Review of the Legendary ‘Shang-Chi’



Simone Chery, OwlFeed News Reporter


“Avengers, Assemble.”


“Wakanda Forever.”

Deriving from the eminent realm of the MCU, and coming from the same world as Captain America, Iron Man, and even Black Panther,  Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is an engrossing and refreshing new movie and was released September 3, 2021. 

Following in the order of the Avengers timeline, this movie unveils the story of the life of Shang-Chi (Simu Liu). Trained to be an assassin from a young age by his powerful near-immortal father, the owner of the ancient ten rings, Shang-Chi is living in San Francisco in an effort to get away from his past life when he is abruptly pulled back into his father’s ten ring organization to find that he’s faced with fighting in a war against the man who raised him.

The movie starts out with the story of Xu Wenwu, the owner of the ten rings, who has lived his entire life striving for power and money though he had it all. Meeting the only other person who can defeat him in his search for power in Ta Lo, the legend of a village with immense power, to his surprise also meets the love of his life, Ying Li, the guardian of her village.

Springing into the life of Shang-Chi, whose alias is now Shawn, he tries to live a normal life as a valet driver in San Francisco with Katy, his immature friend alongside him. Unfortunately, his past that shadows him won’t stay away as it pulls “Shawn” back in, revealing his childhood to the people close to him. 

Raised to be an assassin, his father, Xu Wenwu comes to retrieve his son and his daughter along with the important pendants given to them by their mother which assists in leading anyone who has them to her secret village. What they don’t know is that their father is being manipulated by a demon pretending to be his deceased wife, leading to a war between the family in an effort to protect the only thing left of their mother, which is the Ta Lo village from the owner of the ten rings and the Dweller of Darkness he is going to release.

As the MCU enters Phase 4, with the introduction of new heroes and the difficult responsibilities that come with their powers, Shang-Chi plays a crucial role in this stage. 

Throughout the movie, romance had played a part in the plot alongside action-packed fighting scenes which incorporated many fighting styles from the wuxia genre. The wuxia genre includes martial arts throughout Chinese fiction which is very famous in Asian movies and has made its fair share of appearances in this one. Not only was romance and action demonstrated, but humor also encompassed the plotline leaving laughter to beautifully synchronize in the theater alongside the despairing attributes in the movie, truly balancing it out.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

The Director of Shang-Chi, Destin Daniel Cretton, stated on, that the movie is a “combination of humor and optimism but also not shying away from the very real darkness and pain… journey of self-discovery, of growing up, of learning how to finally deal with pain that he’s been running away from his entire life.” 

The movie was one enjoyed by many and the blend of qualities supports the rating of 92% rotten tomatoes and a 98% audience score. Being that Avengers: Endgame was the top-grossing film of 2020, Endgame currently holds the second with a $2.797 billion box office haul, is good news and reveals the appreciation for Shang-Chi from the fans as Avengers: Endgame holds a 94% rotten tomatoes score and 90% audience score.

A major part of the appreciation coming from the fans also emanates from the significant representation of minorities. An Asian-led superhero film has even been said to equal the cultural significance of Black Panther.

¨What is extra relevant to the culture is that this is a Marvel film,” Cretton stated. “If we were not putting Shang-Chi shoulder-to-shoulder with all the amazing other Marvel Super Heroes that we’ve come to love in the past, that would be, to me, a big disservice to the culture and the character. Both are equally important.” 

Along with the representation that brought strong regards from the fans, excitement flourished from the seated Marvel fans in the theater as familiar MCU side characters and heroes made an appearance in Shang-Chi. From Doctor Strange, Wong, played by Benedict Wong, was introduced, Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) from Iron Man 3 was a prominent side character in both movies, and surprisingly Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) with a brief reveal in the post-credits.

This inclusion of the other MCU characters and the entirety of the movie with the introduction of Shang-Chi creates an eagerness for the other up-and-coming movies as part of Phase 4. Up next and anticipated is the new Marvel movie The Eternals which might even have the superhero Shang-Chi appear on-screen alongside them, for now, we’ll just have to wait and see.