Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" is a serviceable new entry within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Led by thrilling action sequences, dazzling cinematography, and mostly likeable characters. The sense of direction and style by director Destin Daniel Cretton is sprinkled in well within this film. Making this film have much more of voice than past films in the MCU. Bringing about great emotional clarity that occurs within its writing that well services the action behind it. The first half of this film is spot on with all of these positive elements that work so well together. Unfortunately, the second half feels bloated, unimpactful, uninspired, and overall empty with its execution.

Simu Liu has the potential to be a big star in the industry with some of the stunts and acting he pulls off in this. There were sequences where he reminded me of a young Jackie Chan with his charm and charisma. Awkwafina brings a nice presence despite feeling more annoying in her comedic moments. She brought a nice dynamic to Liu in their scenes together. Tony Leung felt very disappointing as the villain. In terms of the caliber of actor Leung is, I felt he was very underutilized for what he could've brought to the role. Side note, this film was shot by Bill Pope. Pope is known as such a stylistic cinematographer with a great track record. Great films including "Spider-Man 2", "The Matrix", Scott Pilgrim vs The World", and much more. His camera work while good in moments in this film didn't feel to add much that emotional punch that is usually seen in his previous works. It just came off as lifeless and unfocused at times.

Overall, this feels more disappointing than it did entertaining. The first and second acts had me hooked despite some pacing and writing issues that were happening, but the third act brings a lot of the flaws to the light. Leaving me feeling empty and unsatisfied with the CGI bloated finale that felt like it was from a different movie entirely. I do still want to see where the character could go in the future as the potential is there to do much more, but this opening entry just left me wondering what could've been.

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