Sunday, September 12, 2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - Movie Review


   Back for a quick movie review! 
   My oldest son and I caught the newest Marvel movie - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - and we both enjoyed it, with a few caveats.

   I've been a fan of the character since I picked up his first appearance in Special Marvel Edition in 1973. 

   Obviously, the film version had to make some changes - so gone is his costume and his "original" father, Fu Manchu, now replaced by a modern (and no longer offensive) version of the classic villain, The Mandarin

   There are lots of things to like about this movie, the most important one being: the actors are all terrific! Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi, and is charismatic, charming and very convincing as an action star. 

   His best friend Katy is played by Awkwafina, a heartfelt and very funny role, and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung is amazing as Xu Wenwu, the master of the ten rings.

   The story follows Shang-Chi, who's trying to build a life for himself - but he's drawn back into conflict with his father (who has an amazing backstory), and to ultimately discover the hidden secrets behind his mother's past - and a force that threatens the world.

   Along the way there are lots of great fighting sequences (those work best when they're done in the "real world" - not via CGI). There's lots of humor and some touching moments, as well.
   The film's only problem is that it tries to pack too much... well, stuff... into the story, especially in the chaos of the final act. (And like any first Marvel movie, there's always some origin-itis to deal with.)

   But it's a great start for the hero and there are plenty of plot threads to continue over into the next film in the series.

   It reminds me a lot of the first Black Panther movie - a film that breaks new ground, broadens the Marvel horizons, and plants many seeds for future stories - and is centered around a hero with amazing potential. 

   I'm also happy to finally learn the proper pronunciation of the hero's name - since 1973 I've been calling him SHANG ("HANG" with an "SHH" in front of it) CHEE, and only now do I find out that it's SHAUNG CHEE. You learn something new every day!


Grade: A-

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