Denise's CornerMovies

Film Review: “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings”

Hi everyone!

We previewed “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings”, which debuts September 3rd, 2021 in theaters. This surprisingly may be my favorite movie of the year – pretty close, anyway.

(L-R): Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) in Marvel Studios’ SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Shang-Chi (Sim Liu) lives in San Francisco and works as a parking valet with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina). They both seem pretty content doing that until he faces a group of assassins, with an amazing martial-arts action sequence on a bus with Awkwfina reminding me of Sandra Bullock in “Speed”. That is just the start of the action, which almost feels nonstop at times but not excessive.

It turns out that Shang-Chi (or Shaun, as he has been calling himself) has kept his past a secret from Katy, and the rest of the film reveals that.

Without going into spoilers…”Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings” doesn’t really feel like a Marvel film. It has some references here and there but it feels almost completely like its own film. I’m not in particular a huge Marvel fan – some movies I love, some less so. I’m also not someone who goes to movies for action sequences. I like a good story – which “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings” has. I also was so impressed by the martial arts. But what I probably enjoy most about the film is that it features mostly Asian actors and really leans into the Chinese aspect and visuals. Visually it is a gorgeous film and riveting from start to finish.

The cast is stellar. Liu makes an impressive entry into the MCU. Awkwafina is partly there for comic relief but more restrained than her turns in “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Raya and the Last Dragon”. Her character Katy is a platonic friend of Shang-Chi. What I was really surprised at is Meng’er Zhang as Xialing, Shang-Chi’s sister. She has never been in a film before, and she really rises to the challenge here and then some. Tony Leung as Wenwu brings so much depth to the character as the father of Shang-Chi. Michelle Yeoh appears later in the movie as Ying Nanand brings a lot of wisdom to that role.

What I noticed while watching “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings” is how many strong female characters there are in it – including in the martial arts scenes.

We haven’t seen many movies in the theater in the past year and a half, and I’m glad we got to view “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings” on the big screen. That is where it should be seen, at least the first time. I look forward to seeing “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings” again soon.

Mousesteps Grade for “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings”: A