The best origin MCU flick since Iron Man. Shang Chi delivers on everything you would want in a comic-book movie. Packing a serious punch behind Simu Liu, who is the newest addition to the Avengers roster.
Shang-Chi, the master of unarmed weaponry-based Kung Fu, is forced to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization.
Boy, it sure felt great to be back at the cinemas watching an MCU flick. The next phase of the MCU is upon us and it is already reaching new and spectacular heights. Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is a master of Kung Fu and now possesses the all-mighty Ten Rings. Something the MCU has severely lacked is great hand-to-hand combat fights and that stops here because Shang-Chi has some of the best fight sequences ANY comic-book movie has to offer.
Again, the team over at Marvel has taken a lesser-known character and made them into a rock star, because you may or may not like their formula but it works. The MCU is essentially the Buckleys of film-making. Not saying the MCU is awful, but that, it just works.
Shang-Chi follows the aforementioned on a journey of self-discovery after he ditches his heritage and his family, to try and start a new path for himself. He has his trusty sidekick Katy (Awkwafina) who is always down for some karaoke, laughs, and never leaves his side. She was terrific in this role, her comedy was spot-on, and she didn’t feel out of place. They didn’t just make her some background love interest, she actually has things to do and much like her friend Shang-Chi, she too is on a journey. This film is about self-discovery, not running away from your past, and realizing that you have greatness inside of you. That being mediocre isn’t the way to go through life and that you’re stronger than you think. It was really well done and it resonates with a ton of our characters, including Shang-Chi’s sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang). Meng’er shines as the baby sister who just wanted to fit in and show that it doesn’t matter who you are, everyone and anyone can achieve greatness. All three of the hero leads work so well together and it felt like we had been with these people before. They will blend flawlessly into the MCU and the larger scope of things and I can’t wait to see that happen.
Now for the villain. Xu Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) was AMAZING. One of the strongest villains in the MCU in recent memory. He has a purpose and felt connected to everything going on within the film. He can be caring and kind but then has a switch that can go cold and calculated in a matter of seconds which made him a worthy foe for our heroes. He kicks ass and took no prisoners and much like any family man, he loves his family but has a misguided ideology of what it means to be a good father. One gripe with the film and a lot of MCU movies are, why are they killing off all the bad guys after just one movie? There is always room for more story with these people and I’ll never understand that. The MCU loves to kill off the bad guy at the end of every movie like the good guy ‘needs to win” but that just closes the door on a ton of sequel possibilities.
This movie certainly packs a punch. The action is astonishing, with a bus sequence that is by far one of the best MCU action scenes yet. Every punch feels like it matters, you and the people inside the movie feel it. The fight scenes are so well-choreographed that you can’t wait to see them go back to this well for future movies. I can’t say enough good things about the bus sequence because it’s everything the MCU has to offer at its very peak. The 3rd act gets a little CGI-heavy, but honestly, the movie deserves it. The whole movie is so grounded, especially with the first two-fight sequences that of course there’s going to be an epic showdown at the end, that involves two giant monsters, but I loved it. It felt earned and showcased what this movie is all about. Embracing other cultures.
Overall, I had a ton of fun with Shang-Chi, it’s the best MCU origin flick in a long time. Showed us that the MCU isn’t slowing down, and added some new depth and likable new characters. You can’t really ask for more!
Shang-Chi = 83/100