“Shang Chi & The Legend of the Ten Rings” was directed Destin Daniel Cretton, is based on the Marvel comic books and is the 25th film in Marvel’s cinematic universe. The film stars Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh. Benedict Wong & Ben Kingsley reprise their characters from 2016’s “Doctor Strange” and 2013’s “Iron Man 3”. This film follows the events of “Avengers: Endgame” as well as retracts the events of “Iron Man 3” and the 2014’s short film “All Hail The King”. The characters here exists throughout the MCU but are primarily mentioned in the “Iron Man” trilogy.
Thousands of years ago, Xu Wenwu (Leung) discover ten mystical rings that grant powers and immortality. In 1996, Wenwu goes in searching for the Legend of Tao Lo, a hidden village which was rumored the home of mystical creatures that harness unique powers. His plan is thwarted by the village’s guard, a young woman, Ying Li. The 2 fall in love, get married and have 2 children, a son and daughter. Despite, Wenwu’s power from the rings and Li’s mastery of multiple forms of martial arts, enemies in search of the 10 rings still come for the family. The son, Shang, was only 7 when he witnessed his mother’s death. Wenwu vowed to seek revenge and trained both his children to be assassin warriors. At the age of 14, Shang is sent to America to kill a member of the Iron Gang, who were responsible for Li’s death. However, he abandons the mission and lives quietly in San Francisco. In the present day, Shang, now going by Shaun (Liu) works as a valet with his best friend, Katy (Awkwafina) who is unaware of his past. One day, they are attacked by a group of men who represent the 10 rings. With no other alternatives, Shaun & Katy venture to find Shaun’s sister, Xialing (Zhang) who runs an underground fight club. Together, they must prevent their father’s plan to destroy Li’s village and finish his mission he began before he met Li. Untold darkness and evil awaits all those who dare tamper with these mystical creatures for greed or revenge. Shaun, Katy & Xialing must stop their father before he unleashes an ancient evil onto the world.
This film had everything a Marvel origin story needs and mixed with some very impressive fight scenes made this film all that much better. If you’ve seen “Black Panther”, “Thor”, “Doctor Strange” or “Captain America: The Avenger”, you’ve basically know the outcome and certain plot points of this movie. The martial arts in the film is what separates from the rest. Those scenes are call back some of the great martial art movies of the 80s & 90s like “Rumble In The Bronx” with Jackie Chan or “Black Mask” with Jet Li. The performances are top notch from Liu, Awkwafina and Leung. The father son dichotomy is cliche but it works here as the foundation of the character arches. Zhang’s performance is great as Xialing but its kind of short for a character driven story. She makes the best of her screen time, but me personally just wanted to see more. My only complaint are the comparisons to other Marvel movies. The 10 rings should’ve been something different entirely and the argument is there but in my opinion its a typical Marvel origin story.
Overall, it was nice Marvel go a different route as far as tone and look but still makes the same stops along the way. The performances are great, the action sequences are top notch and the comedy is good and despite its cliches, its still a fine action flick worth of the Marvel banter and hopefully these characters will return for a new adventure soon.