Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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

As of right now, this is literally the only Phase Four movie that's gotten me genuinely excited for the future of the MCU. A different style from normal Marvel movies that actually benefits the characters and lore present in the movie, including some truly mesmerising fight scenes and a seriously underrated score once you get past the dubstep in the first act. It's so easy to fall in love with the locations this movie takes you to; like, hot take, THIS is how you use the Multiverse. Take your audience to beautiful other worlds that have a minute amount of familiarity to them to an extent, but push the boundaries in ways that leave them wanting to know more about them. Certain other movies in this phase use the Multiverse in such boring ways that really don't inspire me to give a shit about what happens next, and I'm happy to say that's not the case here.

The plot feels like it's drawing from the past Marvel formula, sometimes a little more blatantly than I'd like, but there's easily enough originality here for me to want to know what happens to these characters from here and how they fit into the MCU's future. I do wish that, after all the fantastic martial arts fighting sequences, the final fight of them all wasn't a CGI clusterfuck... but I didn't mind it as much as some people do, with it being more just sorta meh than actually offensive. I think a few of the set-up narration pieces are a bit rushed, especially the ones centred around the villain, but the emotional payoff at the end is still felt pretty hard. This was a nice surprise in the cinema when I first saw it, and unlike most of the other recent MCU output, it's only gotten better the more I rewatch it.

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