“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” helps Marvel Studios’ begin next chapter of MCU


Photo Credit: Jasin Boland/Marvel Studios/TNS

Simu Liu stars in the newest MCU film, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” in theaters beginning September 3.

Jared Knobloch, Editor-In-Chief

  As Marvel Studios’ “Phase Four” begins on the movie front, we saw a great farewell story to a beloved Avenger, Black Widow. This month, we see an entirely new hero on screen in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” Starring Simu Liu, the story follows martial arts master Shang-Chi as he discovers that his past has caught up with him, and now must face the challenges that come with it, as well as take a closer look at his family’s legacy.

   The first act opens up with a really compelling story on Shang-Chi’s childhood, and as this is a superhero film, it is always helpful to explain how the hero in question receives or develops their abilities. While the visuals were not amazing, it got the job done, and we saw choreography that any martial art production would be proud of. It was clear that Director Destin Daniel Cretton was going for a “get your popcorn and enjoy the show” type of vibe. While that was great, and credited the film positively, diehard fans might be a bit disappointed when they find out it is a shell of a movie.

   Given a rating of 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it is surprising it passed the 80 percent mark at all. The movie focuses more on showing off what Shang-Chi can do, versus what the larger picture will look like with his presence (at least until the end of the film). Liu does a fantastic job of playing the character, and will have a bright future within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Another interesting mention is the character of Katy, played by Awkwafina. She comes in as Shang-Chi’s best friend and yet also somehow a sidekick, with no previous explanation of any combat skill at all, which in all honesty, made no sense.

   Simply put, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” doesn’t feel like a Marvel movie. That is the most disappointing part of it all, as previously mentioned. Over the years, Marvel Studios has built a reputation as building a vast universe while maintaining high quality movies. While “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” isn’t a low quality movie, one must really question whether they could have executed the story better or not.

   But as they say, give credit where credit is due. Post credits to be exact. Be sure to stay after the film ends, because in classic Marvel fashion, two post movie scenes really show how these characters fit into that larger picture, while being one of the best parts of the film. 

   This movie really felt like “Black Panther,” in the sense that it dove into another culture and was able to represent a culture so diverse and deep, giving a look in from the outside, which was wonderful. What gives “Black Panther” the edge however, is how T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) was given a soft debut in “Captain America: Civil War” versus Shang-Chi, who was really quite honestly thrown in the deep end. It could’ve positively boosted his fanbase if he had an appearance in another MCU film, such as “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” which takes place in San Francisco, where Shang-Chi is found at the beginning of the movie. Even if it was just a cameo, seeing Shang-Chi in the MCU before his official solo run, very well may have helped his ease into this vast franchise.

   Overall, this movie is given a seven and a half out of ten, because while the CGI was fun and the action scenes were actually quite good, the storyline could’ve used a tune up, and the quick transitions left many questions unanswered. The character of Liu’s Shang-Chi will definitely grow on audiences with time and future installments in the MCU, there is no question about that. But until that comes, his solo movie will have to do. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is now in theaters.