Movie Review: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Disney)

The Master of Kung Fu humbly joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe Shang-Chi, otherwise known as Master of Kung-Fu, was created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin and first […]

The Master of Kung Fu humbly joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Shang-Chi, otherwise known as Master of Kung-Fu, was created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin and first appeared in Special Marvel Edition #15. Son of the pulp book villain Fu Manchu, Shang-Chi was trained from infancy to become a living weapon. When he learns the truth about his father, Shang-Chi makes it his mission to take down his father’s organization. 

The road to the Shang-Chi movie has been an interesting one. Shang-Chi has been in development since the 1980s in one form or another. In 2018, Marvel Studios announced that a movie was being developed for the MCU. While looking for the film’s main character, actor Simu Liu, of Kim’s Convenience fame, tweeted the following: “Ok @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi. “. In 2019, Marvel Studios officially announce Liu would be playing the title character.

The plot revolves around the Ten Rings organization, which was first introduced way back in 2008’s Iron Man film.  Shang-Chi has been in hiding from his father who is the leader of the Ten Rings. Shang’s father finds him, and Shang must face his past and confront his father. 

I seriously loved this film. There was a great mix of action, drama, and humor, and is probably one of the most family-friendly Marvel films.  The screenplay by director Destin Daniel Cretton, and writers Andrew Lanham has some really great pacing and nice dialogue. A very captivating story.

Cretton used different styles of martial arts films when it came to the fight sequences. The fight on the bus really reminded me of Jackie Chan films. While others are beautiful like in the films Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero. Very stylized. Cretton also knows when to take a beat or introduce humor to lighten the scene. Overall the entire look of the film is really stunning throughout the film. 

Liu really knocks it out of the park as Shang-Chi. He really embraces the character and makes it his own. And he’s just so charming. I might be biased here because I really loved him in Kim’s Convenience. Awkwafina plays Shang’s best friend Katy. Katy’s is definitely the comic relief here, but not over the top to take away from the rest of the film. Tony Leung plays Shang’s father and crimelord Wenwu. Leung plays a very multi-dimensional character. He’s not really purely evil. He straddles that line extremely well. Meng’er Zhang plays Shang’s sister Xialing. She’s great and is able to hold her own, both physically and in terms of character.

Now, this is an adaptation and while the heart of the character is there, it’s different from the comic counterpart. I do wish there were some of the comic supporting characters like MI-6 agent Black Jack Tarr and Shang’s love interest Leiko Wu. Of course, I’m a hardcore comic reader, but to the average movie-goer, since you don’t know who these characters are, you won’t miss them. 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a great film and I highly recommend you go see it when it comes out in theaters on September 3rd. And as always, remember this is a Marvel movie, so sit all the way through the credits!

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.