Shang-Chi is a remarkable new entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. It has a lot to offer to a broad, broad audience, and successfully does this without alienating fans or non-fans. Marvel hasn’t strayed too far from their formula, but the cautious steps they have made in a different direction pay off beautifully.
Let’s talk about the writing. Without Robert Downey Jr. behind the line of Disney-approved jokes, these movies usually suffer tremendously. What is most refreshing is how on point the delivery is (most of the time). Simu Liu can really handle half-baked dialogue. Awkwafina, while I’d say she’s still redeemed herself from the travesty of Breaking News in Yuba County, is still having trouble getting over the awkward force behind her lines. The rest of the cast is stellar here, and really breaks the mold for whitewashing in superhero media. This film was a breath of fresh air for blockbuster tentpoles.
The visual effects, while not completely on par with the likes of Godzilla v Kong, will knock your socks off nonetheless. Marvel is learning what the audience wants, and what the audience wants is giant monsters battling each other. It is a gorgeous film, and the direction by Destin Daniel Cretton (Just Mercy) brings the world to life.
The action set-pieces were clever and inventive. The costumes and production design were colorful and exciting. The fight choreography was just stellar, and I’d love to see more kung-fu influence in upcoming Marvel pictures– and according to the incredible box office records, I can safely assume there is much more to come.
Whether or not you’re into superhero flicks, do yourself a favor and catch this in the cinema. With this precedent, we can really look forward to Chloe Zhao’s upcoming The Eternals. I give Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings a 4 out of 5.