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(film review) - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

What did I need from an MCU Disney Martial Arts movie? Well Martial Arts first and foremost.  I definitely wanted the sound of flapping clothes in the wind when someone is jumping in the air and I also wanted a great story, but something just as good/great as Black Panther (in the MCU), but for the Asian audience because, quality representation matters.  If the film looked just as stunning and as beautiful as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero, I'd say, Disney has done a great job with this film.  So, I guess the question then becomes, has Disney done a great job with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings? Yes, Yes they have.

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) was raised to be a warrior by his father "The Mandarin" who is known to be a dangerous and powerful warlord and the leader of the Ten Rings organisation.  However, these Ten Rings are a physical instrument and weapons Shang-Chi will eventually inherit when they are eventually passed down.  Whilst trying to stay away from his father, assassins attack Shang-Chi and his friend Katy (Awkwafina) leading him to discover his father is looking for him which ends in a battle with his father's army and a struggle to save the world.

This film was great! What makes it worse, it was extremely difficult to try and explain this film without giving away spoilers because the trailers undersell the movie and the story although the trailers do look great, if martial arts is your thing, of course.  There are many layers to this movie while it moves at a steady pace introducing various genres whilst being comical in places with fight scenes that rival the movie The Raid (obviously not as gritty and gory - Disney and all).  The fight on the bus you see in the trailer, great. The fight on the scaffolding, great. The third act is both funny, informative and well, with a fight/battle of course, also great and takes the viewer on a fantastical journey that is both captivating and awe-inspiring.

This is the first acting I've seen from Simu and not only did he do his own fighting and stunts, he is just great as Shang-Chi and I would love to see more of him as this character. The filming of the fight scenes are not jumpy or subjected to shaky cam, so you see every detail of the fighting allowing you to follow it with the wide angles used.  Whilst Awkwafina is a person I'm slowly gravitating to as a actor I like, I haven't seen her in much, but what I have seen her in, she is quite good.  I think she was superb in Raya, but I would like to see more from her.  Shang-Chi's dad (Tony Leung) is excellent and the subtlety and power in his performance is almost Oscar worthy as there are moments where I was almost brought to tears from not only his performance, but the story itself.

The director did an amazing job with this film and whilst the trailers don't really give you the full story, the story goes beyond a boy with daddy issues.  As I stated earlier, there are levels to this movie not even hinted in this film where Love, Tragedy, Honour and Heroism is infused in the Chinese culture that makes a re-watchable movie and one of the MCU's best movies since Iron Man and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Definitely what we need from the MCU after the year with have had. 


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