel to¬†The Force Awakens I feel like¬†TLJ did a great job of subverting our expectations from scene one, and propelled the series into uncharted territory, while staying true to it’s routes.

It has it’s faults, as most movies do, and every Star Wars film does, but they pale in comparison to the heights this movie reaches.

  • Finn’s story line is under-served. He isn’t setup properly at the beginning that he hasn’t actually joined the resistance. So his arc of finally becoming a resistance fighter doesn’t work as well as it should.
  • The timeline between the end of¬†The Force Awakens and this film do not line-up, neither do the separate story lines; however, this can be overlooked due to the strength of the Rey/Luke/Kylo story line.

That’s it. Those are my complaints.

Come on, it’s a Star Wars movie. I¬†hated the prequels but still watch them, because Star Wars.

Anywho, yada, yada — I’ll blog more, I swear, yada, yada, vague promise, yada, yada, you can trust everything I say except “I’ll blog more.”


To my wife, on our 15th Anniversary:

Wow.  Fifteen years of marriage, and seventeen years as a couple.  From twenty years old until thirty-seven (come this Saturday).  So much has happened, and yet, not really.

Got engaged.
Got through cancer.
Got married.
Got a dog.
Got pregnant.
Had a kid.
Got pregnant again.
Lost a kid.
Got pregnant again.

That’s it. ¬†16 things, 6 of which were moving. ¬†But it is also so much more. ¬†Every day is special. ¬†You’ve taught me that. ¬†We’ve taught each other, about each other, and about ourselves. ¬†I’ve grown so much being married to you. ¬†You have made me a better man; a happy man.

I turn so easily to depression.  But you are and have always been my anchor.

The picture my mother drew of us, a lioness holding a red balloon is completely accurate.  You keep me grounded, and in touch with reality.  You keep me present and alive in the moment.  I enjoy life more because you are in it.

We have nothing in common and everything in common with one another. ¬†Opposites attract and they did so in the most spectacular way with you, April Dawn Brown. ¬†When I’m angry, you cheer me up. ¬†When I’m overly excited, you remind me that I need a plan in order to accomplish my goals. ¬†I fold the laundry, because you have washed it.

When I lose my patience with our five-year-old (OMG, he’s 5!), you provide the steady hand.

April, you haven’t just been the better part of the last two decades, you’ve been the best part.

I love you.