Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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

My god, this is such a fun movie. I'd argue the first half is a better film as it incorporates Wuxia elements in the opening with that glorious Jackie Chan'esque fight on the bus/ tram thing, and the fighting tournament. The second half devolves into standard MCU final act shenanigans but that's not to say it's without merit.

For one, the action is far more coherent than a lot of films of this type. Also it's funnier and very pretty to look at, thanks to Bill Pope's sumptuous cinematography. I was fully invested in the otherworldly beasts of Chinese mythology. When I was a little kid I used to think those big ol' dog/ lion things were real, and seeing them appear on screen here made me kinda glad they're not. Yikes. They are the big, cuddly stuff of nightmares.

Tony Leung makes for a compelling antagonist, and once again for Marvel, one we actually grow to care about. Sure, the whole MCU is one giant soap opera but that's why we get so heavily invested for better and for worse. Before the film was released I wondered how Shang-Chi would hold his own in an Avengers-type movie. By the conclusion, I had no doubt in my mind how awesome Simu Liu looks on screen in the role.

The Ten Rings will return, and so will I with whatever sequel that arrives on our screens. What a fun ride. Just the kind of escapism I needed while the plague still mutates in our streets, our schools and places of work.

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