Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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

Another bloated Marvel film that failed to wow me in any real way, but it’s nowhere near as bad as I was expecting it to be. There’s stuff to admire, such as Simu Liu in the lead. He’s charismatic and does his best with the poor screenplay. Tony Leung is another highlight, giving us a villain who’s almost compelling but is once again let down by the script. Hiring Destin Daniel Cretton is the most bizarre choice, after loving Short Term 12 and really enjoying Just Mercy, he didn’t strike me as the person to helm a blockbuster and I was right. Stripped away are the interesting characters, personal and purposeful cinematography and fantastic writing and they’re replaced with some of the worst MCU quips, generic characters and an over-reliance on unimpressive CGI. 

Taking inspiration from classic Hong Kong cinema, especially Jackie Chan flicks like Police Story and as well as his Hollywood work like Rush Hour but replacing the nail biting tension of each fight sequence with obvious greenscreen, an overuse of slo-mo that would make Zack Snyder cream himself and no real humour to the outlandish sequences that’s present in the films they’re clearly indebted to. Also, in almost all of the early action sequences, there’s this weird trap music playing with brought me back to the awful soundtrack for Black Panther and how similar that film felt to this. 

It does absolutely nothing original, only patting itself on the back for diversity and while it’s definitely great to see a major blockbuster with Asian leads, it’d be even cooler to see one that succeeds at being an entertaining, original new leaf in the MCU. Unfortunately, Shang-Chi ends up being nothing more than summer fluff that won’t be remembered in a year’s time.

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