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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

by Sarfraz Hussain 5 months ago in review
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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. How Marvel China Conquered

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is a hereditary warrior raised by the mysterious Ten Rings organization. It is led by the hero's father, Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung Chu Wai). While still a child, he lost his mother, who was also fluent in martial arts, and, under the guidance of his father, accumulated strength in himself for merciless revenge. As time went on, Xu Wenwu sent Shang-Chi and his younger sister Xialin (Zhang Meng'er) on dangerous missions. Realizing the perniciousness of his father's upbringing, the young man flees to America, gets a job as a parking attendant in a fashionable hotel, and begins to communicate with the outrageous Katie (Aquafina) to enjoy life in daily karaoke gatherings to the song Hotel California. However, the ghosts of the past strive to pull Shang-Chi out of his favorite routine. For the sake of a peaceful future, he is forced to return and correct the mistakes made by his disgraced father.

For the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which entered its fourth phase with great difficulty - the difficult parting with the Avengers and coronavirus transfers affected - Shang-Chi will definitely not be a support project. Unless in the Chinese market, for which the film is designed. And viewers who are not fans of comics may not have heard of this hero at all. In addition, director Destin Daniel Cretton, although he has established himself as a director of good award-winning dramas and biopics with Brie Larson (she will also appear here, in the post-credits scene), had no experience in filming action scenes, which are usually a lot in Marvel films. In general, the introduction to the studio, from a commercial and artistic point of view, is not the most favorable.

The more surprising is the final result. Shang-Chi is both like the very first Marvel origins and more recent and mature films like Black Panther and Doctor Strange, only without the heaps of MCU lore and pressing issues. In the first act, as is usually the case, viewers and loved ones of Shang-Chi will suddenly discover his fighting skills in a beautiful action scene on the bus, with the help of which Cretton will instantly prove his genre viability.

And then everything is like in a fairy tale. The heroes move to their native, partly pretentious Boomer-Zumer China. Inside it, like in Wakanda, traditional architecture and an abundance of colorful representatives of local martial arts coexist with technological progress, a neon street world, and jeeps, as if freshly painted by Banksy himself. In this visual diversity and plot twists and turns, Cretton is not lost at all. He skillfully endows Shang-Chi with the standard set of mandatory points for Marvel Bullet Points: appropriate interspersed with humor (Awkwafina and Ben Kingsley are successfully responsible for it), deliberate edification, and unquestioning adherence to the action-pause-action system.

At the turn of the second and third acts, the picture makes a sharp turn towards myth and fantasy, which begins to justify the subtitle "The Legend of the Ten Rings". The heroes reveal the terrible plans of Xu Wenwu, who hears the call of his dead wife and dreams of finding a way to her. This road, of course, is deceptive and looks more like a path to the gates to the underworld, which must be opened for the spouse to return.

That is why the local bad boy with a mind clouded by endless love appears not as a bloodthirsty madman, but as a confused person - a wonderful villain for one single film from a large-scale cinematic universe, but no more. On the way to his goal, he stops at nothing, including his wife's native village - the last stronghold of the defense of the gates that separate Venva from the voice of his beloved.

The final battle of everyone against everyone seems a little foreign. "Shan-Chi" on the scale of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is initially perceived as a small project, even inconspicuous, which is why the scope and epicness of the third act surprise, and sometimes completely drive into a stupor. Two clans, dragons, vile flying creatures, kaiju - all will come together in a battle between good and evil.

In this part, Cretton's fantasy picture alternately becomes like Avatar, then Pacific Rim, then The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, then The Elementalist. The scale of what is happening on the screen could well compete with the final Avengers. All this, of course, is great, but for an ordinary studio project, it seems like overkill.

Admittedly, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, being a classic Marvel origin from head to toe, strikes a pleasant blend of tradition and modernity. Cretton definitely managed to replenish the collection of films with bright, visually rich Chinese fantasy, which, albeit with a slight inflection, will amuse the family and teach a couple of instructive lessons understandable to everyone.

In general, Shang-Chi has the most hermetic plot in relation to the entire cinematic universe. If it wasn't for Ben Kingsley's pseudo-Mandarin, a couple of scenes with Wong and the Abomination, and two post-credits scenes, it's not immediately clear that this is an MCU movie.

This closeness has its own plus - Shang-Chi, as a new hero, is not lost against the backdrop of global events, which allows you to feel like a character. Marvel, despite the coming crisis of the multiverse, has time to build up a new phase - so why not make the introduction of a new hero the same as it was in the very first films.

If we talk about the visual, then the main advantage of Shang-Chi is hand-to-hand fights. I would like to compare them with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, where any fight turns into a choreographically verified dance.

This feeling is supported by a smooth camera that seems to slide from hero to hero, rather than jumping and shaking, as was the case in the recent Black Widow. And that's why it's surprising to find out later that for director Destin Daniel Cretton and actor Simu Liu, this is the first action movie.

Here, in general, the whole Chinese atmosphere is conveyed with love. Someone will like the mysterious world with dragons and other amazing creatures, where the heroes get towards the end (although it is at this moment that graphics that are not the most successful for Marvel appear ). But the creators did not resort to meticulousness, so as not to scare away a wide audience.

Shang-Chi is a project that should be interesting both in the east and in the west, so the picture does not turn into crazy wuxia (a genre of Chinese fantasy). In this regard, there is even some continuity with the Chinese films of the early 2000s, which performed well at the global box office for several years in a row. This is supported by guest appearances Tony Leung (Hero) and Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger).

If we talk about the visual, then the main advantage of Shang-Chi is hand-to-hand fights. I would like to compare them with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, where any fight turns into a choreographically verified dance.

Shang-Chi is one of the most interesting origins in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which, thanks to the written characters and dynamic action, is in no way inferior (and somewhere even superior) to the solo films of the elder Avengers.

You should not expect something supernatural from the movie - you can find several problems typical for the entire cinema universe in it, whether it is plot nonsense or an inexpressive soundtrack, and the graphics in the final act are not aerobatics. But these are trifles. Shang-Chi is built in such a way that everyone should like it - most viewers will be impressed by the bright fights and Chinese flavor, and fans of the MCU will find several bridges to the global events of the entire Fourth Phase. Welcome to the family.


About the author

Sarfraz Hussain

I am a professional journalist and I work as a writer and reporter in a national newspaper. The purpose of my life is to help people. Useful Tips on Health Care to Improve the Lives of an Ordinary Man.

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