Shang-Chi is a new origin chronicle that further expands Marvel Cinematic Universe’s diverse hero landscape. Simu Liu is outstanding as Shang-Chi. He brings artful emotion to ordinary scenes, and beautiful martial arts skills in his defensive encounters. Shang-Chi has a believable and intelligent story arc that reaches back through history, providing a foundation to build on.
The beautifully orchestrated combat scenes look more like a dance performance. There’s a theatrical energy that draws us in. The choreography is visceral, with a delicate balance of CGI magic. I could almost feel the shared energy. Director Destin Daniel Cretton takes great care to give us unique perspectives. Dynamic camera angles share the beauty and power of movement. The combat scenes are fluid and conversational, evoking emotion and strength.
Awkwafina plays Katy, Shang-Chi’s friend, and adding levity with a touch of sarcasm. Another favorite is Shang-Chi’s aunt Ying Nan, (Michelle Yeoh), who is striking on camera. Her tiny stature does not stop her from commanding her scenes with patience and strength. With Shang-Chi’s sister (Meng’er Zhang) in the mix, this series is prime for all-out girl power.
There’s a couple of MCU character visits that thread our heroes together with a greater purpose. Hat tip to Trevor (Ben Kingsley) for sticking around after his Mandarin outtakes.
Shang-Chi has themes of family, community, loyalty, and protection. Reminiscent of the first time I saw Black Panther, I’m ready for more. Side note: I don’t know why they didn’t pick either just “Shang-Chi” or “The Legend of the Ten Rings” as the movie title, but maybe they had a focus group.