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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)


Shang-Chi is the latest Marvel movie and introduces us to an all-new set of characters. It does have a tie-in to Dr. Strange as Wong makes a few appearances. Shang-Chi, or Shaun, is played by Simu Liu of Kim’s Convenience fame. He has also worked as a stunt performer previously. Awkwafina plays his best friend Katy. If you want to see more of her range, go watch The Farewell. I did appreciate the brother-sister dynamic as I am a Sean and my sister is a Cady. The cast is rounded out by Xu Wenwu, Shang-Chi’s father, played by Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Xialing, Shang-Chi’s sister played by Meng’er Zhang, and their mother Ying Nan played by Michelle Yeoh.

The film bounces between San Francisco, Macau, and the bamboo forests of East Asia. It does a good job of acknowledging the culture and appropriately casting people from where the film is set. The film also brings both kung fu and Wuxia to the MCU. Xu Wenwu is a powerful immortal with his ten rings. He relies on kung fu skills and trains his son and army in the art of kung fu. Ying Nan is more graceful and fights in the style of Wuxia films. Shang-Chi learns to harness both skills.

Disney made a live-action Mulan that they attempted to make into a Wuxia film and failed horribly. Cutting between cameras is a cheap way of editing action sequences. In Wuxia films the camera never changes. This film did a great job of not interrupting camera shots and bringing some elements of kung fu and Wuxia to a wider audience. If you need an entry point to Wuxia, look no further than Hero.

After The latest Avengers movie, the MCU got to do a reset and bring in more storylines. Introductory films have been hit and miss in the past, but Shang-Chi is a hit. It stands well on its own and should be enjoyable to people who don’t watch every single MCU property. Destin Daniel Cretton did a great job in the director’s chair and the film was not edited to a half-inch of its life. Go and see this wonderful film on a big screen.

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