Shang-Li and the Legend of the Ten Rings
So, yeah, it’s a Marvel movie. There are huge action scenes and wonderful moments of humor and attempts at portraying emotional lows. Because it’s Marvel and not DC, the last is not embarrassingly bad. It’s also a kung-fu movie with a western flair, so you get lots and lots, and lots of action sequences with magical gravity paired with an understandable three act structure.
The actors are all accomplished, and it’s a treat to watch the grace and power of movie martial arts in the hands of talented actors. Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Star Trek: Discovery) is amazing, and not going in with any knowledge of what I was about to see drew an actual huzzah from me in the theater when she appeared, and she didn’t disappoint. The woman is almost 60, people! Still amazing. Awkwafina, who began her career as a singer, has again proven she’s a talented actress and super funny. Ben Kingsley, who has a small part in the film – and somehow garnered third in the cast list – is hilarious. I want to see him and Awkafina do more together. Those few minutes were comedy gold. We’re still laughing about the monkeys. When Benjamin Wong showed up I started laughing before he did anything. He, too, did not disappoint. Tony Leung Chiu-wai I’ve seen before, but this is the best bad guy I’ve seen in a while. The two newbies, to me, were Simu Liu, who played Shang-Chi totally buff and kung-fu-y, with emotional depth. His badass sister Xialing is played by Meng’er Zhang, who was also unknown to me but more talented with the rope dart than anyone I’ve seen since Gogo.
The core reason this movie really works is the writing, which is clever throughout. As with all the best Marvel films, there is a relentless push forward toward whatever end the powers that be are aiming at, plus both nostalgic and plot relevant look backs at the huge canon in this decade-plus story arc. There was a lot of “borrowing” from classic literature, like The Hobbit, and Godzilla. The score is a lot of fun, with a good mix of western and eastern musics, like The Farewell, along with the storytelling styles.
As is normal with a Marvel movie, one must sit through the end credits. The mid-credit easter egg was enlightening, funny, and tied it even more firmly into the Avenger universe, and the end credit scene was surprising and made me wanting more. I was still reeling from seeing The Sydney Water Authority listed in the credits so I almost missed something in the end credit scene. Some of the actors were most assuredly NOT martial artists in the least, and it made me wonder if they were friends, family, movie worker bees who somehow earned a spot, or people who had won a spot on some on-line lottery.
Overall, this is a really fun film that I rank near the top of the Marvel canon – no mean feat. The women in the film come out shining and powerful, people the Marvel universe are both great AND terrible with at the same time. I’m really glad I was able to see this, and I’m sure it was awesome in 3D, but the 2D is just fine as well. See this if you can, and be sure to enjoy the end credits, cut scenes and all.
(See LINKS below for all the goodies. – CFR)
Shang-Li and the Legend of the Ten Rings
OVERALL: Yes, yes 1,000 times yes! OH WELL DONE MARVEL YOU DID IT AGAIN! You hired talented people and delivered to us a beautiful movie taking the superhero genre even higher! I bow to Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studio. Shang-Chi is all we could have hoped for.
POINTS: Once again we have an excellent cast, excellent story/script, and fantastic director. When you have fantastic people, you get a fantastic product.
First: Let us praise Simu Liu who plays the title character and hero Shang-Chi. Beautiful job. He has acting AND martial arts chops. I believed everything about him. I wanted more. I am looking forward to the many sequels and/or seeing him in other Marvel movies. (hint) Perfect casting.
Second: The Beauty. There are mystical, fantastical elements of this movie that took my breath away. As someone of European descent who enjoys European fantasy stories, I LOVED watching this movie as I saw fantasy and mythology elements that I had never seen before. Ok, yes I’ve read about hunduns and they are carriers of chaos, but OMG, I just wanna hug Morris. (See the movie.)
Third: I loved watching these characters and I loved the unfolding of the story. I also loved their interplay and interaction. Of note: I love it when there are men and women as best friends without romance. This can happen people and it does. I want to watch Shang-Chi and Katy (Awkwafina!) together forever.
I can’t wait to buy this movie and watch it over and over and over again.
PITFALLS: I’m looking at you Disney.
Since COVID Disney has been releasing movies online on opening day for money – around $30. This means you can watch the movie online before you see it on opening day and then binge it, after you see it in the theater for days and days on end. Yes, you bet that is what I did for Black Widow! What? You may ask?! CFR you paid for theater tickets AND extra money to watch Black Widow? YES I DID! First; I put my money where my mouth is. I want movies with cool women and men; movies directed by women, and I WAITED 10 YEARS FOR BLACK WIDOW! So yes, I pay. That’s my way of making sure studios know to keep up this good behavior.
Now if I ran a studio/entertainment empire and my lead star had a contract asking for a percentage of opening tickets, no problem! I would have contacted them and said look, COVID, so some of the money is going to come from online sales. Sad yes, we gotta cope. My guess is if I had done that, things would be going well with me and that star and more movies with that star and the character would be in the works because hey, MONEY!
So, Disney (I love you, but really?!) being angry at the star, decided to NOT release Marvel movies early on Disney+ for us fans to BUY and watch.
I got my eye on you Disney, and I’m very disappointed.
FEMALE CHARACTER(S): Yes. What is it and why is it that male directors of African and Asian descent are TOTALLY SUPPORTING THEIR SISTERS?!?! I don’t know why BUT I LOVE IT!!! First Ryan Coogler of Black Panther fame has amazing, wonderful women in his movie – and now Destin Daniel Cretton, director of Shang-Chi has entered that family and it is GOOD!
You got Awkwafina as best friend Katy – thank you for men and women being friends – making us laugh and displaying awesome driving skills. Meng’er Zhang as wonderful, found her own way sister was such a breath of fresh air! Fala Chen was a wonderful and intriguing mother figure. And finally, the eternal, most awesome, Michelle Yeoh as the wise women of this movie. There were more women as well so HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh and yes, the men were cool too. 😊
CULTURAL PITFALL(S): None. My heart sang.
HIGH POINT(S): Ok, this list will be long.
- “Welcome to the Hotel California.” You’ll get the reference when you see the movie.
- The salute to the movie Speed. Good driving, Awkwafina!
- The soundtrack. So beautiful.
- Ben Kingsley reprising Trevor. LOLOL
- MORRIS!!!!!!!! Oh just see the movie to understand.
- Absolutely last post credit scene. O.M.G. Go sis!
BECHDEL TEST (Website): 3 of 3 – YES!
RACIAL BECHDEL TEST (Website): 3 of 3 – YES!
DVD/BLU-RAY and/or STAY STREAMING WORTHY: YES! See PITFALLS for my complaint about not having this for my viewing pleasure now.
LION PAW PRINTS: 4.5 Oh my. Thank you Marvel.