Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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

This is a long one 

We’re almost 15 years into the MCU and just through a decade of cinema heavily, heavily populated with superhero movies and yet I don’t see this superhero fatigue kicking in any time soon like people say - and movies like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is one of the reasons why. We’re past the point I feel where superhero movies need to shy away from the creative comic book madness, hundreds of millions of people saw a giant purple alien fight a lightning god, a metal man, and a super-roided WW2 veteran over a bunch of colourful gems. It’s proven that audiences are on board so now the story tellers can let loose, like here, and turn the tried and tested origin story into a martial arts fantasy with kaiju and thee Tony Leung whipping around magic bracelets like he’s Indiana Jones. Long gone are the times where the X-Men won’t even wear yellow. The possibilities are endless for the different genres and stories within the superhero bracket. This MCU machine will keep on building and keep on delivering 

So yeah, as I alluded to this doesn’t feel like your typical superhero origin. Along with the burst of wilder ideas this feel fresh and new a big part due to the type of journey our hero goes on. Sure there’s the world ending threat that needs to be stopped our main man isn’t trying to become something bigger than himself to defeat it, he isn’t building himself up to become an ideal or a world changer to stop this. Instead he’s doing the opposite. Deconstructing and reconciling with parts of his being to become his true self. Which I really loved 

Of course, the hero can only be as good as the villain though but when you’ve got Tony Leung on the roster as your antagonist figure can it really go wrong? Leung’s ‘Wenwu’ wasn’t the run of the mill bad for bad’s sake threat. He was a sympathetic character you grow to understand, which doesn’t seem possible when you are first introduced to him. He’s a top Marvel villain and I could and probably should talk more about him but…

The action, wow. When I watch a movie like this it baffles me how and why shaky-cam fight scenes were so popular for so long in the mainstream. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has some of the most fluid and electric hand to hand action sequences I’ve seen - and all of it is completely visible and understandable. The camera work and choreography is top class and truly makes us feel as though these expert fighters are bordering on superhuman just by being incredible at what they do. You often here actors describing fight choreography like it’s a dance but I think this is one of the only times I’ve really been able to see the balletic nature of those sequences, it was really beautiful at times 

There’s so much more I could talk about in this movie. I haven’t even mention the incredible Simu Liu yet (cause this review is already like 13 pages long) but I love him. It’s really great to see Marvel still trusting such iconic figures on lesser known actors, like they did way back when with Thor and Loki, it can be a lot of pressure but they obviously know what it takes to play a role like this and Simu has clearly got it in abundance

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