A review of the new blockbuster movie “Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings”

This is a movie which has to be seen on the big screen and I saw it on the biggest screen in Britain (the BFI IMAX). It is the first work in the now huge Marvel Cinematic Universe with an Asian lead: Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu in his first film role.

Indeed almost all the roles are taken by actors with some Asian ethnicity and, while we have many of the usual Marvel superhero tropes, much of the style is Chinese with lots of wuxia action, a live forest and a huge dragon. Think “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” meets “Doctor Strange”. The director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton is himself from Hawaii which probably helped. 

There are some strong roles for women including Shang-Chi’s mother Li (Chinese-American Fala Chen), sister Xialing (Chinese Meng’er Zhang) and aunt Jiang Nan (Malaysian-born Han Chinese Michelle Yeoh), but the stand-out female role goes to Shang-Chi’s (platonic?) friend Katy played by the funny and talented Awkwafina, the American rapper with Chinese and South Korean ethnicity, who I loved in “The Farewell”.

As you would hope in a superhero movie, there are some great fight sequences and a ferocious final battle with excellent special effects, even if the plot is pretty formulaic, all leavened with some humour. 

Fans of Marvel movies – which includes me – know to stay in the cinema to the conclusion of the credits because there is always a little bit extra and this time we have an extended mid-credits sequence and a snippet at the very end when we are told “The Ten Rings Will Return”.

In these complicated times when cinemas are back open but covid is still around, we need a cheering blockbuster and it’s excellent news that this superhero movie – in which most viewers don’t know the titular character or most of the actors – is doing so well at the box office.  And, if you’ve never seen a Marvel movie, be assured that this one stands alone so that no previous knowledge is required.


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