REVIEW: “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” brings a new refreshing twist to the MCU

The movie poster for the recent featured film “Shang Chi Legend Of The Ten Rings.”

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The movie poster for the recent featured film “Shang Chi Legend Of The Ten Rings.”

Heath Rice, Section Editor

All around the world, fans are welcoming Marvel’s newest martial artist to the Cinematic Universe. “Shang-Chi: Legend of The Ten Rings made its debut into box offices on Sept. 3.

The movie was a refreshing addition to theaters, as it brought a highly anticipated hero to the mix in Shang-Chi, a martial artist who has occupied teams such as the Midnight Sons, New Avengers and Avengers. His first release was in 1973’s Masters of Kung-Fu comic series.  

On its Labor Day weekend release, the film generated $94 million in revenue. This was a great release weekend and the movie was reviewed in high regard by fans and critics alike. It received a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and an average 8/10 by IMDb

The movie was highly anticipated not only by fans but by the actors, as well. Simu Liu, who played the role of Shang-Chi, was ecstatic to share this story with the world. His powers and fighting style are deeply rooted in Chinese culture, and the movie made sure to touch on all aspects of it. 

The film had small details that truly touched on the rich Chinese culture. Chinese names along with their importance and classic traditions were implemented in the film, one being the holiday known as Day Of The Dead.

This holiday, which occurs every April, is one to honor and respect the dead ancestors of a family line. The tradition of bringing gifts and offerings to loved ones who have passed on is a tradition that has prospered for hundreds of years. 

Throughout the film, there are multiple shrines shown in temples and beautiful mirrors and candles burn brightly for those who moved onto the afterlife. 

Even the final scene showed a traditional Chinese memorial, where they floated small paper boats into the water to be guarded by the dragon that protects their village. This was a way to honor those who gave their lives in the battle for the universe. 

Small details such as the mask on the assassins were deeply embedded in history. The Death Dealer, an assassin under Shang-Chi’s father, wore a white mask. This mask represented one from the Chinese Opera which was made to signify death. 

The fights were rich in tradition and classic fighting styles. The defending Lions and dragons represent the true protectors of the Chinese in ancient myths. The recurring theme of a dragon was based on the Chinese zodiac which symbolizes good luck. 

With this movie’s amazing cultural details, it was packed full of beautiful scenery and fights. The choreography was beautifully detailed and precise. The effective storytelling and cast really brought life to the characters. 

Each character brought something different into Liu’s role. His friends and family all helped to shape the fighter he became. The movie was packed with heart, comedy and love. Each joke was perfectly placed to make it a unique and thrilling experience. 

The opening fight against the Mandarin and Jiang Li was a beautiful piece of art. It blended beautiful cinematography with traditional kung-fu fighting styles. The blend of powerful, high-tech weapons and traditional martial combat was stunning. 

Along with choreography, the movie’s CGI was immersive and a truly unique experience. As the heroes moved into the other universe to protect his mother’s home, the change in scenery was nothing short of perfection. 

The different creatures that occupied the lands were all unique blends of animals on Earth. Large, magical deer and peculiar, headless dogs added something special to the alternate universe. 

Liu focused highly on the power this movie had to not only bring enjoyment but give pride to his culture. Originally, the movie had sparked controversy with its release and whether or not it would be available on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+.  

Disney was curious about how sales would be if they chose to release it not only to theaters, but also to streaming services. They decided to do a 45-day theatrical release exclusively in theaters. 

In a tweet by Liu about the release date, “We are the underdog; the underestimated. We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year,” he stated.

This movie was every Marvel fan’s dream, with cameos and references from movies like “Infinity War” and “Iron man.” The villain actor who played Mandarin in Iron Man 3 made a surprise appearance and even added comedic value to the movie. 

The movie did an impressive job filling the gaps of many questions fans had on “The Mandarin” or Shang-Chi’s father.  

A Pleasant Valley Senior, Benjamin Schroeder went to see the movie last week, “I really liked the movie, the cultural appreciation was really good. The editing was really good, every scene seemed like it belonged. Lastly, the fighting scenes were amazing, some of the best scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie,” he stated in an interview. 

Even the world’s mightiest man, Hulk, had one of his deadliest foes appear in the film. Abomination, a gamma-filled menace was even seen fighting the magical protector Wong in a cage fight. 

The director perfectly filled even the slowest moments of the movie with facts and small details that made comic readers proud. Not only were the character cameos appreciated by fans, but their lines gave them new personalities and lives that were unexpected.

A fan-favorite moment was when a hero for justice was caught by Shang-Chi breaking Abomination out of his prison cell for staged cage matches. It added a layer of comic relief in a very emotionally filled moment.

Although many heroes and villains made their mark in the film, tragically, this was the first of many films without a cameo by Stan Lee. 

In an article about why Marvel is removing these cameos, they stated, “Marvel will no longer allow visual or audio Stan Lee cameos, out of respect to the comic book legend following his passing.”   

After Lee’s death in 2018, he had made a final CGI cameo in Endgame to honor his memory. Many fans were disappointed to not see Lee’s familiar face in the theaters.

Along with comedy, the movie had amazing heart, focusing on the importance of traditions, staying true to oneself and the love of family. They even found a way to have audience members sympathize with the villain. 

“Shang-Chi” was a stunning piece of cinematography that beautifully blended world building, cultural references, comedy, cameos and a new future for the MCU. After the conclusion of the 10 year Infinity Saga, Shang Chi could finally give fans hints to the next threat to humanity. 

In traditional Marvel fashion, the end credit scene sparked new questions and a possibility for cosmic threats to rise. The 10 rings which were worn by The Mandarin are now in the possession of Shang-Chi. Their origins remain unknown which brings the newest question to the MCU.  

Who will be the newest threats to humanity and who will appear in upcoming movies to face them?               

This movie was an amazing piece of cinematic artwork and its beauty was truly in the details. It was not only an amazing blend of intense fights and jaw-dropping CGI, but it also was a cultural celebration for millions around the world to enjoy. This movie is a must see for all Marvel and action film enthusiasts, that will leave the viewer fully satisfied.