Review: ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ kicks off with decent introduction

Marvel exceeds on glorious shot action scenes


Courtesy of Marvel.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has taken even more risks in making unknown Marvel characters into household names. An obvious example would be the “Guardians of the Galaxy,” as almost anyone in the world could name or recognize an obscure character such as Groot. Shang-Chi wasn’t a preestablished character like Black Panther, instead Marvel went straight into a solo film, which in a way seems fresh for the MCU. Shang-Chi has to reconnect with a past he thought he’d left behind after an incident that draws him back to the mysterious Ten Rings organization. 

After all, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” isn’t much different from most of the MCU films in many aspects. It still has a bunch of the same tropes as the other films with its charismatic protagonist, funny side characters, forced jokes, exposition dumps and an overload in CGI. Still, it managed to pull off some great choreographed action scenes that truly make you fight alongside the characters from your seat. The soundtrack of the film, while average for a Marvel movie, includes the participation of Asian music artists that add more to the historic representation which is neat for the most part. 

Throughout the movie, you’re not so overwhelmed with having to have watched the previous installments and needing to make connections, which is one of the many things that kept it fresh. Obviously there are a few connections here and there such as a few characters from previous movies, however, they’re not as important. They’re given exposition and the film quickly moves on. Even still, these characters do feel as if they overstayed their welcome. 

Some of the fight scenes and camerawork glaze upon the audience as the action set pieces borrow inspiration from Jackie Chan movies, Ang Lee movies and anime. The main problem with the fight scenes, and this applies to the other Marvel films, is that they cut to a forced joke that takes you away from the moment to not make a scene seem as dark as it is. Obviously these movies are made for children, but not hiding away from the realism would just add more to the experience. 

Simu Liu as Shang-Chi is excellent. Since you believe him in the role, it seems pretty apparent he was very passionate and high on energy about the role. He’s the typical charismatic protagonist, but Marvel usually does well in that department. 

Since this is a solo film that’s an introduction to a character viewers have never heard of or seen before, there are a lot of flashbacks filled with exposition. They aren’t told so interestingly and kind of drag out throughout the movie’s duration. Some information is saved for revelation purposes but it wouldn’t have made a difference to put it in the flashback before. 

Obviously one can’t tell the people behind the production how to do their jobs, but having added more of a unique reason behind motivations, especially for the villain, would have been great. But the better of it is that at least Xu Wenwu (played by the excellent Tony Leung Chiu-wai) pulls off a menacing performance. A better plot or better-written side characters for the most part could’ve been improved instead of the Marvel formula viewers all commonly familiar with. 

Nothing else can be said except that it’s decent and more of Shang-Chi will be anticipated in the future. More efforts from Marvel are expected as well, but Marvel could at any time go in a different direction. In conclusion, a real positive 6/10 is the most appropriate rating for this solid introduction to the Shang-Chi character.