Of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend Of The 10 rings is a 2021 Marvel Comic superhero movie featuring the character Shang-Chi.

Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the 25th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was released in the United States on September 3, 2021 and went on to break several box office records, including records for a film released during the pandemic, and has grossed over $431 million worldwide.

The story follows Shang-Chi who must confront not only his past but his father when Shang-chi and his sister Xialing are drawn back to into their father’s Ten Rings organization and a quest for their mother’s mythical village.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The Good

Shang-Chi does not have the feel of a typical Marvel movie… maybe its because its the first Marvel Studios film with an Asian director and a predominantly Asian cast. I have seen the movie referred to as being to the Asian culture what Black Panther did for the African culture… except, I think Shang-Chi did it better…

While I might not have an ear for languages the parts of Shang-Chi that were spoken in Mandarin sounded authentic and the casting seemed to keep in line with this. Unlike in Black Panther where I cringed at the “African” accents and wondered why they could not have cast more local talent then have Hollywood actors butcher up our languages…check out my Black Panther Review.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Back to Shang-Chi at its core it’s a movie about identity and it pays its homage not only as expressed in the main character’s story arc, but the approach to Chinese myths and legends. Some of the fight sequences took me back to martial arts movies starring Jackie Chan only that those relied less on CGI effects.

Bus fight Shang-Chi

The movie has its funny moments with Shang-Chi’s best friend and sidekick Katy bringing out a dynamic counterbalance which allows the movie to be both serious and have its lighter moments.

Shang-Chi

The Bad

On Katy’s character, the actual relationship with Shang-Chi is platonic but ambiguously left vague, like ok yes, they are best friends but is there more to it? I certainly think Katy’s character could have served more than simply being comic relief or a plot prop so there could be someone to explain what was happening.

Awkwafina as Katy in Shang-Chi

This one is partly on me, don’t ask me how or where, but I initially watched a version of the movie without subtitles and yeah if you can’t understand Mandarin like me that can pose a bit of a challenge as there is not a word of English in the first ten minutes… I later got the English translation subtitles. I understand enough about Mandarin to know it’s a richly idiomatic language so even with English subtitles some nuances are going to be lost in translation.

From Reddit I came across a reference to a part the English Subtitle translates a one liner retort to “I’ve lived ten of your lifetimes, young man.” According to Mandarin speakers, a closer translation would be: “I’ve tasted more salt than you have rice.”  Now that’s salty retort…

lost in translation Shang-Chi
lost in translation

The Ugly

While I initially said it doesn’t have the typical feel of a Marvel movie, it still carries with it some typical Marvel movie tropes, where they cant be content with simplicity but have to make things bigger, larger than life and of course a riotous swell of colour and CGI because they can.

Perhaps I am not the target market and I am growing too old for the over-the-top set pieces that would be more suited to a video game environment than a movie or maybe a movie based on a video game hmmm at one point I felt like this is how the Mortal Kombat movie should have been.

Final Thoughts

It’s a decent enough movie but its getting over hyped. If you are an MCU fan than you should definitely check this one out and its got some interesting easter eggs going on. Lastly how can it be a Marvel movie if it doesn’t have a post credits that hints at future movies coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Have you watched Shang-Chi?

4 Comments

  1. I really liked it, the beginning reminded me of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I was a fan of the comic it was based on. I used to read Master of Kung Fu in the ’70’s. I love kung fu flicks. And I agree the literal translation is a 100 times better, has more of a sting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes the beginning definitely had some Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon vibes!!!
      And that just reminded me of an old favourite… And I forgot its name, hmmm but these guys want to the kill an emperor and this assassin perfects a ten pace method but for it to work he must get within ten paces of the emperor…..
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a Marvel Universe fan and I have already downloaded that movie. Unfortunately between my hectic work schedule and ever demanding kids I am failing to find time to watch, I’ll be back to add to my comment after I watch the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

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