Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ★★★½

The Disney + Marvel series have been alright at best, but there's no doubt many of our fears about Marvel's future were being realized. As I've mentioned before, "Endgame" felt more like a series finale than the conclusion to a season, rendering phase 4 pointless at the end until this point.

Just like it did back when the MCU was merely a concept that could have failed, Marvel brings hope back to its roots with an arguably (much) obscure character that manages to capture our imaginations and, in large part, plays like something we have never seen before. You'll still find many Marvel tropes in the film that may make you cringe, but they're not as cringe-inducing as they've been in other previous films, or even most of the streaming series.

At the same time, Tony Leung, who doesn't lower himself to the level of the superhero genre but instead treats this film to a certain extent like any other drama, gives a great performance that resonates as he adds a level of nuance and emotion - and his motives probably put him just below Thanos as Marvel's greatest villain. Simu Liu, who I've liked in "Kim's Convenience", proves he has what it takes to become a star on his own thanks to the great way he manages to deliver the few fight stunts not being made by his stunt double, as well as delivering the charm, which is surprising since in real life he can be quite a hothead who can't keep his emotions in check. When it comes to humor, Awkwafina can sometimes be a bit hit-and-miss, but she nails every line whether it's lame or not, cracking me and most audiences at my screening. However, Shang-chi and Katy are not the best couple on the film - but I cannot reveal who they are for fear of spoilers.

Technically, Destin Daniel Cretton knows how to deliver these dramas that touch the audience, elevating movies that would have been cheesy in any other hand. I'd not be surprised if he and David divided their responsibilities, him handling the dramatics and Callaham doing the comedy, inwhich case the latter got to redeem himself after his abysmal work on "America: The Motion Picture" and the lackluster "Wonder Woman: 1984" and "Mortal Kombat". The fight sequences weren't as impressive and breathtaking as many have made them out to be nor the cinematography didn't reach the level of Zhang Yimou's picture, but they were for the most part really good with the "bus fight" being the highlight.

All in all, this was a positive sign for a franchise that seemed to be going through hard times. If Eternals and Spider-man: No Way Home manage to be as good, there's certainly a ray of hope for big or casual Marvel fans.

All that third act final battle could have been more manageable had Tony Boi looked up.

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Shang-chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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Rafael "Parker!!" liked these reviews