Shang Chi and the Legend Of the Ten Rings review: Simu Liu's action adventure film is a wholesome delight
Shang Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings is a big diversion from the humdrum Marvel affairs that one might have gotten used to over the course of so many films that built the franchise. The film is not just a cultural diversion introducing the world to its first Asian superhero played by Simu Liu but also a pleasant break away from the laboratory experiments that some of the biggest superheroes of the franchise got their powers from.
At the heart of it, Shang Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings is a family drama that is wholesome and engaging. Of course like some of the previous films this superhero too has his daddy issues and comes in the now-famous Marvel original story template but the story and execution do well to cover up for you not to dwell on this too long.
Shang Chi has been living as Shaun in San Francisco by himself since he was a teen but an attack on him by goons sent by his immortal and powerful father Wenwu leads him to seek out his sister Xailing in Macau and ensure she is safe. From there the story of Shang Chi picks up in pace and action and layer by layer unravels Shang Chi’s past revealing how he was trained to be an assassin by his father after his mother died when he was seven.
Tony Leung as Shang Chi’s villainous thousand-year-old dad ticks off all the checkboxes in both the strong and vulnerable departments. A man with the world at his feet Wenwu is driven by not hate or vengeance but by the desire to reunite with his love. This desire coupled with his all-powerful ten rings leads him on a destructive path.
Moving away from the family drama, ShangChi features some of the best action choreography ever seen in a Marvel film. With most action sequences being hand to hand kung fu and martial arts the attention to detail is noteworthy and worth applauding. Simu Liu is impressive in these scenes from the word go. His agility, quick reflexes, and effortlessness make him the perfect addition to the Marvel superhero club but at the same time make him stand out as the action hero in a CGI-loving film universe.
While the trailer gives away very little of the impressive world of Shang Chi, the film soars when it comes to delighting us being equal part entertaining as it is adventurous. Awkwafina as Shang Chi’s best friend Katy might not have a lot of punches to throw in the action department but definitely has the best and funniest punch lines.
Shang Chi gives a new lease of life to the done to death origin story format and leaves you anticipating bright future for this character in Marvel.