~ Warning! Spoilers! Movie Review: “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (MARVEL 2021) ~

REVIEW

From the start, I was extremely excited for “Shang Chi” and Simu Liu, who I used to watch on “Kim’s Convenience.” Happily, I got to watch it in theaters with my two friends, and for one of them, it was a re-watch – that’s how much she loved it. “Shang Chi” was getting raved reviews, and I feared that it might be overhyped, but my worries were unfounded. “Shang Chi” was super entertaining, and I had a terrific time watching it. I would highly recommend it.

“Shang Chi” follows a character of the same name living in San Francisco who is on the run from his estranged father and his Ten Rings Gang.

Firstly, I grew up on TVB, so it was awesome seeing Tony Leung and Fala Chen. Plus, the cast includes the fabulous Michelle Yeoh, who is amazing. Tony Leung is a legend! I was thrown back in time when Tony Leung’s character walked through the gambling parlor in a suit with his sleeves rolled up; he was so handsome and reminded me of old-school Hong Kong gangster movies. The vibes were on point every time Tony Leung was on the screen. Speaking of legends, Yuen Wah, who was in “Kung Fu Hustle,” has a minor role as Guang Bo. It was short, but I was still shocked because he wasn’t involved in any promotions. He deserves more awareness for his part in this movie. Seriously, I was proud to see so much Hong Kong representation. By the way, Fala Chen is gorgeous, but the drawings of her face did not do her beauty justice.    

Secondly, I love that this isn’t just a Marvel film, but it’s also a martial arts movie. I got such a kick out of all the hand-to-hand combat scenes. Sometimes, I wasn’t a fan of the slowing down, but it was still very cool. I miss actual fighting on screen, and “Shang Chi” delivered real fights while mixing a little magic in. “Shang Chi” was jam-packed with fun action sequences starting with the bus scenes; it kept viewers, like me, captivated and thrilled.  I heard that the hanging from a bamboo shot was a homage to “Rush Hour.” Supposedly, the fight scenes were coordinated by Jackie Chan’s stunt team, which is dope! I am too lazy to fact-check this, but a friend of mine told me this is true. If it isn’t, please feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Switching topics, when viewers entered the mystical world of Tao Lo, where magical creatures reside, I thought this was the perfect moment for merchandising. We all know how Star Wars creates these cute fictional animals, which become must-have toys/ plushies. There were some cute animals in this that I would love to buy. Also, I know that nine tail fox isn’t exclusively “Naruto,” but that was the first thought I had.  

Moving on, I don’t want to sound mean, but I don’t understand how Awkwafina became Hollywood’s go-to East Asian it-girl. She’s in everything, and I’m a little tired of seeing her sadly. In addition, I wasn’t expecting her to be the love interest. They could’ve stayed friends. Also, her whole story was that she lacked aim in life. Her situation is very relatable to many people in their 20s. I was expecting a better explanation or resolution to this. Disappointingly, in the end, she’s the girlfriend-sidekick, and I didn’t appreciate it.  

Although I wasn’t a fan of Katy’s, I was wowed by Xialing played by the cute Meng’er. I cannot believe this is her first acting gig. I am so proud of her and cannot wait to see her career take off from here. Congrats on her real-life marriage! The second bonus clip shows that Xialing takes over the Ten Rings Gang, even without the ten rings. It will be intriguing to see her walk the path of an anti-hero. I look forward to it. I just want to mention that since watching the movie, I have been looking up interviews of the cast on Youtube. They have such playful chemistry, and it’s lovely.  

In the first bonus clip, Wong (who I adore) talked to others about Shang Chi and the ten rings he inherited from his deceased thousand-year-old father. I had assumed the other person was Dr. Strange, but I guess Benedict Cumberbatch is too busy with his movie. Instead, there’s the Hulk and Captain Marvel. It was a nice surprise. I cannot wait to see how Shang Chi will be incorporated into the Marvel universe. That reminds me, I wasn’t expecting the villain from “Iron Man 3” to make an appearance: the Mandarin. Marvel is cleaning up some of its older storylines.  

Some people have noted that Tony Leung overshadowed Simu Liu. I can see where these people are coming from, but this is an origins story. Shang Chi’s character is still maturing and finding himself. This first film itself was an impressive introduction. Incidentally, I have a friend named Shang, and he goes by the English name Shawn. Furthermore, I have a friend named Sicun who goes by the English name Sean. Thus, when Shang Chi chose the English name Shaun, I couldn’t help but giggle a little. BASIC!

Overall, I love “Shang Chi.” It was an entertaining movie, and I want to support it in theaters again. Plus, it has an incredible soundtrack. Thank you for creating the representation; I’m sure that many Asian Americans or, in general, the young Asian diaspora community felt seen. That makes me happy. Although I loved the movie and thought it was great, a few things could’ve been done better. I am slightly over-critical, but this will allow the film to improve from here. 4.8/5.