Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ★★★★

Shang-Chi feels like a full-fledged magical martial arts adventure that just happens to be set in the MCU, and I’m enthusiastically here for it. 

Shang-Chi is probably the Marvel character I know least that has received his own movie, but the Ten Rings immediately makes him relevant, interesting, and worth rooting for. This is just a fun movie from beginning to end, with touches of beauty and some great action set pieces sprinkled throughout. It leaves you wanting more: more time with the characters, more time spent in Ta Lo, more of the early relationship between Wingwu and Ying Li, and more of the great martial arts. Even the titular 10 Rings themselves are cool and powerful, and are used to great visual effect many times throughout the movie. 

Minor nitpicks include a returning character with an expanded role that really felt a bit unnecessary (as does the Star Wars-level cute mascot) and a battle climax that flails a bit to give all the major characters something important to do, even if they’re not exactly combat ready. The big bad looks great but doesn’t have any story impact beyond being a threat to our protagonists. I guess the real enemy here is loss, grief, and alienation. 

Now, gimme a Xialing/Ten Rings Disney+ series or I’m gonna riot.

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