Movie Review: Shang-Chi and The Legend Of The ten Rings
'Shang-Chi' delivers an action packed experience that may carry some of Marvel's flaws.
By Sal LoCicero | September 3rd, 2021
Marvel Studios latest original movie has finally arrived, ‘Shang-Chi and The Legend Of The Ten Rings’, and It has been a while since we last got a superhero origin story from Marvel that was actually good. Captain Marvel didn’t succeed at that, and Black Panther was fine, although it suffered from its flaws. Doctor Strange (2016) was the last redeemable origin movie that was both fun, magical and original. The same thing goes with Shang-Chi as well.
If there is any good reason to go back to movie theaters and see a big movie on the big screen again, this is one of the best examples. ‘Shang-Chi’ is an edge of your seat thrill ride full of spectacular action sequences. It’s story feels brand new and unlike anything we’ve encountered before from this cinematic universe. A breath of fresh air that doesn’t need a big superhero character to fill in for audiences enjoyment. Getting to know these characters; like Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), his friend Katy (Awkwafina), and Leiko Wu (Fala Chen) along the way, they become even more likable. The chemistry between Simu Liu and Awkwafina is one of the best parts of the movie.
The story itself is very entertaining especially since this is a character that hasn’t been introduced or referenced in any movies. We get to know his backstory, his childhood and how it made him who he is now. It brings up great messages about family, growth, bravery, and understanding oneself. Although, some of it was reminiscent of 2018's Black Panther, with the same messages relating to both family and understanding.
This is one of the very few marvel movies that you will actually enjoy for what it is, and not just because it is part of any universe. In some ways, it doesn’t feel like a Marvel movie, and that is absolutely fine. The best parts about ‘Shang-Chi’ is when it feels like an original tale
When it comes to the action sequences, this is one of the best. The fight choreography is incredible and how it was all filmed is mindblowing. There are no overexaggerated cut scenes every second into it. Director Daniel Deston Cretton is able to show off everything that is occurring very clearly and sometimes in one extended take; which only adds to the immersive experience of seeing it on the big screen.
However, like most marvel movies, it's not without its flaws. That same brand of humor, that’s in all of these movies, is in this one too. For most of the runtime, it works, but there are times where it overstays its welcome. The second act could’ve used a little more energy instead of slowing a lot down. A fight sequence near the movie’s opening dragged out for such an unnecessary period of time. Marvel Studios constantly shoots their films on sets with green screens that fill up the entire room, and there are a few shots in Shang-Chi that make it obvious.
The start of Phase 4 has been a bit rough and uneven, and while ‘Shang-Chi’ may not be Marvel’s most greatest work, it could lead to better creations for the future - if Marvel is willing to try out more new strategies.