Shang-Chi Review: A Spectacular Action Roll

Shang-Chi Review

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is vast, including dozens of superheroes and hundreds of characters, many of whom are linked by enigmatic organizations like SHIELD or Hydra. When SHIELD’s chief, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), recognized how vulnerable our planet was to outside dangers, a group of people called The Avengers was formed. That, I believe, includes around twenty films and a few television series. However, The Ten Rings, a wicked Asian gang led by the diabolical Mandarin, has been a hidden organization in Marvel’s long comic book history.

You’ve probably never heard of The Mandarin or the Ten Rings. You may forgive them; they’re relatively unknown in the Marvel universe, having originally appeared in a 1991 arcade game, but he is mentioned in passing in the Iron Man and Ant-Man films. The Mandarin (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) is the father of both our main hero, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), and his sister Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) in Shang-Chi And The Legend of the Ten Rings. He’s also got some control difficulties…

Wenwu is already a ruthless villain when the film begins, having been granted superhuman abilities through the 10 rings, ten bracelets that may fly off and crush objects, create electrical power bolts and otherwise make the bearer unstoppable. The power has gotten to him, and he believes he is the most badass man in the land. Until he meets the gorgeous Jiang Li (Fala Chen) deep in a jungle while on a mission to locate a secret, hidden hamlet. They are at odds. She instructs him. Shang-Chi and Xialing, their two adorable children, fall in love, marry and have two adorable children. A blissful conclusion, until Wenwu’s history, catches up with him in an encounter that ends with the death of his loving wife Jiang Li.

After her death, Wenwu loses all signs of humanity and becomes the worst kind of ultra-strict father to his children. Shang-Chi is given the duty of learning martial arts, but Xianling is not. After all, she is a young lady. When he is old enough, he sneaks away and travels to America, eventually settling in San Francisco. After a few years, he’s working as a restaurant valet with his closest friend Katy, leading an aimless existence (a hilarious Awkwafina). They drink, have a good time, and sing karaoke. But Dad isn’t finished with Shang-Chi, and just as his father’s history reared its ugly head, The Mandarin’s son is inescapable.

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The film’s first action sequence, a fight on a San Francisco city bus, is a little late to arrive. Inspired by Jackie Chan’s acrobatic fighting technique, it’s a wonderful combination of parkour and martial arts. The imposing and appropriately called Razor Fist (Florian Munteanu) and his band of thugs are Shang-enemy. Chi’s When Shang-Chi learns that Razor Fist is a member of the Ten Rings gang, he knows that his sister is also in danger. Katy, however, would not allow him to go to Macau without her, so the two of them travel to Asia to meet up with Xialing and convince Dad to ease.

Xialing, on the other hand, hasn’t ended up as a noodle lady at the neighborhood ramen restaurant; instead, she’s created an underground entertainment complex with frequent fights and a slew of rough hipsters wagering on the victors. When the Abomination (voice of Tim Roth), a sort of Hulk gone awry, appears in the middle ring, fighting Wong (Benedict Wong), last seen in Doctor Strange, we understand it’s not MMA or boxing. While the plot does not heavily rely on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are plenty of easter eggs to be found, including posters, pictures, individuals in crowd scenes, and more.

But, Dad has been driven farther into the darkness, believing that his beloved Jiang Li is imprisoned in the hamlet where she was born. He wants to set her free, but Shang-Chi, Katy, and Xialing believe it’s all a ruse to unleash the greatest evil on the planet. It’s Wenwu and the Ten Rings vs Shang-Chi, Aunty Ying, and their team of heroes as they encounter long-lost Aunty Ying Nan (Michelle Yeoh). With the addition of a few mythological creatures and a dragon or two for good measure.

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a welcome breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale Marvel universe. It manages a fantastic combination of serious, dramatic, and exciting action and humor, the latter of which is delivered by the perennially sarcastic and funny Katy Perry, as in the finest of the MCU flicks (Awkwafina). Overall Shang-Chi is filled will spectacular action sequences and another milestone for MCU.

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Taylon Desean is an author and SEO Analyst for maxblizz. Taylon is a journalist, comic-book writer, film analyst. Taylon started his career for maxblizz in 2021.

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