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Movie Review: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings *No Spoilers*

Shang-Chi One Sheet

I actually saw Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in theatres a few weeks ago and only just now realized I never wrote a review. So, in the interest of being a Marvel completionist, here's my late review of the film.

The basic storyline is Shang-Chi, now known a Shaun (Simu Liu), seemingly an average guy with a regular job in San Francisco, is forced to confront his past when his criminal underworld father (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) and leader of the Ten Rings Organization seeks to bring him back into the fold.

The one thing that really stood out for me in this movie is that it is definitely not the movie I thought I was getting based on the trailers, which make it look like a straight forward, Marvel origin story. It is so much more than that, but at the same time, I don't really want to tell you about it in any great detail, because it was quite amazing to discover there was more to this world than I expected.

At the same time I was pleased to see that some of the flash back fight scenes, that looked a little hokey in the trailers, weren't when you see them in full and in context.

For me, I wasn't familiar with most of the cast, though I know Tony Chiu-Wai Leung is considered an acting legend (you can see why in this film). It also was good to see Ben Kingsley getting another opportunity to play the hapless Trevor Slattery (not really a spoiler - you knew he'd at least be referenced at some point). Aside from that everyone brought their 'A' game.

It would have been nice for Katy (Awkwafina) to have a bit stronger story arc, and a bit more to do, but her role as sidekick/best friend/comedy relief is still a lot of fun.

Possibly the only downside to this movie, if you could call spectacular CGI a downside, is that the impressive street level, martial arts fights at the beginning of the film escalate to a full on CGI battle by the end. Which is often the case with most superhero movies but it kind of moves away from martial arts and becomes a little more like other superhero movies (albeit in a very fantastical environment).

It's not disappointing by any means but it's not the final battle you're anticipating going into the film.

Promising though, is where the film ends up with its final scenes and, of course, post credit scenes. There's so much potential for all the characters moving forward, whether it's in sequels or bought into crossover movies with some of the other Marvel title characters (personally I'd like to see a Shang-Chi/Dare Devil crossover with the Ten Rings but there's an easy Doctor Strange crossover here too).

Overall Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings is a strong entry into the MCU. I enjoyed it far more than I expected to, given I'm not that familiar with the character from the comics at all.

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