Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) MCU Review

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Writers: Dave Callaham, Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham

Stars: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung

RATING: 4 Stars

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After escaping the harsh life of the ten rings, and the tyranny of his father as a child, Martial Arts master Shang Chi has been living an unassuming life in San Francisco. When he unexpected gets drawn back into his fathers world, he must confront his past in order to help defend his mothers mystical homeland from the Ten Rings and the ancient horror they are planning to unleash on the world.

All the amazing hype and praise I saw for this film before it’s release made me so anxious to see it myself. I am a huge MCU fan, so I knew I wasn’t going t dislike the film per-se, but sometimes that degree of hype can lead to a disappointing experience. But not in this case. This film deserves all the praise that it receives.

In Shang Chi, we definitely step away from the normal Marvel formula. And that is something that is needed at this point in the franchise. Twenty odd movies in, you need to start experimenting with new things to stop the story from feeling stale, and they hit that right on the head. There’s a bit of Jackie Chan in here, a bit of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and probably a bunch of Martial Arts films I have never seen or heard of. But it made for a very different visual style for the film, as well as a very different kind of combat then we are used to seeing in the MCU, all of which helped to make this feel like a much fresher addition to the universe.

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When a cast for a film looks like this one, Tony Leung, Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, Simu Liu, you are going to get a whole bunch of really awesome performances. And I can’t fault a single one. The humour was delivered perfectly, the action was delivered perfectly, and this film has a surprising amount of heart and emotion in it, which of course, with a cast this talented, was also delivered flawlessly. The family dynamics in this film were just amazing, and gave those characters such a rich and interesting background. No-one was a wholly good or bad character, they all had flaws they had to overcome, which is much more depth then we have received with some previous Marvel characters.

There is a lot of exposition and world building going on though, probably because they had a lot of mythology and backstory to get into the film to explain what was going on. Which at times, particularly right near the beginning, could slow that pace down a little, but it does all go towards building the mythos of a new character, so I’m not too mad about it.

This film has two credit scenes one mid and one post. The mid credit scene features some familiar faces, and is an important one for so many reasons, clearly setting up future stories in the MCU, even if the entire car ride home was trying to figure out which ones. And the post Credit scene t me is either setting up for a sequel, or for a return appearance in another MCU property, either way, you won’t want to leave before the credits finish rolling.

It’s great to be back in the MCU again.

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is out in UK cinemas Now!

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