Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 'raises the bar for Marvel’s exciting next phase'

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings. - Credit: Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings, Marvel’s latest action-packed superhero and martial arts movie, can be seen at Saffron Screen this weekend and at Royston Picture Palace the following week. Paul Steward reviews the movie. 

After an enforced break, Marvel's fourth phase is now gathering pace, and with this new era comes the introduction of all new heroes.

Florence Pugh was successfully introduced in Black Widow, and now it’s the turn of Simu Liu as kung-fu master Shang-Chi.

Having escaped the clutches of his father as a boy, Shang-Chi – now going by the western name Shaun – is working as a valet in San Francisco when he is attacked on a bus.

Katy (Awkwafina) and Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.

Katy (Awkwafina) and Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings. - Credit: Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021.

Skilfully evading the attempted hit, Shang-Chi inadvertently reveals his secret martial arts background, setting him on a collision course with his estranged father and drawing him back into the shadowy world from whence he came.

At the helm for Marvel's first Asian-led film is Just Mercy and Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton, who co-wrote the script alongside Dave Callaham and Andrew Lanham.

Whilst delivering on the spectacular breakneck action you’d expect from a Marvel film, Shang-Chi also fully respects and pays homage to the Chinese heritage of its characters.

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings. - Credit: Courtesy of Marvel Studios

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The film opens with a fully subtitled prologue set in China, which is a bold move for such a big blockbuster.

Simu Liu is completely charming in the title role and is ably supported by the excellent Awkwafina as his longtime friend and karaoke partner Katy.

The film also benefits from the inclusion of veteran Chinese actor Tony Leung, who brings gravitas to the role of Shang-Chi’s nefarious father Wenwu, leader of the mystical Ten Rings organisation.

Meng’er Zhang and Michelle Yeoh complete the family, as sister Xialing and Aunt Ying Nan, whilst Florian Munteanu is entertaining as surly Ten Rings henchman Razorfist.

Katy (Awkwafina) and Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.

Katy (Awkwafina) and Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings. - Credit: Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2021.

As great as the performances are, it’s the kung-fu action where the film really shines.

The opening fight scene on the bus is a real highlight and sets the tone for what is to come.

Each battle is distinctly different, but all have the same breakneck momentum and balletic quality.

After the grounded beginning, the final third of the film takes a quick and unexpected turn into more mystical territory.

Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) in Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.

Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) in Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings. - Credit: Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2021.

The transition is jarring at first, but despite its CGI heavy nature, the finale is a spectacular viewing experience.

With dynamic lead performances and sensational kung-fu action, Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings is as good an origin story as your likely to get and raises the bar for Marvel’s exciting next phase.


Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings can be seen at Saffron Screen, in Saffron Walden, on Saturday, October 9 and Sunday, October 10 at 2.30pm.

It is also showing at Royston Picture Palace on Saturday, October 16 at 2.30pm.

Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.

Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings. - Credit: Marvel Studios


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