Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings gives Marvel its much-awaited comeback to the big-screen post the pandemic.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings bring the first Asian superhero to the MCU. New in many ways, Marvel had to be steady and not hurry with this project. And one has to admit, they didn’t fail. The movie has everything we want, a strong origin story, perfect casting, a new cultural representation, and awesome action. Altogether, Shang-Chi delivers just as we wanted.
Watch: “Run It” | Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Despite being of 2 hours 12 minutes, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings holds on to its pace in a steady fashion. No time wasted in showing more than necessary while giving the audience just the right amount of time to understand what is going in every situation. This is what makes the movie so compact and crisp. At the end of the movie, people will exit the theatre without any fatigue as such.
It gives equal importance to each kind of situation and dedicates just the right amount of time and not more. So much so, that some people might even feel that the film is fast-paced. But it isn’t. And that’s the brilliance of it. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is easily at par with Iron-Man (2008) (each movie being first of its kind), both in terms of grandeur and a succinct duration.
Shang-Chi: The Action Sequences
What sets Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings apart from all the previous MCU movies is its action. Comparatively longer takes than previous MCU movies with the camera giving a POV of a character, be it Shang-Chi or any other, make the shots much more palpable. Unlike previous MCU movies that had close hand-to-hand combat sequences, like Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and Black Panther that had a lot of cuts which ended up hiding most of the moves (deliberately or otherwise), this movie doesn’t shy away from its fights.
We get to see most of the moves made by a character clearly along with its impact through continuous shots (cuts might have been used by they are hidden cuts and used only to add to the action). The choreography merges seamlessly with the way the camera captures it to give us clear-cut fight scenes. Be it the bus fight scene, the fight scene by the glass building, the fight between Shang-Chi and his father Wenwu, or the epic fight scene between the Dweller-in-Darkness and The Great Protector, every fight was new in its own way. And let’s admit it, Martial arts never disappoints.
The origin story of Shang-Chi picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame and shows Shang-Chi AKA Shaun (Simu Liu), who is working in California as a valet with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina). When Shaun receives a cryptic message, a family reunion is what follows and he must face his past. He must protect the hidden village of Ta Lo and take a stand against his father.
As an origin story, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings do not disappoint. Marvel introduces multiple new characters in a fresh manner successfully. And thanks to the actors, each character is distinguishable from the rest. The plot all in all creates a perfect base for the next Avengers’ level threat and we’re all in for it. To whom the ten rings are sending the signal to is the most interesting trail the end credit scene leaves us with.
However, sometimes, poor lighting does take away the excitement as we struggle to see what’s going on. And there were indeed cuts in between fight sequences that tried to pull us out of them. Also, nobody can overlook Marvel’s use of CGI but we can’t really complain. Magical glowing bangles, monsters from another dimension, and two huge mystical dragons, none of these are available in fights. It may be that the production giant wasn’t able to deliver authentic Asian culture and traditions.
But let us give Marvel the time to experiment in this new genre. However, Marvel should not take this for granted. In attempting to diversify its cinematic universe, it is apparently risking repetitive mediocre portrayal of superheroes. It needs to carry out more R&D to give its diversity a proper shape and continuity.
All in all, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is solid and gives Marvel its much-needed comeback. And Simu Liu as the lead lays the blueprint for us to crave for a Shang-Chi franchise. What we have to wait and see is how far it goes or rather how far Marvel is able to take it.