Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Review
Marvel is back with their second big screen release of the year, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Unlike Black Widow, Shang-Chi does not feature a previously introduced character as its lead, so this movie feels like an all-new adventure exploring uncharted territory. Much like Black Panther, Shang-Chi takes us into a whole new world with incredible action unlike anything in the franchise so far.
Shang-chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings follows Shang-chi (Simu Liu), a man trying to run away from his heritage, so he now goes by Sean. He lives in San Francisco and works alongside his best friend, Katie (Awkwafina), wasting his potential as a valet. His mother passed away some years ago and he is now estranged from his father and sister. After some assassins attack Sean and Katie while riding the bus one day, Sean must reveal his hidden incredible abilities. He was trained as a martial arts master by his father and mother since he was a small child. Once he learns the assassins were sent by his father, he must reunite with his sister, Xialing (Meng'er Zhang), and confront their past...which includes finding a way into their mother's magical world. Together they must save it before their father destroys it.
Shang-Chi has a lot going for it. As already mentioned, the action is fantastic; some of the action sequences here are the best that Marvel has ever done. In particular, the aforementioned bus sequence, as well as the action sequence quickly after he reunites with his sister keep your eyes glued to the screen for every second. The leads here are likable too, even if Awkwafina feels incredibly shoehorned into the last act. Not all of the humor here works, but it felt a lot less unobtrusive than in some other Marvel films. I also appreciated the hero/villain conflict between the father and son all throughout and leading to the last act, I just wish the finale wasn't so dependent on the CGI extravaganza that surrounds it. All in all though, Shang-chi is top-tier Marvel because it feels so unique. It doesn't feel as paint by numbers as some of the others and for that...it feels refreshing.