‘Shang-Chi’ balances action with heart


Marvel Studio released its newest movie, ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’, on Sept. 3. Longtime fans and newcomers alike will be thrilled with the film, which works as both a coming-of-age story and as a fantasy adventure. 

Like every other movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ‘Shang-Chi’ is based on the comic book series of the same name. With this being Shang-Chi’s first appearance in the MCU, the film primarily focuses on how he became a hero at all, as well as giving viewers a sneak peak on how he may help other heroes in the future. 

In the film, Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi, also known as “Shaun”, a former assassin attempting to start over. When trying to get to work one day, however, he and his best friend Katy (Awkwafina) are attacked by members of the mysterious Ten Rings organization. As Shang-Chi faces the Ten Rings organization once again, he is forced to confront the past he thought he left behind.

Though it is an action film, ‘Shang-Chi’ is also a story about bringing a family back together. One of the main plot devices of the film, Shang-Chi’s pendant, was one part of a gift given to him by his mother, with the other half going to his sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang). The Ten Rings organization’s interest in the pendant worries Shang-Chi, and he reunites with Xialing for the first time in years. The viewers learn a lot about Shang-Chi throughout the movie, especially how he became the person he is today.

But it would not be a true Marvel movie if there were no fantastical realms or action-packed fighting scenes, and ‘Shang-Chi’ has both in droves. At the beginning of the movie, viewers learn a bit about the mystical Ten Rings and how they led to the creation of the Ten Rings organization. They also learn about the village of Ta Lo, a place filled with fantastical creatures from Chinese mythology. Both the rings and the village are built on throughout the movie, giving the viewers another excellent taste of MCU’s world building.

Marvel is also known to have mind blowing action scenes, and in this regard, ‘Shang-Chi’ does not disappoint. The first major fight scene sees Shang-Chi take down several bad guys, including one with a sword for a hand, on a runaway articulated Muni bus that is crashing through the streets of San Francisco.

The next major battle is at a club between Shang-Chi, Xialing and the Ten Rings, where all of the characters are on top of what seems to be bamboo scaffolding. Both of the siblings take down several members, but are ultimately stopped by Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), the leader of the Ten Rings and their father.

The final major fight is a two-part battle. It initially starts as a fight between the Ta Lo villagers and the Ten Rings, but then sees Shang-Chi fight against a soul sucking demon that wants to take over the world. This fight is the climax of the movie, and it shows off what Marvel is best known for doing.

Overall, the movie is great. It sticks to Marvel’s classic “good versus evil” plot with a fantastical twist. However, instead of having just battle after battle, this movie also has a heartfelt story line woven throughout, which helps get the viewer invested.