Hey gang, Valkor here. When I began my journey into the MCU films, I went in with many doubts; with Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, there were so many doubts that those characters would work in their own films. Then came Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther, still I had doubts. But all those films and more have proven me wrong because they were all so damn good! And not just the films, but the outstanding trend continued with the Disney+ series! So, now we come to Shang-Chi, the latest in the MCU films and the second in the phase four lineup; I know I’m umpteen films in with the MCU, so I shouldn’t have any doubts with their latest film, right? Wrong! Shang-Chi, to me, isn’t well known, and I’m sure there are plenty of comic book fans who’ve read up on him. I know I can count on one hand how many books I’ve read... actually I don’t need one hand because I’ve read none. But I can say this, after watching Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, without a doubt, Marvel/Disney have another perfect film on their hands! And it’s one of the MCU’s finest!
In Legend of the Ten Rings, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), along with his friend Katy (Awkwafina), is confronted by a group of men who want nothing more than the pendant around his neck. However, I don’t think these men were expecting much retaliation because Shang got hands! And he uses them well in one of the finest vehicular battles to hit the big screen. This leads to a message Shang received from his sister, wanting him to come back to China. But he learns she didn’t send it. So, once more Shang, Katy, and now Shang’s sister Li (Fala Chen) face off against another group of assassins who wants Li’s pendant. Who sent these men after Shang and his sister? And why do they want the two pendants so bad? As it turns out, it's their father, Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), who is also known to westerners as The Mandarin. Xu wants the pendants because they open up a map that leads to the legendary hidden city Ta Lo. And it’s in this mystical place that Xu believes his wife, who has been dead for years, is now held captive and wants to break her free. But something even deadlier lurks behind those walls, and now it’s up to Shang-Chi to not only confront this creature but also face his father, the wielder of the ten deadly rings.
And just like many of the MCU films, you don’t leave after the credits! With Legend of the Ten Rings, you get two post-credit scenes, one that may or may not lead into the next Avenger’s film. And the other looks like it shows the possibility of a Shang-Chi sequel. Either way, I’m on board! Until then, the next MCU adventure is Spider-Man: No Way Home, and I wait in anticipation. And now, on to the TOV Breakdown!
Is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings any good? No! It’s an amazing origin story! Are you looking for a kick-ass, martial arts tour de force that's combined with a few sprinkles of comedy, all of which is wrapped around an exceptional story? Then look no further because you found it! Going in, I had my doubts about Shang-Chi; he wasn’t one of my favorites when I read Marvel comics. But on film, his story rocks! It does a fine showing Shang and Xu's beginnings, how they're linked and the outcome of their family fallout. The film also balances the story with the action quite well. And the pacing is very brisk, making this more than 2 hour journey easy to follow. I enjoyed the connection between Shang and Katy, and while we didn't see anything of a romantic hook up, I guess we'll save that for another film. Next up is film's The eye candy that is the special effects, which are on point; when they enter the Ta Lo village, it's breathtakingly beautiful! Yet, the end battle will do a number on your optics! The acting is on point. Kudos to Simu Liu on a stellar performance with not only the acting but the fight scenes, which kind of reminds me of a Jackie Chan film from back in the day–just so intense! Tony Leung also shines as Xu as The Mandarin, and I love how he brushes off the name as “just an orange”. I was hoping Ben Kingsley would reprise his role as Trevor, aka the fake Mandarin, and again, the film does not let me down! He not only gives one heck of a performance, but he also has jokes! Plus, he’s given a sidekick! Finally, I loved The Abomination's appearance versus Wong; I wish the scene were longer, but it was still loads of fun and a cool nod to the Ed Norton Incredible Hulk. I hope this isn’t the last we get to see of him. So, first, there was Iron Man, then came Black Panther, and now I can add Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as the 3rd in the MCU that makes for a perfect origin film! You’ll come for the action, stay for the credits, and walk away satisfied after an entertaining experience!
My one real negative is minor; as much as I loved Awkwafina’s role in the film, I felt she should have been left out when Wong came to take Shang back to the Sanctum Sanctorum. Maybe her role will have some importance later on? And I’m hoping it does because that would be so bad ass. I love Awkwafina and most of what she does. So her inclusion in the MCU, in a much larger role, would make my geeky heart so happy!
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is currently making the theatrical rounds, with a Disney+ release in a few weeks. And I can’t wait to enjoy the film once again in the comfort of my home. The film is a fun ride that has a lot going for it in terms of action and fun, which if you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking it out. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings a 5!