Movie review: Shang-Chi is an enjoyable addition to the Marvel Universe
The latest addition to the MCU is full of heart and soul, featuring one of the best villain performances.
The latest addition to the ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a refreshing inclusion that features scintillating fight scenes, a startling villain motivated by family grief and an all round enjoyable time.
The titular character Shang-Chi is portrayed by Canadian Simu Liu – most famous from the acclaimed sitcom series, Kim’s Convenience. In quite arguably the biggest role of his career thus far, Simu’s background in gymnastics, taekwondo and Wing Chun ensured a natural execution of his fight scenes as the Master of Kung Fu.
His sidekick Katy, played by comedian Awkwafina, has a crucial role as Shang’s confidant, with the relationship between the two feeling authentic.
The star of the show was undoubtedly Shang’s father – Wenwu, played by the legend Tony Leung himself. The man can dictate scenes with merely his facial features, bringing personality and soul into this damaged character that seeks justice and closure. An effective villain is one in which you can sympathise with and understand the rationale behind his actions, and Tony Leung does a magnificent job in portraying him.
The movie, like most MCU films, does a good job in balancing comedy and action. Much of the comedic relief comes from Trevor Slattery, played by the excellent Ben Kingsley, who reprises the role since his appearance in 2013’s Iron Man 3.
Like most MCU movies, the storyline may be formulaic, but what it lacks in surprises it makes up for with the captivating choreographed action sequences. The movements are smooth, oftentimes resembling more of a dance performance.
This universe that is introduced in the movie – most notably the land of Ta Lo, is simply sublime with backdrops of dazzling picture-esque mountains while the many majestic Chinese mythical creatures roam free. Think Kung Fu Panda meets Jurassic Park.
The movie also conveys the age-old theme of filial piety throughout the movie with Shang-Chi having to grapple between doing the right thing under his father’s tutelage or continuing his new life in the United States. The film also explores themes of grief and guilt and how turmoil can erupt from the failure to process these emotions well.
Overall, the movie is a gratifying addition to the MCU. By showcasing Chinese culture through majestic, martial arts-inspired fight scenes to tackling themes people can relate to, this movie is two hours of family friendly, action-filled fun.
You can catch Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings in cinemas now.