Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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

There's a lot to like about Shang-Chi, no less Akwafina who's ever-superb comedy timing offsets the occasionally more serious tone of this movie. Elsewhere in the cast Tony Leung lends dramatic credibility and Simu Liu is fairly likeable in the lead role but one of the gems here is Meng'er Zang as Shang-Chi's sister. There is also some welcome comic relief in the form of a return character, who's presence may or may not be a spoiler...so I won't say the name.

In spite of the cultural shift for this film, the story is a not entirely unfamiliar quest narrative with a few familiar MCU faces appearing along the way. The action sequences are nice and hold up as one of the highlights of the film. There are talented individuals on screen so the editing need not be as frenetic as in some action movies these days. Shang-Chi is better for it.

One of the themes in this movie is the sidelining of Zang's character Xu Xialing. I'm not sure if the irony is lost on the writers or just on the cutting room floor but she also seems to have been sidelined in this movie somewhat. There's almost certainly a more interesting story to be told about her character than that of Shang-Chi. Perhaps, as is the present fashion, she'll get her own show one day.

Ultimately, Shang-Chi is a welcome break from the MCU norm and although it promises the inevitable sequel, there is a hope that they can build on this promising start.

Ken B liked these reviews