Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ★★★★½

Epic in every sense of the word from start to finish. Subjectively, this is the best MCU film to date. Objectively, it has the richest characters in any MCU film. As someone who isn’t a fan of the vast majority of MCU films, this thankfully doesn’t feel like one. Dustin Daniel Cretton’s direction is excellent from the way he creates fluid motion through brilliantly staged/choreographed hand to hand combat to his seamless blending of past and present storylines in the second act when diving deep into character’s psyches. 

Tony Leung delivers one of the best performances I’ve seen this year in his portrayal of Wenwu, a tragic character who’s motivation we understand and can fully empathize with. In a universe where villains are mostly one note mustache twirling buffoons, it’s refreshing to say he’s the most layered villain in the MCU (yes, Killmonger included). 

From heartbreaking beats revolving around Wenwu losing himself in the aftermath of loss to lingering on the loneliness that stems from the death of a loved one, Cretton manages to craft a film akin to a Shakespearean tragedy from a thematic standpoint. 

Simu Liu gives us a charming yet deeply flawed heroic individual who feels authentic despite his superpowers and Akwafina provides conversational comedic relief that mostly lands (a miracle considering how most of the comedy in MCU films amount to cringeworthy garbage).

While the third act gets bloated with CGI and feels somewhat overstuffed, the emotional beats land and most importantly, feel earned. 

Bravo Feige and team 👏

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