Kane Vallance’s review published on Letterboxd:
I mean, I expected to like this, but I did not expect this to be quite possibly my second favourite MCU film of all time. 28 main projects into the fucker (excluding all of the non Disney+ shows seems as their canonicity is always up in the fucking air for God knows what reason) and their newest film is one of my favourites, and I’m hoping to say the same thing about Eternals too, because that’s definitely my most-hyped Marvel project at the moment.
Near enough everything in here worked for me, my only complaints being a couple of nitpicks, though nothing too major. Maybe the final battle aimed a little bit too high, with so much CGI spectacle going off at once that I was borderline overwhelmed. Then again, i was in the right corner of the front row of an IMAX screening seems as the screen was full in all seats but the front, and that nearly fucking blinded me, giving me a headache that is still here a day later as I’m writing this. I also think that there could have been one or two too many flashbacks, though at the end of the day they were doing nothing but making me care even more for the characters on display, which is welcomed in any movie, but especially in a blockbuster movie where that effort is sometimes overlooked.
However, I think those problems are almost completely neglected by me for what is easily one of my favourite superhero/comic book projects of all time (hopefully that opinion sticks on Sunday when I see it again). The first thing, the one that everyone is raving about, is the phenomenal action sequences, that are, yes, the best in this franchise. We actually get to see it unfold without 80 dozen quick cuts, and each punch is fun and exciting to see, especially when it involves some of the family drama that surprisingly took a partial front in the film.
Tony Leung is perfect as Wenwu (technically not The Mandarin, though Trevor is genuinely becoming one of my favourite MCU characters and that borderline concerns me), and he’s undoubtedly one of, if not the best villain to come out of the entire MCU, who’s motivations are fuelled by his love of his wife and family. Sim Liu is also perfect as Shang-Chi, who very quickly has already become one of my favourite MCU heroes and characters as a whole, while Trevor, Morris, and Katy are such fun additions. Xi Xang is also a great side character too, and I’m excited about what her post-credits scene is implying to us.
The score is really cool-sounding, and it compliments the action scenes, too, and, as per usual, the special effects were top notch, aside from maybe one or two shots here and there. WONG. WONG. WONG. WONG. WONG. Oh and yeah it was actually pretty funny, like genuinely not too overdone for me, and it didn’t feel quite as same-y as some of the Marvel movies do, which is always a positive.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings may have almost too many flashbacks, and there was maybe a bit of a dip in the pacing, but the best MCU action we’ve possibly ever seen, some fucking perfect casting, and a surprising amount of emotion and family drama make it undoubtedly one of the best CBMs I have seen.
Is this what you wanted?!