Luke Stagg’s review published on Letterboxd:
Everything I felt about the film during my first viewing still stands, though having finally seen the first 15 minutes, I realize how important they are in establishing why we give a damn about Wenwu. Something else I found improved with the context of the opening sequences is this movie’s use of flashbacks. I don’t believe I’ve seen a comic book movie use flashbacks as effectively as this one. At first I thought they were arbitrary, telling nothing we didn’t already know about our characters as an audience. I’m now completely convinced otherwise and believe the flashbacks may have been the most carefully considered element of the script. It isn’t until the final flashback that the story and arc of Shang truly feels like it’s all been pieced together. Having missed those key parts my first time around, I believe I also missed seeing the movie for what it was.
That’s not why I’m giving this movie a “heart,” though. I’m doing it because my mom loved Shang-Chi. When my mom loves a superhero movie, that means it’s doing something right. The Patricia Stagg Stamp of Approval is more indicative of whether a movie works or not than an Oscar.