“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” offers an action-packed film

By Kailyn Lunn, Contributing Writer

Marvel’s latest film, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” delivered a refreshing perspective to the franchise while maintaining their well-known strengths.

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” directed by Destin Cretton, followed ex-assassin Shang-Chi while he confronted a past that he thought he left behind. He escaped to San Francisco, changed his name to Shaun, and worked as a valet with his best friend Katy until the Ten Rings organization found him. Xu Wenwu, the leader of the organization, is also his father. Shang-Chi realized he must defeat Wenwu to protect his family and the world.

The film contained every element expected of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and exceeded those expectations. “Shang-Chi” had the best action sequences directed by the franchise since “Avengers: Endgame.”

The choreography of the fight scenes created an atmosphere that felt more like watching a dance routine. This allowed viewers to enjoy the action without becoming overwhelmed. The late Brad Allan coordinated the scenes and frequently collaborated with Jackie Chan throughout his career. The film acted as a nod to Asian cinema.

“Shang-Chi” is the MCU’s first Asian-led film and featured a predominantly East-Asian cast. In 2020, the FBI reported a 70% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. This caused “Shang-Chi” to be Marvel’s most important release since “Black Panther.” Franchises as successful as Marvel must represent all heroes. One film can’t possibly resolve all of Hollywood’s ills, but it’s an excellent start.

The characters helped the film resonate with the audience. Shang-Chi lacked the arrogance of Iron Man and the eloquence of Captain America. He’s timid and allowed to be vulnerable, which is rare for a male lead, but it made him more relatable.

His best friend, Katy, was no different than the average sidekick at first. However, the writers gave her an opportunity to grow and become a warrior like Shang-Chi. She provided a comedic element that is beloved in the MCU. The characters Trevor and his Hundun companion Morris also brought comedy to the film. They did not contribute much to the plot, but they aided Shang-Chi in the end and frequently made other viewers in the theater laugh, much like Korg and Miek from “Thor: Ragnarok.”

Xu Wenwu’s character was beautifully written. He came equipped with a dark history and a purpose. His charged his actions with the desire to reunite with the love of his life. I knew I couldn’t root for him, but my heart broke for him by the end of the film.

“Shang-Chi” is an excellent addition to the MCU but still can stand on its own. Cretton utilized the characters, setting and overall message of the film to create a visual and emotional experience that was unforgettable.

Viewers questioned how the MCU and film are connected and where Shang-Chi will fall in oncoming releases. The Ten Rings organization first appeared in “Iron Man” when they kidnapped Tony Stark, and “Shang-Chi” featured cameos from many familiar characters, but what’s next?

It is unlikely that Shang-Chi will appear in Marvel’s current plans for Phase 4, but with his new connections to the Avengers, fans expect to see him soon.

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