It is not an exaggeration to say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been the most successful movie franchise over the last few decades. Now spanning over 12 years of storytelling, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” brings a new take to the MCU. It balances humor, great action and Chinese culture while reflecting upon a real-life choice: living the life designed for you or the one you make for yourself.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” debuted only in theaters Sept. 3. Since then, it has been a huge hit across many fans, becoming the highest audience-rated comic-book movie on Rotten Tomatoes. It follows the life of Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Akwafina) as they work together as valets for a hotel in San Francisco. Shang-Chi is confronted by his past, which sets him off on a journey of self-discovery where he must fight against his father (Tony Leung) and his mercenary organization, The Ten Rings.
When it comes to the positives, the action scenes in "Shang-Chi" are a league of their own. The martial arts are one of the best from recent years, and it complements the story by making the culture and mythology depicted within the movie rich. Tony Leung, who plays the villain Wen Wu, is a well-rounded Marvel antagonist. His motivations are valid, and in many ways, we as an audience understand the struggles that live within him, making his actions understandable. "Shang-Chi" thrives when it focuses on family themes. The relationship Shang has with his mother (Fala Chen) is one to be admired, and the screenwriters, one of them being the director (Destin Daniel Cretton), are to be praised for adding human moments in a main-stream comic book movie.
Joel P. West, known for working with Destin Daniel Cretton, crafted a score that stands alone compared to other MCU movies. His music enhances emotional scenes and elevates the stakes during action set pieces. However, "Shang-Chi’s" greatest achievement is that it is a self-contained story. It does not require the audience to have knowledge from previous Marvel films to understand the plot and have a good time at the movies. It is truly a movie for everyone.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” has something to say when it comes to the choices we all make and how we choose to live our lives. It argues that everyone is on a journey to find purpose, and the way to do that is not by following a predetermined path. This theme is present within the relationship Shang-Chi has with his father and the dilemma might be an aspect of the film audiences reflect upon.
In the end, the 25th MCU movie is a film for everyone. It has great humor, martial arts and Chinese culture and mythology never depicted before in this franchise. It is a story about self-discovery that contemplates themes of family and purpose. It is definitely a film that will get audiences excited to go back to the movies.