Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
September 3, 2021 11:03 PM - Subscribe

Shang-Chi, the master of unarmed weaponry based Kung Fu, is forced to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization.

This summary...isn't the most accurate!

As often in these kinds of movies, the hero is a bland cipher surrounded by a much more colorful cast. Tony Leung unsurprisingly makes a fine Hollywood debut.

Note that this is the second big Marvel movie of the summer about breaking out of an abusive patriarchal system and the costs to those left behind.
posted by praemunire (44 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Did anyone else notice that this is the plot of Star Wars?
posted by chrchr at 11:35 PM on September 3 [4 favorites]


So many Tony Leung close-ups! And that dinner scene was far too real, reminded me of all the times my own Chinese dad would pontificate at length about our heritage. The whole thing felt like a breath of fresh air after recent MCU stories that have featured the same characters again and again.
posted by adrianhon at 12:00 AM on September 4 [4 favorites]


I can't wait to watch this (legally) somehow! 😭
posted by cendawanita at 4:25 AM on September 4 [8 favorites]


Really want to see this. Also really not willing to go to a movie theatre amongst all the COVID. I hope it appears on streaming sooner than later.
posted by jzb at 9:02 AM on September 4 [5 favorites]


It's supposed to hit disney plus after around a month and a half, so I imagine a lot of new comments in mid october.


A lot of people are asking why Awkwafina was invited to join the Avengers too when her list of superpowers is "above average driver" and "hit a barn sized target with an arrow after two days of training."

She's got one other power.

EDIT: video NSFW
posted by fomhar at 9:13 AM on September 4


There were a couple of moments that genuinely shocked me. In the trailer, you see Wenwu walking with seven-year-old Shang-Chi in a shady-looking environment, and then a fight breaking out, giving the impression that "take your kid to organized crime work day" had gone badly. In fact, Wenwu has taken the boy along to watch him slaughter some of the surviving killers of his mother. There's a shot where a body goes slamming into the wall next to the kid and he shrinks into a corner. Then there's the point in their last fight where Wenwu blames Chang-Shi for not, as a seven-year-old, having saved his mother from the assassins. Raw.
posted by praemunire at 11:01 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


We managed our risks carefully: wife & I both vaccinated, Seattle is relatively well-vaxxed, we went to the earliest Friday matinee, and looked at sales before going in so we knew we'd be in a fairly empty theater. We wore our masks the entire time. I loved this movie, but I say "go see it" only with full acknowledgment of risk management.

I'm exceptionally happy with the cast, but the whole thing was great. It was fun, it was smart, it had some tropes I really dislike, but they didn't spoil the movie on the whole for me.

Most importantly: I really want to see more of Simu Liu as Shang-Chi in the MCU. Dude can absolutely carry the weight a film as well as the other MCU leads who came before him. I hope they build future stuff around Simu Liu 'cause he's freakin' great in and out of character.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:18 PM on September 4 [4 favorites]


We just saw it, in a theater with two other folks because I went downtown on a game day. *taps forehead*
I really loved it and didn’t expect to get emotional? I guess when you throw a big water dragon in I don’t even get salty at CGI third acts.

So many good actors and Simu Liu did a good job. He’s the center of the movie but it’s not just his story and it feels like a lot of characters got to have things to do. And the fight sequences were so much fun.

The second Easter egg bummed me out though. I get why it works for her, but I don’t want to see the next movie be Shang Chi Fights The Rest Of His Family. Maybe that won’t happen.
posted by PussKillian at 3:50 PM on September 4


I enjoyed this, unsurprisingly, though the high point for me was the Jackie-Chan-like fight on the bus. I thought the film was going to be a smaller scale one like Ant-Man (who also lives in San Francisco by the way, here's hoping for a Shang Chi and Katy cameo in Quantumania). So when the movie escalated to a dragon fighting a soul sucking eldritch horror, I didn't hate it, but was a little disappointed they felt they had to go world-ending-threat big.

I loved the whole cast, all great at embodying fun and interesting characters, though I loved Awkwafina the most, because I love her in everything. (Anyone who hasn't seen The Farewell should arrange to do so immediately.) It was interesting that they only made the weakest stab at trying to establish a romance between Shang Chi and Katy, with the grandma's comment. I fully expected Shang Chi to say to Katy, "Waipo asked me again when we're going to get married. Are you ever going to tell her you're queer?"

Also, I wonder if Disney is going to have Awkwafina's back when conservatives start sharing her less family friendly work in performative outrage, considering how poorly Disney handled it when conservatives became performatively outraged about James Gunn's gross and puerile tweets.

Stray observations:

• I dug all the cameos. Loved Carol's characterization of blowing people off—"Bruce can give you my number"—since that fits with how she's been so absent in the MCU. And what has the Abomination been doing all this time?

• The beacon in the Ten Rings may or may not support my theory that Phase 4 is going to be about how, now that the Infinity Stones are destroyed, our universe has lost protection against the dark forces that seek to conquer it (like the Dweller in the Dark, or Dormammu).

• Maybe I missed it, but why was Morris in Wenwu's dungeon? It seemed a little convenient/coincidental/weird that Wenwu's overriding goal, for which he has deployed his army and all his resources, is to get into Ta Lo, yet all along he has had a creature from Ta Lo in his possession that could have told him how to get there.

• Seems like the most major change between Phase 3 and Phase 4 is Marvel shifting from Audi product placement to BMW product placement.

• This was my first time watching the Eternals trailer, and damn, it looked boring. It made the movie seem like it's going to be all the Eternals just standing on a rocky beach, energy-blasting Deviant wolf-monsters repeatedly. I'll definitely see it anyway.
posted by ejs at 5:19 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


now that the Infinity Stones are destroyed, our universe has lost protection against the dark forces that seek to conquer it (like the Dweller in the Dark, or Dormammu)

Was that Galactus in the Eternals trailer? 'Cause...
posted by praemunire at 7:21 PM on September 4


Was that Galactus in the Eternals trailer?

Nope, a Celestial.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:21 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Morris was in the prison because Wenwu was going to kill him but apparently liked Morris's performance of Shakespeare so Morris was kept alive. They don't explain exactly how Wenwu brought back the little critter but apparently only Morris can communicate with it (in this world, anyway). Either Wenwu never mentioned it while Morris (and critter) were or around or the critter didn't want to share that information with Wenwu (who was a village outsider, unlike Shang Chi and his sister through their mother).

I think Wenwu brought Shang Chi to point out which one of of the gangsters was involved to him (can't be killing the wrong gangsters, you know) and then also reinforce the blood for blood thing.

Man, Tony Leung looked so good. I would have bought a movie where he was Shang Chi. Also, Yuen Wah was there, got his name in the credits alongside the other main characters, but barely even fought. I believe we now need a Disney Plus series about the all the other times Wenwu tried to get into the village and Yuen Wah and co pushed him back.
posted by LostInUbe at 9:58 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


(Morris is the critter, Ben Kingsley’s character is Trevor)
posted by ejs at 10:39 PM on September 4 [4 favorites]


Simu Liu certainly had a pleasant, low-key amiability (and great physicality, befitting a former stuntman), but the movie didn't give him that many opportunities to deepen the character, and he doesn't (yet?) have Tony Leung's intense expressiveness. His fights also didn't get to serve as characterization the way that the original (beautiful) faceoff between Mom and Dad did.
posted by praemunire at 11:30 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Finally, a movie that recognizes the importance of karaoke!

Loved this, the most fun I've had at a film since Black Panther.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:25 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Man, Tony Leung looked so good. I would have bought a movie where he was Shang Chi.

That one was part of the MCU 1990 timeline.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:47 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Co-starring Margaret Cho as Katy.
posted by ejs at 10:03 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


While I'm still waiting to watch this legally (cinemas are closed etc), other parts of Southeast/East Asia are beginning to come out with the Chinese-language promos and this thread is hilarious because it turns out Shang Chi may be a transliteration using a system not many modern mandarin speakers would use, so finally seeing the hanzi has been uh... a revelation.

The other funny thing is the absolute emphasis on Tony Leung, and just Tony Leung.
posted by cendawanita at 7:38 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Also, I wonder if Disney is going to have Awkwafina's back when conservatives start sharing her less family friendly work in performative outrage

She was in Raya and the Last Dragon so I hope that performative outrage shop has sailed already.
posted by potrzebie at 8:14 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Wasn't InuYasha's plot partially that the girl who fell back in time had to learn to be a great archer also? Been a while since I watched it. But Katy's role made me think of that.

Yes there is definitely a Star Wars plot happening.

I wasn't assuming his sister was Going Bad, I thought she was training lady ninjas to right wrongs but who knows.

They brought Katy along because there aren't a lot of Avengers left and you never know, she might get bitten/zapped by something that makes her a super, that happens a lot especially if you hang out near Avengers. And she's a good lovable sidekick.
posted by emjaybee at 9:05 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


They were investigating the mystery of the Ten Rings. Wong brought Katy and Shang-Chi to ask them questions because they were both there when the Rings did the thing that got his attention.
posted by straight at 9:31 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


I assume Katy has to be an Avenger because Disney is eager to introduce the automotive ballet that is so popular in the rival Fast & Furious franchise. She is — blatant Yuki Tsunoda erasure aside — “the Asian Jeff Gordon.”
posted by chrchr at 9:39 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


And what has the Abomination been doing all this time?

I'm not sure which gets more side-eye, that Wong is moonlighting staging fraudulent (people were betting on that thing) MMMMA (Mixed Martial, Magical, and Mutated Arts) matches or that he's hanging out with Emil Blonsky. I guess they can always go with "A lot of crazy stuff happened during those five years..."

The second Easter egg bummed me out though. I get why it works for her, but I don’t want to see the next movie be Shang Chi Fights The Rest Of His Family.

Me too, but we don't know what she's turning the Ten Rings into. They could be some sort of benevolent-as-she-defines-it organization and still be enough at cross purposes with Shang Chi for them to have one cool fight scene without making her the villain.
posted by straight at 9:54 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


I enjoyed this a lot. Simu Liu was great for the first 20 min, but Shang Chi kinda got overshadowed by the other characters as the movie went on. But the whole cast was so good that I was fine with that. Trevor and Morris made no sense, but I enjoyed Kingsley to much too care.

And that bus fight. Favorite moment? Maybe when he puts his jacket back on in the middle of the fight? I liked that it was about saving the lives of a bunch of passengers and not just fighting bad guys.

I was kinda rolling my eyes at Katy learning archery in a montage as such a blatant Let's Give Aquafina Something To Do In The Finale. But when the time came to sell her role in the battle, I definitely bought it. It seemed more about having the courage to stand there and shoot at a huge but terrifying target than implausible archery skills.
posted by straight at 10:44 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


I guess Banner is no longer merged with the Hulk? Has the reconciliation he'd developed in Endgame fallen apart?
posted by straight at 10:56 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


In the comics, She-Hulk's origin story involves a blood transfusion from her cousin, Regular Hulk. In the MCU, who the hell knows, we'll find out when her Disney Plus show debuts next year, only thirty two calendar years after she was first expected to get a TV show, but there's a lot of versions of her origin that could involve not having to pay for special effects on Mark Ruffalo.
posted by fomhar at 12:29 AM on September 6


Me too, but we don't know what she's turning the Ten Rings into. They could be some sort of benevolent-as-she-defines-it organization and still be enough at cross purposes with Shang Chi for them to have one cool fight scene without making her the villain.

You can't overestimate the amount of conflict generated between groups who share the exact same goals but have slightly different methods of achieving them. Superhero movies need more leftist infighting.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:50 AM on September 6 [10 favorites]


Wong moonlighting as Blonsky's wrangler is a good idea because the alternative is to try to put Blonsky in some sort of prison requiring ludicrously expensive and inevitably unethical measures. Additionally, "Abomination in Prison" inevitably turns into "overconfident white dude in a suit or uniform tries to weaponize superperson."

Inevitably.

Though I'd say Abomination is worse by miles, this is exactly the same reason why it's better that Wanda flies off on her own after Wandavision than, like, going to prison.

It's not ideal. It's just better than the alternatives.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:28 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


> The other funny thing is the absolute emphasis on Tony Leung, and just Tony Leung.

Heh, I'm noticing this with the Korean internet chatter on the movie. I've even seen comments that it should just have been "Wenwu and the Legend of the Ten Rings".
posted by needled at 12:31 PM on September 6


"Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh meet again after nearly thirty years (1993's Butterfly and Sword) as they battle to release the soul of his wife - her sister - in the magical land of Ta Lo. Awkwafina also stars. Introducing Sima Liu."
posted by LostInUbe at 3:40 PM on September 6 [7 favorites]


I honestly don’t remember: did Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh ever appear in-frame together? I know there was some cross-cut dialogue between them, but was there anything with them face-to-face?
posted by 1970s Antihero at 3:53 PM on September 6


> I assume Katy has to be an Avenger because Disney is eager to introduce the automotive ballet that is so popular in the rival Fast & Furious franchise. She is — blatant Yuki Tsunoda erasure aside — “the Asian Jeff Gordon.”
They don't seem to be bringing Gabriel Luna as the Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. into the MCU proper (the Hulu spinoff show was nixed), so maybe she can become the next Ghost Rider?
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 5:27 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


did Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh ever appear in-frame together? I know there was some cross-cut dialogue between them, but was there anything with them face-to-face?

No. They were in a couple of (essentially) two-shots, but each time one of them was shot from behind, so it needn't necessarily have been the other actor.
posted by praemunire at 8:57 PM on September 6


Trevor was surprised that the protagonists could also see Morris, so presumably, that's why Wenwu did not try to use the critter.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:36 AM on September 7


I went into this was low expectations, because the trailer didn't grab me at all or look exciting, let alone interesting.

But the end result was delightful surprise! There were more women in powerful roles than indicated, dad was an ass, but also a bit sympathetic in the end, and the images of Chinese myths were breathtaking.

Interesting note though: Shang-chi is still a bit of cipher, character wise. He didn't grow during the film, he was more or less the same as when the movie started. But he did kill the man responsible for his mom's murder and that's never really dealt with.

Hmmm, where did those rings come from?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:36 PM on September 8


Twitter points out that Katy and Shang-Chi doing karaoke to "Old Town Road" confirms that Lil' Nas was not killed by Thanos in the Snap.
posted by straight at 8:20 PM on September 8 [7 favorites]


I finally got to see this yesterday and it was delightful. I really needed something that felt a little lighter after all this relentless grimdark crap from Marvel the past however many years. It was much funnier than I'd anticipated.

And my gosh, what a lot of incredibly good-looking people. I may have gasped out loud at the beginning with Tony Leung in long hair and sitting on a horse, and I have a huge crush on Meng'er Zhang now to complement my previous crush on Simu Liu.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 4:27 PM on September 10


A lot of people are asking why Awkwafina was invited to join the Avengers too when her list of superpowers is "above average driver" and "hit a barn sized target with an arrow after two days of training."

She's got one other power yt .

EDIT: video NSFW


Hard to believe she figured “Hotel California” was the thing to sing to distract people.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:29 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Turns out there's a drive-in movie theater that seems to have sprung up in the last year or so near my house. So we got to see it in a "theater" without much concern about COVID, from the comfort of our parking spot.

I'm really, really pleased that we didn't wait for streaming.

Who else wants Katy to get her own Disney+ series? Who else really really needs Katy and Luis to have an adventure together or at the very least an evening at the Karaoke bar?

Just the right mix of comedy, action and drama for a date night movie. Also just beautiful in some parts, and the fight choreography with Ying Li and Wenwu was gorgeous.

Some of the final fight scenes were a little hard to make out, visually - I think because the drive-in was in an area with a fair amount of light pollution. In a regular theater I think it'd have been OK and I'm looking forward to re-watching this when it debuts on Disney+ soon.
posted by jzb at 8:42 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


my kiddo and i have been wanting a sidekick series for a long time : Ned, Wong, Darcy, Luis, Kurt, now Katy
posted by kokaku at 2:19 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Please not to forget Jimmy Woo.

I think taking any three or four of this group to drive around in a van and solve mysteries would be a great show.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:03 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


of course... Jimmy Woo! especially after he worked so hard to master the card trick
posted by kokaku at 12:30 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


I was kind of hoping that Katy and her archery in this movie was the setup to her being "Kate Bishop" in the future. (was Katy's last name ever revealed?) Apparently that ship has already sailed.
posted by dforemsky at 6:14 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


We saw it in the drive-in last night. I looked a lot about it but felt really checked out during the cgi dragon battle. It may also have been because due to where we watched it the screen felt pretty dark during those points. In general I feel pretty good about a lot of the fight scenes and loved a lot about the movie.
posted by Carillon at 11:28 AM on September 19


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