This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Nick’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Major Spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings below:
“If you aim at nothing, you hit nothing.”
Let’s start with what worked, I mean Marvel Studios never misses with their castings and this is of course the case here, Simu is great as Shang-Chi, and his character development was as well. And the same goes for Awkafina as Katy, she was great and her humour was on point. Tony Leung is really good as The Mandarin, and in terms of character development I’m so glad that there was more to him than just wanting power - him wanting a loved one back in worked so well for me because I’m honestly sick of the evil person bad because they want power trope, I find it lazy and uninspired - so The Mandarin’s portrayal was extremely refreshing. I loved all the connections to the greater MCU, Wong fighting Abomination was so freaking awesome, and Trevor Slattery returning was also a welcome surprise. Regarding side characters, Razor Fist and Death Dealer while just being goons with little to no development still managed to be cool.
Technically speaking, this movie is a marvel, the direction by Destin Daniel Cretton is superb and the film is really enhanced by it, the cinematography is so well done and shot, I was super impressed with how well the camera flowed, and that leads me to the fight scenes, which were easily the highlight of the film, not only were they shot and choreographed so perfectly (like a dance if you will), but there was also no choppy editing which was a welcome surprise. The score also stood out, especially the track playing when The Mandarin and his wife fight / meet. In terms of visual effects the movie could not look better, especially the Great Protector (along with the final battle as a whole) which looked amazing. Finally, the mid credit scene was really cool and confusing - I mean Bruce is somehow Bruce again, but this is supposedly only a short while after Endgame, and then Captain Marvel and Wong make cameos as well. Onto the negatives, this film suffered from the way it was edited, specifically the flashbacks which at a certain point started to feel repetitive and boring, and ruined the pacing of the film - and my overall attention paid to the movie.