Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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

Welcome to the circus.

As I keep thinking about it, Shang-Chi is a movie of looks. People looking at each other, how each individual goes about looking at others, how that all informs you of the kind of person they are. Among a list of good decisions this film makes, the top choice is of course casting who perhaps has the best eyes in cinema history, Tony Leung. I’m not sure I can think of another actor who uses his eyeballs better than that man. In what I think is going to be way more memorable than any quip, any song, even more than any quality fight sequence in this choreographed and photographed by some of the best in the moviemaking business, I'm going to think of how the final interaction between Wenwu and Shang-Chi in the film is one of looking. Leung is an actor who automatically brings gravitas to his roles just because of how good he is at what he does, but it does also help that Wenwu is easily the most well-written character on display here, and of course to me immediately one of the best MCU villains. Leung doesn't play him as a bad guy, nor do I think the movie actively goes about portraying villainy around him. I will admit that I think I'm making this movie sound better than it is, I was thinking you would have had to have messed up for this to be any lower than four stars to me, which it is, but I'm also just not really in the mood to be too negative towards the film. It has some wonky pacing, and yeah, I would still call the fight scenes good but there is that undeniable MCU/Disney sheen over it all where you know it can look and hit better than it does. My greatest wish for the film, since it does seem to already be doing quite well, I hope that it inspires other people to watch the films which so clearly inspired this. (Kung-Fu Hustle spotted earlier on is some good shit.) Not sure I feel the need to see this again in theaters like I wish I had the feeling to, but again, I liked this, I recommend this, and I want this to do well, and for everyone and anyone to be able to look at Tony's acting in this and see what I do in this wonderful, beautiful person. Also, special shout-out to Morris. If you don't know about him, you will soon.


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