“Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is, in my opinion, a breath of fresh air and a return to form for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only was there just as much fan service and comedic breaks as any other Marvel film, but it was also only the second of the franchise to star a person of color. The aspects of the film that made it just a cut above the others was the fight choreography, story line, and acting, as they were exceptional compared to other recent marvel films.
Let’s start with the fight choreography. Although there is the basic action packed fight sequences that we are used to from the Marvel repertoire, Shang Chi takes it one step further by adding impulses from Chinese culture. Another interesting aspect to notice regarding the fight choreography is how it tells a story while it is happening. These fight scene are able to convey emotions of love, revenge, even triumph. During my viewing of this incredible production, one of the fight scenes was expressed so beautifully that it truly made me believe that two characters were falling in love, while another made me actually gasp in fear, because the intensity was so vivid.
In regards to the plot of the film, the most interesting point that I gathered is that the antagonist has layers, his goal was not villainy for villainy’s sake, but a misguided attempt of love. I was also pleasantly surprised that the story did not follow the road map of a traditional origin story, as it added a few twists that, judging from the gasps of other theater-goers, many were not expecting. Lastly, the film didn’t shy away from the Chinese cultural elements, rather, they embraced them in ways I was not expecting.
And the acting! I was amazed with Shimu Liu’s stellar performance as the leading man, and his display of his range as an actor. I can confidently say that every moment Liu was on screen was used perfectly. The way he displayed his character’s anger, fears, and happiness was really a sight to behold on the big screen. The rest of the cast featured in this film were spectacular, but I want to take another moment to highlight the incredible acting of Awkwafina. For me, her performance was surprising. The reason behind this being that every role I have seen Awkwafina embody before was in a comedic fashion, and although she definitely has some serious strengths within comedy, in this film there were multiple times where her character needed to show extreme vulnerability and deep emotion, and I was thoroughly moved by her acting prowess.
Overall, I would give “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” an 8.5 out of 10 due to the phenomenal work of the camera crew and stunning fight choreography, story, and acting. The only complaint I could have is that some parts of the soundtrack seemed a little bit boring for the excitement of the film, and the special effects could have been a little bit smoother.
I can wholeheartedly recommend this as a must-see film, and I encourage everyone to take some time to sit down and enjoy this new branch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!