Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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

I truly wonder what this would've been like if it had a filmmaker attached that had a vision beyond Kevin Feige's grasp. There are some true moments of brilliance sprinkled throughout here; the action scenes, character depth, and attention to Chinese mythology and spirituality are so fun. At times, I forgot I was watching a Marvel film, especially in that final climax. Tony Leung is a villainous revelation - one that I sincerely hoped we would see more of. I'm glad they knew when to dial it back on some of the quippy humor (some of the time... looking at you, *** ********). Unfortunately, this origin does succumb to Marvel's standard tropes and at times fails to break out of its bubble, instead opting to tell a unique story, sure, but one that feels all-too-connected to its franchise's future. I won't deny that some of the payoffs and set-ups are exciting, but I can't help but feel it rings hollow in the somewhat-secluded story it was trying to tell. But hey, at least it's a step in the right direction! Some of the highest highs, but some of the oddly lowest lows as well. Interested to see where Shang-Chi's arc goes from here - hopefully it's a bit smaller-scale and inward-looking next time.

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