Movie review: “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”


The Catalyst / Hannah Nebres

Promotional poster found at Redwood City movie theater.

Two months after the release of “Black Widow”, Marvel launched another movie into their expanding universe: the star-studded “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”.

The film starred Simu Liu as Shaun, who begins the movie in San Francisco working at a valet booth with his friend Katy, played by Awkafina. Soon after introducing the duo, an intense brawl breaks out on a public bus between Shaun and a group of hitmen, revealing his hidden identity: Shang Chi. The rest of the movie follows Shang-Chi as he rediscovers his past and with it a complicated web of relationships, traditions, and danger.

The film bursts with mesmerizing colors and provides a visually pleasing setting. Once the audience reaches the villages of the mystical Ta Lo, viewers are treated to its lush scenery and bright green colors. The film also contained tense and captivating fight scenes that made it difficult not to pay attention and left the theater silent with anticipation.

While the movie had aesthetically appealing scenes, it does not mean the movie lacked substance. Each scene felt like it had a purpose, with no filler scenes.

However, the film sparked controversy after many moviegoers noticed numerous actors found in “Shang-Chi” were also in the cast of “Crazy Rich Asians”. Rational arguments have asserted the considerable lack of Asian representation in media is due to the same few Asian actors showing up in such films.

While Hollywood and its movie industry still have a long way to go regarding diversity in casting, “Shang-Chi” has made a monumental step. The unfavorable chatter does not take away from “Shang-Chi” being Marvel’s stand-alone film with an Asian superhero. It is an important milestone to be talked about and appreciated.

“Shang-Chi” does not bombard viewers with Marvel Cinematic Universe references; so, Marvel superfans, casual Marvel enjoyers, and others unfamiliar with Marvel alike can all enjoy. The film contains an essential theme of family, as it explores dealing with the effects of past family members and how to follow the legacy they have left. It is definitely a worthwhile watch, so don’t miss out on “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”.