Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ★★★★

"The first time I witnessed pure artistry. 1968. Planet of the Apes. I was sitting in a cinema next to my mum watching mastery unfold before my very eyes. After the film, I asked her, 'How did they get those monkeys to do those things?' And she patted me on the head and she said, 'It's not real, pet. It's just acting.' That's when I knew. If they can teach those monkeys to act that brilliantly, just imagine what I could bring to the world."
"So you became an actor because you thought the monkeys were actually..."
"Riding horses? I did. Yes. When, in fact, they were simply acting as if they were riding horses. I still can't get my head round it, to be honest."
"Good for you, dude. You found your passion and went for it and eventually used it to cripple the US government, but whatever."
"Yeah. No, yeah, thanks."

Finally, we got the Trevor Slattery update that we've been dying for since All Hail the King, the short where the real Mandarin breaks his goofy ass out of prison to make him pay for pretending to be him. Thankfully, he hangs around a bit longer than the Abomination, but there's enough going on in this movie that I don't think it was all that necessary to include cameos from characters we were already familiar with. Still, they were nice to see, given how long it's been since we've seen them.

Shang-Chi's a bit of a badass already, even without the ten rings as that bus ride fight scene demonstrates. I'm not very familiar with Simu Liu, having only seen him prior to this on SNL and one episode of Kim's Convenience, but he handles himself very well here. He's got enough charm to carry the movie and decent enough chemistry with his co-stars to sell the story of a young man being dragged back into the family business of revenge and power seeking.

Tony Leung as his father, Xu Wenwu, is as great as he always seems to be, making a mark as soon as he appears onscreen. His motivations in this film are much simpler than those he typically has to portray so it's no wonder that he commands attention every moment he's visible.

Not a bad little action film. It will be interesting to see how they tie it into everything else going on in the MCU. Especially if Kang's supposed to be the next big bad stomping around in the background of all of the next phase's films.

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