After moving to America, Shaun/Shang-Chi thinks he has left his past behind forever, with making new friends and working as a valet driver. But when he is attacked by mysterious thugs on the bus who try to steal his mother’s pendant from his neck, and he has to fend them off using his latent martial arts skills, he realizes he owes his best friend Katy (a delightful Awkwafina) quite the explanation.
The latest Marvel blockbuster is a love letter to all the things that made us fall in love with the superhero franchise in the first place: well-choreographed action sequences, delectable humor, and an endearing story about family, love, and loyalties. From San Francisco, we travel to a snazzy underground fight club in Macau (cue a surprise cameo from Wong!) where Shang Chi reunites with his sister Xialing. They are attacked again by the Ten Rings, their father’s criminal organization, and finally, make their way back to China.
Despite the film being Shang Chi’s origin story (played by an impeccable Simu Liu), it is Tony Leung’s Wenwu (their father) who ultimately steals the show.
One of the most powerful men to have ever lived, Wenwu believes that his dead wife’s spirit is locked behind a secret gate in Ta Lo, and he will burn down the whole village to get to it. When the children realize their father cannot be reasoned with, they take matters into their own hands and warn the residents of Ta Lo. Despite being a villain, Wenwu’s motivations for violence are perfectly relatable, and Leung clearly channels his In The Mood For Love energy to portray the tragic character with depth and compassion.
The fantastical village of Ta Lo is rendered in gorgeous CGI, and with a groovy soundtrack and a surprise Ben Kingsley offering background comic relief, the film ticks off all the boxes. While faithfully representing elements of Asian culture, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is an emotional rollercoaster that is sure to entertain and satisfy most sensibilities.
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