The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is growing and changing in the best kind of way. While we adore the characters we’ve spent the last 13 years with, it was time for a change; and who better to bring about this new MCU than Shang-Chi?

Picture Credit: Marvel Studios
Picture Credit: Marvel Studios

The synopsis

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) had a hard childhood. After his mother passed away, his father (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) took to training him harder and harder each day, building him up for an important mission.

However, when Shang-Chi escaped, he saw this as a chance to live how he wanted and not be in his father’s shadow.

Ten years after escaping his father’s harsh reality, Shang-Chi is living in California and works with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina); he seems to be enjoying life, until his past comes to haunt him.

Once his pendant (given to him by his late mother) is stolen from him, Shang-Chi must get it back. In attempting to do so, he learns that what he thought he’d left behind has caught up to him, and he must confront it in order to save the world from what his father has planned...

Simu Liu as Shang-Chi / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios
Simu Liu as Shang-Chi / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios

So, what did I think?

When I first saw the trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, I was both enthralled and excited, as it showed a totally new direction for the MCU, and an introduction to a brand-new character. I hoped it would match up to the MCU’s previous films; it did all that and more.

With the MCU’s main storyline (that has spanned 13 years) finally at an end, new and perhaps lesser-known characters can now break through, and I couldn’t wait to see Shang-Chi on the big screen, a character previously unknown to me.

As soon as this film started, I knew I was in for something special. What followed my initial excitement was a breath-taking film that kept in line with Marvel’s style, but also branched a whole new frontier for the franchise.

Shang-Chi has many stunning qualities, one of which being the narrative. With the Ten Rings being known in the MCU as the organisation that attacked Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) on multiple occasions, it was time we learned where they came from.

Awkwafina and Simu Liu / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios
Awkwafina and Simu Liu / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios

The story was perfectly written and executed with such grace and care, that I was in awe for the entirety of the movie. Shang-Chi had to confront a somewhat torturous past, while still trying to keep his eyes forward and save the world.

What made me love this movie even more, was that it didn’t live in any other film’s shadow. It was completely its own thing; of course, it being a Marvel film and including the Ten Rings increased excitement, but it made such a strong case that it was a unique story that didn’t need ties to anything else.

New plot points opened up often enough to keep intrigue alive, but were not too close together as though you cannot savour the one that came before it. The movie was perfectly paced and allowed Shang-Chi to shine, while highlighting other new and exceptional characters.

Speaking of characters, Liu did a stunning job portraying Shang-Chi. His bravery, love and humour all stood out and combined to create a slightly witty, courageous and admirable character.

Picture Credit: Marvel Studios
Picture Credit: Marvel Studios

With the new direction the MCU is going, it’s important that Marvel showcases the best parts of Phase Four, and show long time fans that the same energy and care is put into its films, and the characters within them.

Shang-Chi was the perfect character to prove that while change is occurring, it is for the better, as I adored Shang-Chi and his love for his friends, family, and honour. He also has such a wonderful demeanour, as he and Katy’s jokes lit up the room, and his positive attitude was a breath of fresh air.

In regard to action, something Marvel excels at, I was not disappointed; in fact, I was somewhat mesmerised. Shang-Chi involved a lot of martial arts and clever fight scenes; each and every punch flowed into the next, each dodge was so perfectly executed, and every single move made has its own unique purpose, and I was in a state of admiration every time Shang-Chi went head-to-head with an enemy.

As expected, the visuals for this movie were sensational; perhaps even more so than some Marvel movies to come before it. While we’ve seen Asgard, Knowhere, and Ego’s Planet, seeing the world of Shang-Chi was an undisputed outstanding cinematic experience.

Picture Credit: Marvel Studios
Picture Credit: Marvel Studios

Even the city scenes were stunning, but once the final battle began, my mouth was agape with genuine awe, as the colour theme, set design and costumes mixed together to create a whole new world, showcasing that the next stage in the MCU will be something utterly incredible.

Shang-Chi introduced an admirable new character, one with gall and wit, a new world of culture and characters, showcased Marvel’s perfect balance between a sense of humour and seriousness, and created a new level of excitement in me about what’s to come; as well as a surprise visit from someone I never thought I’d see again...

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was a stunning cinematic masterpiece that is up there with the best of them; it is a genuine work of art to be appreciated, admired, and adored.

Watch the trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings below!

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

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