'Shang- Chi' review: Marvel's other superheroes pale in comparison to our Asian hero

WION Web Team
New DelhiWritten By: Shomini SenUpdated: Sep 03, 2021, 02:20 PM IST


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'Shang-Chi' is Marvel's best solo film since 'Black Panther' and it opens up enormous possibilities for Asian representation in a very crowded superhero realm in Hollywood. 

It plays to the gallery, it adheres to all the stereotypes and it shows how the west perceives Asians and their mystic laws but Marvel Cinematic Universe' new film 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings' is stunning and all things awesome. 

Canadian-Chinese actor Simu Liu takes on the mantle of Marvel's first Asian superhero in Destin Daniel Cretton's film which is the first solo film that introduces a new superhero into the already eclectic universe that Marvel has created in the past decade. 

Complete with humour, jaw-dropping action stunts merged with Asian mysticism,  'Shang-Chi' is the perfect film to watch on the big screen after a long hiatus thanks to the pandemic. 

At the centre of the film is Shaun or Shang Chi, a Chinese-American youth who has a chance encounter with a group of bad guys on a bus who are after his pendant. The group, which includes a man with a razor for his arm, manage to get his pendant after an elaborate action sequence in a moving bus. 

Shaun and his best friend Katy(Awkwafina) then head to Macau as he thinks his sister is in danger. Turns out the goons were sent by his father and now they are after the sister Xu Xialing (Meng'er Zhang) who also wears a similar pendant. 

The two are no match to their father's army of warriors and soon the two are taken to their home in Macau. Their father Wenwu(Tony Leung) has been the keeper of the Ten Rings for thousands of years and wields immense power thanks to it. He now wants to use the rings to burn down a village Ta Lo- which has mystical powers and safeguards the universe from evil forces. Wenwu believes that the village has held his wife Ying Li captive- who is long dead. Wenwu brings back his estranged children to bring his family together. 

Shaun or Shang-Chi though believes that burning down the village which was once his mother's home will not help bring back his dead mother and so along with his sister, friend and Trevor (Ben Kingsley) - Mandarin in Iron Man- and a mystical creature, he sets out to Ta Lo before his father and his army can burn the village down and set the evil forces free to rampage the world. 

Full of Asian stereotypes that involve flying dragons and gigantic sea lions, 'Shang-Chi' is visually stunning. The action sequences are so well choreographed and it makes Marvel's previous film's and its action sequences pale in comparison. It also beautifully merges the mysticism that Asia is known for into Marvel's superhero realm. The result is simply brilliant!

The film has Simu Liu in top form. He is your ordinary guy but extraordinary powers and actor blends into the character well - with not a single false note. Giving him good company are actresses Awkwafina who is effortless in whatever she does and Meng'er Zhang who also performs some mind-numbing stunts. 

The star of the film of course is veteran actor Tony Leung- a father who wants to bring back his family together but also is aware of his extraordinary powers. It's his love for his dead wife that makes him tough and cold towards his children. Years back Leung had charmed the world with his subtle style in Wong Kar Wai's 'In The Mood For Love'. Decades later, Leung has aged like fine wine and it's a delight to watch him play the antagonist with such style. 

Ben Kingsley and Michelle Yeoh too make their presence felt in the limited screen time they have. 

'Shang-Chi' comes at a time when theatres across the world are testing waters and running on 50% occupancy. The timing is perfect as it is the perfect film to remind fans that why the magic of the big screen will always remain despite a slew of OTT platforms. 

'Shang-Chi' is Marvel's best solo film since 'Black Panther' and it opens up enormous possibilities for Asian representation in a very crowded superhero realm in Hollywood. 

Don't miss this one. Out in theatres.