‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ Combines Kung Fu and Comedy

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Published September 8, 2021
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Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings." Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” tells the story of Shang-Chi, played by Simu Liu, and how he overcomes his father’s dominance while remaining true to himself and maintaining his mother’s legacy.

His idea of resolving conflict with peace is put to the test when he learns the ways of his mother’s village, Ta-Lo, and what they’ve been protecting for hundreds of years.

Not only does the film bring recognition to Western history in a classy way, but it portrays the women in the film as strong, resourceful and independent. They help shape the plot dramatically and always for the better.

This includes Katy and Xialing, who unleash their true potential toward the climax of the film.

Shang-Chi’s younger sister, Xialing, played by Chinese actress Meng’er Zhang, is a Kung Fu expert like her brother.

Meng'er Zhang (left) plays Shang-Chi's sister, Xialing, while Awkwafina (right) plays his best friend, Katy. Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Meng’er Zhang (left) plays Shang-Chi’s sister, Xialing, while Awkwafina (right) plays his best friend, Katy.
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

Katy, Shang-Chi’s childhood best friend, is played by comedian Awkwafina, whose genuine personality shines through the role. Although she normally plays best friend and sister roles, this one suits her particularly well.

Katy isn’t your normal sidekick that already knows 10 different ways to save the day; she’s creative, and honestly, not very talented in fighting, making her the perfect best friend for Shang-Chi. It adds to the film being comedy-rich with sarcasm and snarky comebacks that don’t feel overused or gimmicky.

The director and film crew took a lot of time to make sure that every interaction between the main characters added to their development and the plot. The film is laced with various flashbacks that give insight into everyone and how they will grow as the film progresses.

The fighting in this movie is a breath of fresh air. For the majority of it, the action is rich in different types of fighting: mainly Kung Fu. The film makes sure the audience understands how important Kung Fu is to Shang-Chi and does not gloss over its role in his character development.

Though it’s common knowledge that all of the fighting scenes are stunts, they do a great job at making them feel unrehearsed. I often found myself hiding behind my hands as if one of the actors might actually take a punch.

Shang-Chi is known as the "Master of Kung-Fu." Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Shang-Chi is known as the “Master of Kung Fu.”
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

It isn’t a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie without good computer-generated imaging (CGI). For “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” it was outstanding. With a combination of well-written characters and mind-blowing effects, the climax of the movie was everything it was meant to be and more.

While the film is a little over two hours long, you don’t feel it drags on or is rushed in any way. The film has various points that are fast-paced and action-based and other times where they allow viewers to breathe and understand what had happened in previous scenes.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone who loves action and Kung Fu or those who want to watch a Marvel movie without the hassle of connecting it to a million other things in the MCU.

Despite this film not being a direct mirror of the comic book, Liu lives up to Shang-Chi’s name as the “Master of Kung Fu.”

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