OE Reviews’s review published on Letterboxd:
Shang Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings:
To be honest, I wasn’t really excited for this film when it was announced. It was probably my least anticipated of all the films slated for phase 4 and I thought it would just be filler. But as the release date neared my excitement started to rise. Hearing the overwhelmingly positive reviews and learning more about the film I got pretty excited. I reserved tickets for IMAX for the Thursday of its release so I could finally get that MCU hype that has kind of lost me in the past couple years.
I just got out and yeah it was exactly what I wanted it to be. At its core it is an intimate culture based journey of confrontation of your past. I don’t think the themes are exactly resonant but the heart shown through its story makes up for that. It doesn’t spend too much times developing its themes but it spends enough to keep up with the pace of its story.
One complaint I’ve been hearing from a lot of people was not caring for any of the characters after the originals are gone. Shang-chi denies that completely. Shang-chi easily solidifies himself as a mainstay in the MCU. Yes, he is very well written but what gives him that extra push is the performance by Simu Liu. He kills it and he paved the way for the new era of marvel. Tony Leung is great but I wish we got some more time with his character because he is definitely one of the best villains in the MCU. Awkwafina worked surprisingly well here. I haven’t seen her in much but she fit perfectly into this world and played off the other actors really well. Her comedy and the film’s comedy as a whole fit the characters and the situations well and it didn’t take away from the film at all. Very excited to see how Shang Chi will work in an ensemble film.
The action is probably what makes this film stand out from all the others and yeah it is amazing. I think the build up of tension in winter soldier gives that film extra points but this is probably better. It has many different styles which keeps each scene fresh and exciting. It is used very creatively and shot with style.
Now this doesn’t re-invent the wheel for the MCU or change the formula to any extreme extent but it definitely shows promise for its future. They set out to tell a story and did a darn good job at it.
Also Wong is a legend.