This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
RebelCommander’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I can't remember how I first heard about the film. I wanted to learn more about Simu Liu upon finding out Marvel selected him to play the titular character. I found a tweet where he campaigned for the character and won the part. He earned my respect from there, and I began to follow him.
The past month I started watching Kim's Convenience, the Canadian comedy Liu stars in. The show is hilarious, and I find it interesting that while Liu is of Chinese descent, though his character is Korean. He and the rest of the cast are great, and I can't remember the last time I have laughed so hard with the activity on the screen. I highly recommend the show, and it's on Netflix.
I don't think the film would have been as great as it became without a couple of factors. Black Panther's success grew from African-American, actors, a director, producers, and screenwriters. That spurred excitement from audiences and proved that stories told by people who shared the characters' experiences on screen can be blockbusters, especially from members of minority communities.
When Crazy Rich Asians became the second big blockbuster since The Joy Luck Club to feature an all Asian cast, it helped boost that understanding. You can trust directors and screenwriters to tell stories about the cultures they belong to. It will bring realism and relatability. So I was rooting for the success of the film once I found out about it.
Marvel attempted to make a Shang Chi film over twenty years ago. However, I doubt it would have been as authentic as what their 2021 product turned out to be.
Unfortunately, the movie opened during a global pandemic. Indeed, it hurt the box office number it could have reached. However, the film is enjoyable.
I loved Liu's and Awkwafina's (Katy) on-screen dynamic throughout the movie. Especially Shaun and Katy's love for karaoke. The film does a great job introducing other MCU characters we are familiar with. The only person I didn't appreciate seeing was Trevor Slattery. It made sense to reference that Slattery impersonated an exaggerated version of Xu Wenwu, the natural leader of the Ten Rings. However, they could introduce him as Wenwu's jester and moved on. Slattery is now a composite of Shang Chi's father, Fu Manchu, in the comics. Of course, Slattery will never receive the same cultural baggage as Fu Manchu endured.
Overall it's a fun film and an excellent introduction for a new character in the MCU. I look forward to seeing how Marvel continues to incorporate Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings into the MCU.