Shang-Chi review: Simu Liu is the new best Marvel hero | Films | Entertainment –

Published On: Tue, Aug 24th, 2021

Shang-Chi review: Simu Liu is the new best Marvel hero | Films | Entertainment


Marvel’s latest entry to its cinematic universe is fighting an uphill battle. The last film to continue the epic series’ story after Avengers Endgame was Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019. After that, Black Widow hit Disney Plus earlier this year – but it was mostly a prequel with no real impact on the post-Snap universe. Enter Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a film tasked with continuing the Avengers story while introducing a brand new hero, evil organisation, and set of magical artifacts – as well as being the pressure of being the first Asian-led Marvel flick. Despite these challenges, Shang-Chi is one of the best Marvel movies to date.

Shang-Chi, played by Kim’s Convenience star Simu Liu, ran away from his supervillain father as a child and started a new life in America.

Now named Shaun, the hero lives a simple life in San Francisco while hanging out with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina).

When assassins target him and his friend, the past Shang-Chi thought he left behind comes back to haunt him.

What follows is a beautiful journey into not only Chinese culture, cinema, and values, but a genuinely thrilling story full of unexpected turns.

Liu is captivating. The Chinese-Canadian star owns every moment he is on screen – which, thankfully, is a lot.

The quippy character is a joy to watch in the slower, more comedy-driven scenes, rivalling that of Spider-Man and Iron Man, but is equally as enticing when the heart of the film rears its head.

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Maybe most importantly: Liu is convincing during the numerous fight scenes in the movie.

From battling three thugs on a bus to sailing through the air in the final battle, Liu looks right at home on the big screen. While it’s early doors for Liu’s career, it will certainly be a long and fruitful one. 

Liu’s acting chops are bolstered by the incredible narrative weaved around his character.

Great effort has been put into Shang-Chi’s back story. The warrior is the only son of Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung), an evil overlord who has ruled the East for centuries with his mystical ten rings whose power grant him elongated life and staggering abilities. 

The warlord returns to the story to take on a new quest that he needs Shang-Chi’s help with.

Although the film’s magical and mythical story could have easily been dredged into generic storytelling, it never felt absurd.

The pacing of the middle portion of the movie is all over the place.

One minute viewers are being thrown into dangerous battles where life and death are just one wrong move away, and the next they are being force-fed some exposition to expand the storyline.

Most of Shang-Chi’s harrowing backstory is essential – and fun to watch! – but it does seem to be implemented just when it doesn’t need to be.

When the pacing isn’t being stunted by unexpected narrative tunnels, Shang-Chi is hilarious.

This is mostly due to Awkwafina’s character Katy, who acts as a powerful dose of comic relief throughout the film – but she does more than that, as well.

Her ambiguous relationship with Shang-Chi expands the heart of the film, building real stakes at every battle, even when an otherworldly presence threatens all existence. 

CONCLUSION

Move over Spider-Man: Shang-Chi is the new face of Marvel. Not only is The Legend of the Ten Rings funny, impassioned, riveting and stunning to watch, it feels more original than some of Marvel’s more recent inclusions in the MCU. Simu Liu is an absolute treat to watch and partners well with the legendary Tony Leung to create a complicated and touching father-son dynamic throughout the film.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits cinemas on September 3.



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