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Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings – Review

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Marvel Studios

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premiered on Thursday 2 September. Currently, it holds a $71.5 million opening weekend box office, beating the current record for Labour Day weekend releases in the US. It also holds a 98% audience score and 92% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the highest-rated Marvel movies. Needless to say, Shang-Chi entered the MCU with a bang, shattering cultural barriers in a huge win for Asian representation. But how does Shang-Chi fit into the MCU, here’s our review?

SPOILERS: Warning there are spoilers ahead.

New Characters

Shang-Chi introduces a couple of new faces into the MCU. Outside of the Disney Plus TV Shows, this is the first film to take place in Phase Four post-blip. This is also the first Marvel origin story since Captain Marvel in 2019. The film adds a freshness to the MCU that we haven’t seen in a long time.

Of course, there is the titular character Shang-Chi, played by Simu Liu. His powers/skill-set is based primarily on the two different martial-arts style training he received from his parents. Trained to be an assassin by his father, and then taught his mother’s magic style of fighting, he’s a combination of both traditional martial arts and the supernatural. And then there’s his possession of the ten rings by the end of the film, adding a whole new element with a mysterious and very old power around his wrists.

He’s accompanied by his best friend Katy, played by Awkwafina, who is thrust into this world somewhat haphazardly. By the end of the film she begins training as an archer in Ta-Lo, the magical village Shang-Chi’s mother hails from. In the first post-credit scene, both Katy and Shang-Chi are welcomed to the Avengers.

And then there’s Shang-Chi’s sister Xialing, who runs an underground fighting ring. But in the second post-credit scene, we see her take control of her father’s criminal empire, aptly titled The Ten Rings. It’s a little unclear what role Xialing will take in the future; whether or not she will be the antagonist in the sequel or an anti-hero ally is left up in the air.

Familiar faces

Now it being a Marvel movie, a few cameos are expected. But the cameos we got were unique and unexpected

Wong, played by Benedict Wong, makes an appearance battling Abomination in Xialing’s fight ring. Abomination hasn’t been seen since 2008’s The Hulk. The producer of Shang Chi, Jonathan Schwartz, told ComicBook.com that “there will be more Abomination to come.” Most likely in 2022’s Disney Plus show She-Hulk.

Wong also appears at the end of the film and in the post-credit scene. It seems that he’s vetting new heroes and technology as a pseudo-recruiter for the Avengers. He and Doctor Strange’s role is to protect Earth from cosmic threats, so it makes sense that Wong is keeping tabs on characters like Abomination and Shang-Chi. He plays a role almost akin to Nick Fury in early MCU films.

The most unexpected cameo in this film, but, is Iron Man 3’s Trevor Slattery, played by Ben Kingsley. Trevor was a drug-addicted actor in Iron Man 3 who was hired to play the role of a terrorist known as the Mandarin. He was a scapegoat and cover for domestic terrorists in the film. Shang-Chi’s father Wenwu, played by Tony Leung, is the actual Mandarin. As punishment for his unflattering portrayal of him, Trevor is now sober and imprisoned in Wenwu’s compound. He makes friends with a supernatural creature from Ta-Lo, and the pair lead Shang-Chi to the mythical village. He’s definitely one of the biggest comedic reliefs in the film and had a delightful return to the MCU.

The EndGame problem

Now a huge problem the MCU has written itself into is the End Game problem. Things happening in the MCU are now happening after a huge event; The Blip. It asks the question, were these new characters blipped? And why didn’t they help fight Thanos?

This movie does not answer either of these questions. We have no idea if Shang-Chi and the company were blipped or not. Now the only people who would possibly make a difference in the fight against Thanos at the time were Wenwu and Ta-Lo. Wenwu is typically pretty immoral, but if you were facing annihilation, you might want to join the fight. The only logical explanation for Ta-Lo’s non-presence would be that they must not have known about the fight.

Now the MCU doesn’t necessarily have to answer that question for every new character. But when you have a massive event like Thanos, and then introduce powerful new protagonists, it is a little questionable. Shang-Chi barely addresses the Blip or Thanos at all.

Questions going forward

In the first post-credit scene, we see Shang-Chi discuss the ten rings with Captain Marvel and Bruce Banner. Captain Marvel’s hair is long again, and Bruce is not hulked up. It seemed like in End Game that Bruce was now the Hulk full-time; that the two had merged. But in his appearance in Shang-Chi, not only is he just Bruce but his arm is broken. This begs the question; how much time has passed between End Game and Shang-Chi? Why isn’t Bruce the Hulk anymore? What has he been up to, that his arm is now broken?

In terms of the general timeline, things are… unclear. The appearances of Captain Marvel and Bruce suggest that a good amount of time has passed, but WandaVision happens almost immediately after End Game. We still don’t know what the big bad is going to be for the next overall arc for the MCU, but we know for sure that it will deal with the multiverse. We’ve seen WandaVision, Loki, and supposedly the trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home break the multiverse. So in terms of where Shang-Chi takes place in regards to all three of those major events, things are very unclear. Maybe Wanda’s actions in WandaVision were not as significant as we previously thought.

The ten rings are also sending out a signal. The movie never confirms where they came from. Wong, Carol, and Bruce seem to have no idea. So who are the rings calling out to?

The most common theory is the Eternals. The Eternals is the next movie, so it would make sense to set them up. They’ve also been on Earth since the beginning of time, and have highly advanced, very old technology. It’s possible that the rings came from them, and are either calling to them or the Celestials (the Eternals creators).

Summing up

Overall, Shang-Chi is a fabulous addition to the MCU. Just when it seems that the MCU might tire out their formula or run out of steam, they continue to stun with their new content. Shang-Chi solidifies that the future of the MCU is bright.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 8/10


Thank you for reading our review of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read our thoughts on the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer HERE.

Check out iMDB information on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings HERE

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Movie News

Morbius – Trailer

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Sony Pictures

The latest trailer for Jared Leto’s Morbius is here and there’s a bit more of a tease around its crossover with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You can view the trailer below.

Crossover

Seeing more of Michael Keaton’s incarcerated Vulture is the latest nod to an expanding universe after the post-credits scene in Venom: Let there be Carnage and what’s expected from Spider-Man: No Way Home, due for release 17 December this year.

Plot

In the movie Biochemist, Michael Morbius will attempt to cure himself of a rare blood disease, but in taking an ‘at any costs’ approach he infects himself with bat venom and instead turns himself into a vampire. Morbius treads the thin line between hero and villain as he attempts to master his newfound powers.

Cast

Alongside the aforementioned Leto and Keaton, there are also roles for former Doctor Who Matt Smith, Transformers Tyrese Gibson and Jared Harris in a mystery role.

Here’s the trailer to enjoy:

Morbius will be in cinemas in January 2022.


Do you like Morbius trailer? Are you planning on seeing it when it’s released? What do you think it’ll be like? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer HERE.

Read IMDB information about Morbius HERE.

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