By: Annette Quijada
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings” opens a new perspective for what the Marvel Cinematic Universe could become as they continue to develop more films involving people of color.
Simu Liu stars as Shaun/Shang-Chi, who ran away from home to San Francisco, where he now works as a valet with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina).
When Shang-Chi was 14 he escaped his father WenWu (Tony Leung) and his secret organization known as the Ten Rings. Over the years the Ten Rings became massive, destroying kingdoms from the middle ages to present time.
WenWu found love with Shang-Chi’s mother Jiang Li (Fala Chen) and had given up the ten rings for her. But when she died, an angry WenWu went back to his old ways and trained his son to be an assassin. This led Shang-Chi to leave his fathers side while also leaving behind his sister Xialing (Meng’er Zhang).
Hong Kong star Tony Leung carries a lot of the film on his back. He manages to create a strong villain who leaves the audience in conflicting feelings when they see that his pain for the loss of his wife is what causes him to create such destruction to his children and others.
WenWu is lethal, hard headed, vengeful and romantic, leading him to be one of Marvel’s most intriguing antagonists.
One would expect a lot of superhero action scenes coming from a Marvel film, Shang-Chi exceeds that. It’s safe to say that this is definitely not just another Kung-Fu movie like the ones we’ve seen over the years. The Kung Fu demonstrated throughout the film is authentic and graceful. Martial arts is not just some form of fighting, there’s a heartfelt story behind the learnings of the martial arts they practice which made it even that more important to how it was brought to life in the film.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton does a fantastic job in demonstrating the beauty of Asian culture. Asian representation has started to increase in the last few years with films like Crazy Rich Asians (2018) and Parasite (2019). These movies, including Shang-Chi, fight back the typical stereotypes and embrace the Asian culture while also relating to their audience when it comes to family and tradition.
The release of Black Panther in 2018 broke major box office records due to Black people feeling that immense connection to having a superhero that looks and shares the same values as them. Shang-Chi could be, or is that powerful for Asians.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings” can be named the best character introduction film Marvel has created. The only disappointing thing about Shang-Chi is that it won’t reach its true potential in the box office due to the pandemic.