As we officially enter phase 4 of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), “Black Widow” was a prequel so it doesn’t count, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” sees Marvel go in a new direction with roaring success.
“Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organisation.
We’re currently in the post glow of the MCU Infinity saga, with “WandaVision”, “Falcon & the Winter Soldier” and “Loki” not only holding us over but giving more depth to this greater universe.
“Shang-Chi” had a lot of pressure resting on it. Not only as the first Asian-led Marvel blockbuster superhero film, but also as the first cinema exclusive MCU film since the pandemic started.
And boy, oh boy, does it deliver.
This being the first time the MCU is venturing into a martial arts heavy film – we’re just going to pretend like “Iron Fist” never happened – it’s new territory for the studio and it has brought a new dimension to this universe.
The fight scenes especially, are a thing of beauty. From the way they are choreographed to how they are presented on screen.
Director Destin Cretton and cinematographer Bill Pope have created such a rich visual language for this film that it is unlike anything we’ve previously experienced in the MCU.
The screenplay and acting also strike a perfect balance between heartfelt moments and comedy with Simu balancing both dramatic and comedic moments brilliantly. Even Awkavina was funny in the movie.
“Shang-Chi” also features a large amount of Mandarin which not only makes it feel more authentic but also gives the various scenes more heft.
What the film does most successfully is keeping the interpersonal relationships of the characters at the core of the storytelling and also keeps the overall plot very centred.
Even with all the fantastical elements going on, it keeps the focus on the characters along with not making the villain become some world-ending threat.
While this film is still pushing the greater MCU narrative forward, it keeps the overall plot as a “one and done”.
There are some cameos from people from within the greater MCU, including a surprise supporting character that fixes in a giant plot hole that has been in the universe for a while.
“Shang-Chi” is a great movie that should be experienced in a cinema.
Simu is a great addition to our established band of heroes in the MCU, setting phase 4 up to be one for the books.
“Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” is showing at cinemas nationwide.