When the first projects of Phase 4 were announced at San Diego Comic Con 2019, Shang-Chi was honestly one of the films I was most excited for just at the prospect of having a Marvel film that has a martial arts type action and explore the Ten Rings and The Mandarin properly, after their disappointing appearance in Iron Man 3. Having not seen lead actor, Simu Liu in anything, just going from his excitement for the project, I got more excited for the first time I knew nothing about the lead character of a marvel film since Guardians of the Galaxy. However, the first trailer gave us a glimpse of what seemed like another generic origin story for the Marvel universe.
Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) has been trained by his father, Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), the leader of terror group, the Ten Rings, when he escapes to America as a teenager to flee from his power hungry father. Ten years later, he is hunted down by his father in an attempt to find the hidden village of Ta-Lo.
If you want some of the best choreographed fighting scenes and some of the best shot action scenes in the MCU, you won’t be disappointed. These action moments are exactly where the film shines and is completely at it’s best. The martial art aspects of the characters involved mean that the set pieces are very creative and take some clear inspiration from Jackie Chan movies at times.
The calmer plot moments of the film is where the film struggled for me, feeling somewhat clunky bouncing from present day to flashing back to scenes of Shang-Chi as a child. It’s a similar problem to Captain Marvel which felt just as clunky at times. But with both, Captain Marvel and Shang-Chi, I’m more excited to see more of the character now we have that backstory out the way and we can move on. It was half way through the second act that I questioned how much the film was dragging and I wasn’t particularly enjoying it as much as I wanted, but once the film dove straight into a unique final act and final action piece, where the film is clearly at it’s best.
The writing is the main problem, but aside from some questionable CGI at times, I was locked into this 2hr12 flick, which flies by. Simu Liu and the rest of the cast all do a solid job and have clear passion for the project, particularly Simu, who is understandably proud and passionate about this being the first Asian led superhero film. The unsung hero for me was Meng’er Zhang, who plays Shang-Chi’s badass sister, Xialang, particularly impressive as it’s Meng’er’s first film.
Overall, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a really fun MCU installment which suffers abit from the same old problems we all have with origin stories but what the film does have is ample amounts of really good action pieces and fighting, which will make the film even more memorable and be one of the fan favourite characters of Phase 4.
What did you think of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings?
I’m not going to do a spoiler talk for this as there isn’t too much to spoil I think but the next reasonably big film we have is Malignant next week, so I have until then to get a review for The Night House out (I will get to it). So to be sure to get those reviews when they drop follow on Instagram @floodersfilms or like on Facebook.