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.