Shang-Chi review: High-kicking comedy brings MCU kung fu to Disney Plus this week

There was a point in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings when I forgot I was watching a Marvel movie. It ‘s strange to say that one of the biggest strengths of this latest Marvel flick is how un-Marvel it is, but maybe it ‘s fitting that a film about conflicting identity has a double identity of its own. Streaming on Disney Plus Nov. 12, Shang-Chi comes with Marvel strengths and weaknesses from opening conflict to inevitable post-credits scene, while besides feeling like something winningly newly. Unlike July ‘s Black Widow, this latest wonder venture did n’t premiere on streaming overhaul Disney Plus when it opened in September. But Shang-Chi joins Jungle Cruise and Home Sweet Home Alone in a day of Disney Plus premieres this Friday. Or if you ‘re thinking of seeing the more recent Marvel epic Eternals, check your local guidance and follow COVID precautions to safeguard your health when seeing this or any early film in a field. Simu Liu plays Shaun, a lovable fathead wasting his life in San Francisco park cars and doing karaoke with his buddy Katy, played by Awkwafina. Except his list is truly Shang-Chi and he ‘s actually trained to be an assassin by his millennia-old warlord father, who shows up with a plan to conquer a charming greenwich village concealed trench in a chinese afforest.

The movie is carried by Hong Kong cinema caption Tony Leung as Wenwu, patriarch to both Shang-Chi and a shadowy ninja army. Leung is enormously compelling as a villain who ‘s by turns steely or romantic, loving or vengeance-driven. Wenwu is one of the most nuanced and intriguing antagonists of any recent blockbuster, let alone the Marvel franchise. I partially forgot Shang-Chi was part of the Disney-owned comedian book-based franchise because of how little it relies on connection to the wide MCU. even when Marvel previously introduced new characters to the big screen, like Black Panther, Ant-Man or the MCU adaptation of Spider-Man, they tended to overlap with other films. Though that ‘s fun in its own way, it ‘s very review to watch a film stand entirely on its own two feet, without viewers having to remember other films. And yes, I appreciate that ‘s a gloomy bar, but hey, that ‘s the sequel/spinoff/reboot polish we live in. OK, so there are nods to the earlier MCU. Without going into spoilers, these nods are very well because you do n’t have to remember a complicate backstory, they make narrative common sense, and most importantly they ‘re funny story .Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings enlarge persona Marvel

But ampere well as resting the big-name Avengers, the film itself is visually and narratively discrete from the rest of the franchise. Shang-Chi is Marvel ‘s first asian lead, and the style of the film draw on the rich history of asian cinema, from warlike arts movies to gangster films to romance, and in particular the alcoholic ocular and emotional style of wuxia epics. Like holocene Disney Plus shows WandaVision and Loki, Shang-Chi ‘s greatest force is its exponent to surprise. Drawing on the superhero-style myths and legends of a raw culture gives the Legend of the Ten Rings a freshness missing from more companion fare like Black Widow. From the moment Shang-Chi foremost busts out his soldierly arts skills on control panel a runaway bus, the Legend of the Ten Rings is all about the action. The battle scenes were coordinated by the late Brad Allan, a frequent confederate with Jackie Chan, and the set piece punch-up brim with a gusto all besides rarely seen in Hollywood blockbusters. Each quality and each battle has a personality expressed through a style of fighting. In fact, the champion ‘s personal growth is symbolized by his changing fighting style, a deft and satisfying patch of ocular storytelling. At the lapp prison term, Shang-Chi is very much a Marvel movie, which is both good and regretful. If you thought Black Widow ‘s much-anticipated villain Taskmaster turned out to be an anticlimax, wait cashbox you meet Shang-Chi ‘s urgently uncharismatic and undercooked bad guys ( except Leung, of course ). visually, when it is n’t drawing on the vibrant style of Chinese film, the filming suffers the same blandness that afflicts all Marvel films. And the habit of computer-generated imagination adds fluorescent flair but besides leads to a screen of ocular numbness. certain, it ‘s fine to bring fabulous creatures and fondness superpowers to life sentence with computer generated animation, but when even the backdrop is distinctly CG, it takes away from the impact of the action. There are moments where characters are just chatting in a field, and the sphere distinctly is n’t veridical. The finale in particular is overreliant on a CG lighter show and goes on excessively long. And when the grandstand fights take place against the cartoonish shininess of CG backgrounds, it mutes the skill and athleticism of the performers. As a lot fun as the fights are, they ca n’t match the pant or wince-inducing wallop of Jackie Chan crusade scenes, in which you know the headliner and stunt performers in truth are leaping around a moving vehicle or the side of a build up .
But Marvel ‘s strengths are besides in entire effect. The film is identical funny story, with Awkwafina and diverse other guest stars stealing about every fit. And the film buys itself license to employ familiar or overserious music genre conventions ( like grandiloquent voice-overs ) by besides gently poking playfulness at them.

Above all, the film is driven by engaging characters. The MCU has rarely dealt with the superhero genre staple of secret identity ( except, it seems, in the extroverted Spider-Man : No Way Home ), but Shang-Chi recontextualizes the challenges of living two different versions of yourself through the lens of Asian-American know. In the hands of director Destin Daniel Cretton, The Legend of the Ten Rings mindfully corrects past failings of representation by Marvel and offers a depicting of taiwanese syndicate and culture that viewers from asian backgrounds are hailing for its heat and authenticity. ( Check out reviews by asian and POC critics at IO9, Moviemarker, Geeks of Color and more. ) The character dynamics leave Simu Liu in a rugged spot, however. Leung is an unbeatable actor, Awkwafina is funnier, Meng’er Zhang has a more compel aroused conflict as Shang-Chi ‘s sister, and Michelle Yeoh is just more coolly charismatic. A excess of flashbacks and voice-overs beggarly Liu himself fades from the spotlight for stretches at a time. fortunately he ‘s pretty charming ( and looks capital with his shirt off ) as the ass-kicking lunk wandering childlike into MCU leading man condition. In his first base gamble, you might forget you ‘re watching a Marvel movie, but Shang-Chi is destined to be a memorable part of the Marvel myth .

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