A Legend is Born


Promotional Poster Supplied: Marvel Studios

Andre Chabra, Staff Writer

On September 3rd the latest installment in the expansive, entertaining, and exhilarating Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was released. It’s a special treat you do not want to miss.

Shang-Chi was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and was written by Cretton, Dave Callaham, and Andrew Lanham. Shang-Chi is Marvel’s first movie with an Asian superhero in the lead role. Simu Liu, from Kim’s Convenience, takes on the role of Shang-Chi, the master of Kung Fu. The movie also stars Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Michelle Yeoh, and Tony Leung. 

In the film, Shang-Chi is trained from a young age to become a living weapon and a martial arts master by his father Wenwu (Leung). Wenwu, also known as The Mandarin, is the leader of the Ten Rings terrorist organization. Wenwu is also the wielder of the Ten Rings, which are mighty weapons of unknown origin. Shang-Chi eventually runs away and hides from his father for several years where he meets and becomes best friends with Awkwafina’s Katy. The story starts as Shang-Chi is suddenly forced back into his old life where he must confront his father and a threat that could end the world. 

It’s a special treat you do not want to miss.

— Andre Chabra

At first, the movie may sound like your typical hero story where the hero must learn about themselves and accept who they are while along a journey to face a supervillain in a formulaic CGI extravaganza of a final battle. Shang-Chi’s action scenes take the movie above and beyond those expectations. The film expertly mixes the fighting styles from classic martial arts movies, like the ones starring Jackie Chan, with the astounding CGI of today. For example, the climactic battle between Shang-Chi and Wenwu, where they engage in a no-holds-barred battle utilizes both Kung Fu fight choreography and the CGI Ten Rings. Shang-Chi and Wenwu not only fight with martial arts in one part and CGI in another, but also unite the two by having the Ten Rings controlled by their combat movements. 

Besides the fight scenes, the story is on par with Black Panther for superhero origin stories. The performances by Leung and Liu are truly top-tier. I rarely ever feel any strong emotions while watching a movie, but the way Leung played the villain definitely tugged at the heartstrings. He expertly switches between Wenwu as the loving father and Wenwu as the relentless warlord, leader of the Ten Rings. He does this so well that the viewer almost forgets about the other side of the character. Even without dialogue, Leung’s expressions and demeanor make it clear what version of Wenwu he is currently trying to present to the audience. This movie is worth watching if for nothing else, just to witness Leung take the rather strange and over-the-top Iron Man villain from the comics and turn him into a bad guy you want to root for simply because he is so fun to watch. 

Some other notable performances include Awkwafina. She effortlessly sells that she and Liu are best friends from the get-go with their amazing on-screen chemistry. Even though things get rather bizarre as the movie progresses, the two are always there for each other. 

In her film debut, Zhang was excellent as Xialing, Shang-Chi’s sister. Xialing is smart, cunning, and a capable fighter as demonstrated in a scene where she beats Shang-Chi himself.

Overall, the performances and the expert fighting scenes exceed expectations in every way. The movie is not only full of exciting action scenes but also features compelling relationships between characters and a bit of humor. I mean, it’s totally normal for a portal to open up in a bar…right? 

To put it simply, it’s an amazing film…so just see it already!

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