Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: Martial Arts and Marvel


Kaelyn Savard

While Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings continues to set the Marvel standard of impressive action sequences and ventures into new territory with its reach, it still follows the MCU formula of massive battles and extensive CGI use.

Kelly Quinn, Writer

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings breathes some new life into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with its brilliantly done fight scenes and well-thought-out villains. However, as the movie reaches its climax, it can’t seem to escape the usual MCU formula.

The movie features the comic book character Shang Chi (Simu Liu). Viewers follow him as he lives a regular life under the name of Sean, working as a valet driver with his friend Katy (Awkwafina). But, after being mysteriously attacked on the bus he must give up this life, face his past and confront his father.

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings delivers at being a solid and entertaining movie with impressive action. This is perfectly demonstrated in the first combat scene on the bus, which has incredible fight choreography. It has a very interesting way of using basic, everyday objects as weapons which, while not new to Hollywood, is perfectly executed here. 

This same level of fighting is also brought into the second act as Shang Chi must first face off against his sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) and then against one of the people that trained as a boy, Death Dealer (Andy Le).

However, after this, the movie starts to drag as they return to the home of their father. Here there is a lot of exposition which, while interesting, is quite the shift from the intense action shown before. 

As the movie moves to the third act, it regresses back to a typical big final battle from Marvel with a lot of CGI. This climactic scene still looks good and is entertaining but it’s unfortunate that it couldn’t have the intense martial arts action seen earlier on in the film. 

Perhaps the most well-done piece of Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the villain. The Mandarin, whose real name is Xu Wenwu, is a tragic character with an understandable motivation. A lot of the Mandarin’s character depth can be attributed to the actor who played him, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung. He does a great job showing emotion while also remaining stern and threatening. It was engaging to watch and learn more about him throughout the movie. 

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a sublime movie. It leaned into some unexplored territory for the MCU. Yet it then went back on these new ideas, having a final act that is quite derivative of other marvel films. But with a rotten tomatoes score of 92% and rating of 7.9/10 on IMDB, people are ready for change. 


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