Starring: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Running Time: 132 mins
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is an American film and the twenty-fifth instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After fleeing his father, head of the powerful Ten Rings organisation, Shang-Chi is drawn back into the circle of evil, where he must fight to save both his family, and the world.
After thirteen years and twenty five films, you’d think Marvel would have run out of ideas by now when it comes to superhero origin stories.
However, while Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings isn’t the studio’s very best, it’s remarkable just how enjoyable, fresh and exciting it is, complete with brilliant action, great humour and effortlessly charismatic new heroes that prove a welcome addition to this seemingly unstoppable universe.
Let’s start with perhaps the brightest spot of all: the new characters and stars that we’re welcoming to the MCU. In the lead role as Shang-Chi, Simu Liu is both effortlessly lovable and still brilliantly cool as an action movie star, pulling out all the stops in a series of epic hand-to-hand combat scenes.
Awkwafina, meanwhile, brings her typically sharp brand of humour to the table to act as a really effective comic relief beside the film’s more serious characters, such as Tony Leung, who’s thoroughly impressive as Shang-Chi’s father and the film’s main villain.
There are so many personalities in this movie, along with the odd appearance from another MCU star, that Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is a film that’s difficult to resist, such is its charisma and on-screen energy from start to finish.
Following on from that, the film really knocks it out of the park when it comes to action. We’ve seen countless Marvel movies with more or less the same brand of action throughout, but Shang-Chi offers something a little bit different.
Impressively integrating Hollywood-style action and wuxia-inspired martial arts combat, the film is one of the most enticing marriages of the different action styles I’ve ever seen, proving far more enjoyable than the likes of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and far more distinctive than the more generic entries in the MCU.
Couple that with Marvel’s seemingly boundless capacity for imagination that turns what should be just another origin story into something that feels both fresh and genuinely exciting from start to finish, and you have one of the most entertaining entries for a new hero into the MCU in a very long time.
Overall, then, with immensely charismatic performances, lovable characters, thrilling action, a distinctive style, good humour, fast pacing and a great imagination, Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is one of the most purely entertaining Marvel films in quite a long time, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.9.