This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
aimee’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
wanted to let some time sink in before i reviewed this to collect my thoughts but i quite literally have not been able to stop thinking about the film since i saw it last night, so here we are. which also might mean this could be a little messy to read, but bear with me.
first of all, up until the third act, (or really just the final battle) i wanna say how i had to keep reminding myself this was a marvel movie. the film had its own reminders, such as a mention of the blip, but other than that, it truly didn’t feel like one. it felt like a stand-alone action movie, or the first of a trilogy of one, and i mean that as a huge compliment. i saw someone on twitter two days ago mention how the action just does not stop, and wow. they weren’t kidding. it was beautiful to watch, and i was hanging on every move.
i love how the culture was so deeply embedded into this, whether that be through dialogue, costume, set pieces, action or story beats. i don’t know much (or anything at all really) about comic shang-chi, so maybe that all was to be expected. as an asian myself, this movie means more than i can even begin to put into words. i’m not chinese, i’m indian, but seeing any asian marvel superhero not only get his own film, but his own really good film and have the story treated with respect and care… it meant the world to me.
finally. the villain. wenwu. i appreciated the explanation of ‘the mandarin’ in iron man 3, did not appreciate his cameo. but that’s all i’ll say, because i really want this review to be a positive one and emanate the joy i felt watching this. wenwu almost immediately became a favourite marvel villain, on par with killmonger, personally. i walked out of black panther unable to hate erik, because even though his methods were incorrect, what he wanted to do came from a place of love and nobility. here in shang-chi, wenwu’s purpose, for lack of a better word, originated from love too, despite the questionable methods. i wish i could pinpoint quite what it was that i loved so much about the way he was written, and maybe i will on a rewatch, but that’s all i can say for now. it was a breath of fresh air after far from home (mysterio’s backstory was… laughably bad) and black widow (i just don’t care for dreykov or find him interesting in any way.)
after writing the above paragraph, it does make me wish we had less katy one liners and more wenwu-shang dynamic. it was explored quite a lot to be fair, but i wouldn’t mind some more. shang saw his mother die in front of him at age seven, witnessed his father go insane again, and was forced to kill the man who killed his mother at fourteen. all that pain, and yet he remains kind. he’s a good friend, a caring brother. he loves his family, he’s funny, and a trustworthy person. he never lost his light, and i admire him so much for that.