Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ★★★½

"I thought I could change my name, start a new life. But I could never escape his shadow." - Shang-Chi

See where it ranks among my top films of 2021!
MCU Ranked

Marvel's first attempt at an origin story since Captain Marvel and they completely exceed their previous attempt. Acting as a loving tribute to wuxia films of old and mixing it with fight choreography of the new, it's a golden infusion of the two, making every fight scene a highlight of its own. This had, objectively, the best fight scenes in the MCU since Winter Soldier as the camera worked with the choreo to create truly dynamic and lively segments. At one point, it feels like the two elements are dance partners sincerely creating a tango. The score was also one that reminded me of those kind of films which, along with the soundtrack, were one of the MCU's best.

The film truly shined when it was almost Shakespearean in its family dynamics between Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung Chiu-wai). It created some genuinely emotional moments and their dialogue between each other was some of the finest I've heard from any MCU movie.

Simu Liu (Shang-Chi) and Awkwafina's (Katy) chemistry was on point as their friendship seemed real and I loved their back and forths with one another, but in all honesty, it's Tony Leung Chiu-wai (Xu Wenwu) who stole every scene he was in, delivering the best performance in an MCU movie since Josh Brolin as Thanos in Infinity War. His character was complex and his performance was layered, which everything he did all the more compelling.

However, the movie suffered from some jokes ruining some great moments or some jokes not really landing and being unable to branch out from the usual Marvel CGI-heavy third act with disposable baddies trying to overwhelm our heroes. If it wasn't for those parts, we'd would've gotten the best MCU movie in years.

Here's to hoping that The Eternals changes things up.


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