This weekend sees the long-awaited release of Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, starring Simu Liu as the titular hero. At the same time, Awkwafina plays his BFF Katy, and Hong Kong legend Tony Leung is his estranged father, Xu Wenwu, also known as The Mandarin in comic book lore.
Our own Jimmy O caught this several weeks ago and gave it a strong 8/10, praising the action sequences and Liu’s star-making performance, along with the strong direction by Short Term 12‘s Destin Daniel Cretton. Over on Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an excellent 93% fresh rating.
I saw this myself at CinemaCon in Las Vegas last week, and overall I enjoyed it as much as I usually enjoy Marvel films. I thought the film had a terrific first act, with a solid action-beat to introduce Shang-Chi set on a bus (which is almost as good as a similar scene in this year’s Nobody). Unfortunately for me, the movie got bogged down once they hit China, and the film became more spectacle-driven in the MCU way fans expect. I think my most significant criticism is that with all the action and reveals of the second and third act, Simu Liu as Shang-Chi takes a bit of a back seat. They spend so much time setting up Akwafina’s Katy (who I liked) and Meng’er Zhang as Shang-Chi’s sister that he becomes a supporting player in his own movie. If you’re hanging a franchise on a new leading man, you should give him enough screen time to dominate. Marvel almost tried to do too much, but all that said, I still really enjoyed the film. It’s entertaining, with Leung a charismatic villain and Liu likeable as the happy-go-lucky, pathos-free hero. Shang-Chi is so much of a boy scout in this movie, he makes Captain America look like Snake Plissken, but I digress. The cast is solid, the direction is excellent, and if you’re looking for a movie to watch on the big screen, this is it.
But enough about what I thought, what we want to know is what you guys thought, so make sure to let us know in the talkbacks below!