Chris Chretien’s review published on Letterboxd:
Welcome to the circus.
- Bruce Banner
I decided to go into this movie blind. I deliberately avoided watching any trailers or reading any articles. And what a payoff this movie was!
ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT! Brilliant on every conceivable level. For me, this was the best MCU film since Avengers: Infinity War! This movie was unique, intoxicating, and a massive breath of fresh air that I inhaled to the fullest. Tremendously captivating storytelling and characters, stunningly vibrant visual effects, and delightful music. I simply loved the history and powers of the Ten Rings and how they functioned in unison.
I do not know much about Shang-Chi in the actual Marvel comics, but Simu Liu did a masterful job of bringing the character to life on the big screen. Like so many of the other Marvel actors before him, Simu seemed to embody the character of Shang-Chi perfectly. The choreography of the action sequences with Simu was mind-blowing and possessed a potent Jackie Chan vibe to them. My favorite two scenes in the movie were the fight between Shang-Chi and Razor Fist on the bus (man, that was bloody awesome!) but the absolute best was Shang-Chi emerging from the water, riding a freaking CHINESE GOLD DRAGON! That entire scene alone, for me, was worth 5 stars!
I thought I could change my name, start a new life... but I could never escape his shadow.
What an incredibly talented and outstanding ensemble cast! Purely amazing and enjoyable performances by Awkwafina (Katy), Tony Chiu-Wai Leung (Xu Wenwu), Ben Kingsley (Trevor Slattery), Meng'er Zhang (Xialing), Fala Chen (Li), Florian Munteanu (Razor Fist), and Michelle Yeoh (Ying Nan).
I know you don't like to talk about your life, but a guy with a freaking MACHETE FOR AN ARM just chopped our bus in half!
Another thing this movie had... BADASS VILLAINS! Unlike some of the previous MCU movies and superhero movies in general, this film had three really cool main villains. Razor Fist made for a well-grounded secondary villain and a good challenge for Shang-Chi. Xu Wenwu, Shang-Chi's father, was the story's core villain. Portrayed perfectly by Tony Leung, he was deceived by the movie's mysterious third villain into freeing it from its prison, which ultimately brought him into conflict with his son to try and make him see the truth and one hell of a mighty battle. Finally, another entity enters the MCU in the form of the Dweller-in-Darkness, an ancient demon, one of Marvel's Fear Lords, and the movie's third and final villain. What a climatic battle! It took the combined effort and power of Shang-Chi, the Ten Rings, the people of Ta Lo, the Great Protector Dragon, and a once in a lifetime, perfectly aimed arrow hit by Katy to defeat it.
Throughout my life, the Ten Rings gave our family power. If you want them to be yours one day, you have to show me you are strong enough to carry them.
Destin Daniel Cretton's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a perfect addition to the MCU and has become my favorite MCU film, second only to Infinity War. Lastly, a most intriguing post credits scene.
For all of you that took the time to read my review, thank you and I hope you enjoyed it. Comments and positive feedback are always welcome.