Nearly 50 years after Shang Chi's character made his comic book debut, he is the first Asian superhero to receive the full Marvel film treatment.
The film focuses on Shang-chi, played by Simu Liu, as he embarks on a journey to protect his mother's homeland against his rogue and misguided father, Xu Xenwu, played by the legendary Tony Leung.
Drawing on a rich history of Asian cinema, the Ten Rings, named after the magical weapons that Wenwu carries that make him immortal and impossible to defeat in combat, is also the name of his organization which has toppled governments and conquered kingdoms throughout history. Shang-Chi trains at a young age to become an assassin while his sister is left to watch from the sidelines and secretly trains herself.
The lush visual and emotional style easily puts it in the top 10 of MCU films for me. In fact, I'd say it's one of the most action-oriented films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it represents another departure from the all-white led history of Marvel's superhero movies until Black Panther in 2018. The movie's dramatic structure is both its strength and limitation. Unfortunately, Awkwafina's character, besides the poor casting choice, is so irrelevant to the film that her role as comic relief just comes across as corny.
Overall, the film is still one of Marvel's strongest.