“Shang-Chi” Movie Review

A Strong Origin Story for Shang-Chi


The Ten Rings were an underground terrorist organization in the movie, led by Shang-Chi’s father, Wenwu. The villainous organization first appeared in “Iron Man 3” and it shares the name of Wenwu’s most powerful weapon, also called the Ten Rings. The organization, along with Wenwu, have ruled the world in secret for years, following Wenwu’s command.

Johann Bacarisas, Opinions and Entertainment Editor

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was released on Sept. 3 and was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. The film follows the story of Shang-Chi, a man trained as a martial artist trying to escape his past. The storyline strays from the average Marvel movie archetype and is a uniquely enjoyable movie.  

The movie introduces the main character of Shang-Chi as a man with a haunted past trying to make his own name and balance telling the main story along with revealing his backstory throughout the movie. His character was an immediate fan-favorite portrayed by a breakout star in Simu Liu who did a great job making the character more relatable and more human, which is difficult to do in an action/fantasy-type movie. After ten years of living his life the way he wanted to, Shang-Chi’s father, the leader of a terrorist organization called the Ten Rings, finds him and brings him home. His struggles with his villainous father is the central plot of the movie and it is one of the best-written conflicts of any Marvel movie. His father, Wenwu (Tony Leung), completely stole the show and was one of, if not the best characters in the movie.  He had realistic character development and a well-written motivation. His antagonistic image is carefully constructed throughout the movie, but is balanced out by both happy and dark events in his past. The movie is most known for its fight scenes, which were nothing short of incredible. The fight choreography was breathtaking, rivaling some of the best fight choreography in the MCU since actor Simu Liu did most of his stunts, including an impressive jump scene from a bus early in the movie. 

The movie’s setting had three transitions: from the urban setting of San Francisco to the criminal underground and then to a fantasy setting. The transitions were handled well and the movie did a great job of connecting the three spheres of the movie. Surprising cameos and appearances from many fan-favorite and minor characters from throughout the MCU were amazing additions to the film, and advanced the plot and connected to the story very deeply.  

However, no movie is perfect. “Shang-Chi,” like other Marvel movies, suffers from an overabundance of forced humor. The jokes are excessive at times and sometimes drag on a scene, especially from the character of Katy (Awkwafina), Shang-Chi’s best friend. Misplaced jokes throughout the beginning of the movie slightly dragged down an otherwise entertaining first act. The second act of the movie was nothing like the first and third, and it was much slower than the high-intensity first act and epic third act.  The final act ended completely differently from the entirety of the movie, ending with a big CGI-heavy fight that was far different from the grounded approach of the rest of the movie. The CGI fest did feel a bit out of place in the movie despite how the final act was leading to it. The characterization of Shang-Chi and Wenwu was great towards the end, giving both characters a fitting character arc in their final battle that was the highlight of the movie. However, not all characters were given the same justice. Some characters with incredible potential were used throughout the movie and were ultimately wasted. The film introduces more new characters or repurposes others to fill the void left behind by these killed-off characters, but it isn’t quite the same. However, the mid-credit scene and post-credit scene at the very end of the movie somewhat make up for their loss, and they set up the bright future of the MCU with two big reveals.

Overall, the movie was great, and one of Marvel’s strongest origin movies, well deserving of a 9/10 rating.  It was one of the most unique stories in the MCU, telling a very different story from all the other movies. The movie was very successful, especially in the midst of the pandemic. “Shang-Chi” made $22 million in the US in its opening weekend, holding the #1 spot at the box office. The character of Shang-Chi quickly became a fan-favorite, and whenever Shang-Chi appears again, fans are sure to be excited.