Shang-Chi sparks positive reviews in theaters

The+Shang-Chi+movie+poster+at+the+Regal+Stonestown+Galleria+welcomes+guests+to+the+theater.+

Santino Woo ‘22

The Shang-Chi movie poster at the Regal Stonestown Galleria welcomes guests to the theater.

Talia Bumanglag, Staff Reporter

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings finally made its debut on the big screen on Sept. 3, after being delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions. This film is Marvel’s first Asian-led movie, and is currently number one in the world, according to IMDB. 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings also broke records, earning a little over $90 million over Labor Day weekend, which is now the biggest Labor Day opening weekend since 2007. After seeing Shang-Chi twice, I have had time to form my own reviews, thoughts, and theories on how this will affect the course of the Marvel CInematic Universe. Not only is this a stepping stone for the Asian community, but it also builds the foundation for the rest of Phase 4 of Marvel as well. Beware, there are many spoilers ahead!

It is important for Asians to have representation within the entertainment industry because of the amount of misrepresentation and exclusivity within the industry.”

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which was originally supposed to be the fourth installment of the MCU’s (Marvel Cinematic Universe) Phase 4, is now the 6th, and yet highest-rated comic book movie of all time based on Rotten Tomatoes audience scores. Its placement in the MCU’s timeline is after The Hulk snapped everyone back, which is also known as “the blip” and presumed to be set in the summer of 2023 in San Francisco. 

First off, here is a summary of what Shang-Chi is about. It starts with a short backstory of what the ten rings are, how they came into the possession of Shang-Chi’s father Wenwu, and how he built his empire and conquered the world through the power of the rings. The ten rings provide multiple powers such as strength, flight, immortality, and can create force fields and other powers. 

We later find that Wenwu’s whole perception of life changes when he meets Ying Li, the guardian of the village of Ta Lo, and the soon to be mother of Shang-Chi. Wenwu locks away the rings for his family until a few years later when Ying-Li is murdered by an old enemy of Wenwu. He grieves and turns back to the rings, training his motherless son Shang-Chi to become an assassin. We later see that Shang-Chi has grown up, and from here, he and the rest of his family go on a journey of grief, self reflection, and acceptance. 

As a huge Marvel fan myself, I absolutely loved this movie. It fit perfectly into phase 4 of the  MCU, and introduced this lesser-known character very well. Simu Liu, the actor that plays Shang-Chi, fits the role perfectly. His comedic and yet serious portrayal of Shang-Chi gives the character more depth, and helps people connect with him more. 

Simu Liu, the actor that plays Shang-Chi, fits the role perfectly. His comedic and yet serious portrayal of Shang-Chi gives the character more depth, and helps people connect with him more. ”

Another reason why this movie is enjoyable, is because it doesn’t just tell the story of Shang-Chi, but it also focuses on Wenwu, and his life filled with grief and power. Wenwu and the ten rings have been a shadow in the MCU, starting in the first Iron Man but known as “The Mandarin.” Wenwu’s rampage of power is fueled by the loss of his wife, and shows that grief is a universal experience that it can either lead to greatness, or great destruction. 

Additionally, this movie does a great job of creating more diversity in the film industry. Shang-Chi is Marvel’s first Asian-led movie, and has the second highest domestic debut since the pandemic started. The inclusivity of Asians is not very prominent within the casting of films, but this predominantly Asian cast provides hope for future Asian castings. Other movies like Crazy Rich Asians, The Farewell, and The Joy Luck Club are some of the few popular Asian led movies that I have seen, but none of them have had as big of an impact as Shang-Chi did.

With the rise of Covid-19 these past few years, the rise of Asian hate crimes and misinformation about Asians has rapidly increased. By shedding more light and bringing more positive attention to Asians, Asian cultures, and stories, we can give people a better understanding of who we are.  

By shedding more light and bringing more positive attention to Asians, Asian cultures, and stories, we can give people a better understanding of who we are”

Now what does Shang-Chi mean for the MCU? First, the ten rings are created by technology unlike anything else we have seen so far. In the first post-credit scene, we see that even Captain Marvel, Wong, and Bruce Banner do not know where they were made or what they are made out of. I can see this plotline going in many different ways, but I think that this will lead to the rings being a pivotal item in the future MCU. With Wong also having a cameo during the main portion of the movie, we could possibly be seeing Shang-Chi in future Avengers movies as well. 

In the second post-credit scene, we also see that Shang-Chi’s sister has taken over the ten rings, and that the ten rings organization will return. This sets up a new villain organization for the MCU, following the others like “HYDRA” from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, “S.W.O.R.D” from Wandavision, and the “Flag Smashers” from The Falcon and The Winter Soldier series. This new power group could also lead the way as one of Shang-Chi’s consistent villains, and can lead to a trilogy as well. 

Overall, this movie is a must-see. It is perfect for all families because there are aspects that everyone can enjoy, even non-Marvel fans. The story brings in a new character and weapon that will most likely be used in upcoming marvel films as well. It perfectly fits into the current MCU timeline, and sets up future Shang-Chi films too. In addition, it provides us with an Asian hero unlike any we have ever seen before, and his arrival is perfectly timed as he combats villains in the movie and stereotypes in society.