6 Thoughts on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is here and it was awesome! I was very excited for this movie, excited to see martial arts done right on the big screen and excited for the newness of the whole endeavor. I’m also a big fan of representation in media, so I was excited to see Marvel bring an Asian main character into the MCU.
Movie Rating: 8/10 – Very Good.
I wasn’t as completely blown away by the movie as I was hoping to be. I had really high hopes for Shang-Chi, and they were mostly met. It’s another fine, enjoyable Marvel movie. I liked everybody in the movie and I definitely look forward to everyone showing up again, both in a sequel and in some future team-ups. I look forward to them joining the circus, and I hope the success Shang-Chi has seen at the box office during the pandemic is more than enough for Marvel to greenlight sequels and more.
Join me after the jump for my thoughts and review on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Expect FULL SPOILERS for the movie.
6. It’s an awesome flick
I very much enjoyed Shang-Chi, it’s an awesome film, and I don’t have much more to say than that. It’s awesome overall. I don’t think there is any singular moment that has really stuck with him, or that I’d be excited to watch again someday. It’s just an overall enjoyable action film. All of the pieces work. The main actor is a nice, likeable dude, the comedic sidekick is really developed, the villain is pretty much perfect and the story keeps it all together nicely. I liked the humor, I liked the action, I liked the fight scenes; the only part I didn’t care for was the big CGI craziness in the ending, but we’ll get to that. Everything else about the movie was really fun.
I loved Trevor Slattery’s reappearance, I thought he was funny and made for a nice supporting character. I don’t really care about Morris, did nothing for me. I loved Bladefist’s face turn during the final battle. One of my favorite tropes in fiction is when bad guys are logical and reasonable enough to join the good guys against a greater threat, so that scene totally worked for me. I liked the use of the ten rings as a weapon. I liked the action scenes, obviously. It’s an all-around awesome flick.
5. Simu Liu and the cast are excellent
This was another superbly cast Marvel movie. I’ve been following Simu Liu’s antics on social media and the dude is so fun and relatable. This role and this fame couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. And he does a fine job carrying the film. He’s great in the fights and he’s great in the quieter character moments. I’ve been a fan of Awkwafina for years and I loved her in this movie. I think she’s really funny, and she was given some solid material to work with, and then got boosted to some dramatic and actiony stuff. I’m glad the comedic sidekick was given a fighting role in the third act. That was great.
Tony Chiu was phenomenal as Wenwu. I loved the villain’s motivation and I thought he worked great as the antagonist. That he’s this legend of Chinese cinema making his Hollywood debut is pretty neat as well. I feel like a fool for even commenting on it, I’m so insignificant compared to him. But still neat!
4. The sister didn’t work for me until the very, very end
The only character I didn’t really feel was the sister, Xialing. I dunno, she just didn’t do anything for me. She seemed pretty cool, and the actor did a fine job, the character as a whole just didn’t really add anything to the movie for me. Until the second credits scene at the very end, where she took over the Ten Rings. That clicked everything together for me and now I’m very exciting to see that whole thing erupt somewhere in the future.
3. I could have used way less giant CGI monster ending
As much as I enjoyed the movie, I was not a big fan of the giant CGI monster battle in the ending. The Guardian dragon was cool and supportive, but then the soul-eater burst out of that wall and appeared to be just some generic, devilish-looking monster. Not interesting in the least. And then it was just those two giant monsters fighting each other in the sky. I couldn’t care less. There’s definitely a problem when your main characters literally disappear because they’re hidden somewhere in the fur and scales of the giant CGI monsters. I was not a fan. Though I did enjoy how Shang-Chi did eventually defeat the soul-eater, and I really liked the smash cut to Shang-Chi and Katy telling their friend the story over dinner. So it all ended well, but the giant CGI monster fight was not for me.
2. I could have used way more emotional character moments
I was especially disappointed because the time spent on giant CGI monsters could have been better spent on a few more emotional moments between the characters. During the fight between Shang-Chi and Wenwu, there’s a moment where they stop fighting and try to talk it out…only for the soul-eater to interrupt. I thought for a moment that the finale was going to be father and son actually talking, and Shang-Chi successfully convincing his father to stop his evil plans. I thought it was going to be a really strong emotional moment…but nope, giant CGI monster arrival.
Likewise, I really enjoyed the scene at lakeside between Shang-Chi and Katy. He tells her he’s going down a dark path, and plans to kill his father. And she is visibly speechless, unable to come up with anything to say to help her friend. By this point in the movie, their friendship was on the backburner, despite being a really strong part of the first half of the film. I would have loved a follow-up scene or two where Katy does find the words to say. I would have loved a scene where Katy gets a pep talk from Auntie Nan or someone to remind her what she brings to the table, and why she’s still in the movie…and then she passes that on to Shang-Chi and we get a really strong, emotional scene between the two of them in the climax. I love that she got to fire that all-important arrow, but I would have loved more to capitalize on their friendship in the climax.
Also, I totally ‘ship Shang-Chi and Katy. They would be a great couple.
1. I hope the ten rings are going to be a lot more
I spent a good portion of the movie wondering if we would get an origin story for the ten rings. We got so many flashbacks, learned so many stories and how all these different things were connected, but we never got the story of where Wenwu found the ten rings in the first place. Where’d he get them? How’d he get them? But then the movie ended with no explanation…for about half the credits. I was satisfied in how they explained something about the rings, even if not their true origin. They successfully teased me for future stories discovering how the rings are a beacon and that they are contacting somebody. And I hope the answer is really damn cool! Perhaps it’ll be similar to the comics, and the rings will be literal rings from intergalactic dragon fingers. They are large enough in the MCU.
(And I’m perfectly happy with the revamped rings for the MCU instead of comics-accurate Mandarin rings.)
I very much look forward to the characters and plots of this movie continuing elsewhere in the universe. I want to see Shang-Chi and Katy again and soon as possible. I want to learn the origins of the ten rings (and I hope they’re not connected to the Eternals). I want to see the Ten Rings organization do some bad stuff. Bring it on!
Posted on September 8, 2021, in Lists of Six!, Marvel, Movies and tagged Awkwafina, Marvel Cinematic Universe, MCU, Shang-Chi, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Simu Liu. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.