Marvel launches new action hero in movie


Lily Bourgeois

Shang Chi was highly anticipated, as it was the first movie in Marvel’s Phase 4 to be played only in theaters and not on streaming platforms, the first Marvel movie with an Asian lead and a mostly Asian cast, which was considered an “experiment” according to Kevin Feige.

Donna Kim, Dispatch Reporter

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Marvel’s most recent action movie with its first Asian lead, broke box office records by earning over $94 million during Labor Day weekend, and continues to top the box office in North America. 

Shang Chi was highly anticipated, as it was the first movie in Marvel’s Phase 4 to be played only in theaters and not on streaming platforms, the first Marvel movie with an Asian lead and a mostly Asian cast, which was considered an “experiment” according to Kevin Feige.

Although there were many controversies leading up to the release of this movie, Shang Chi might just be one of the best origin stories that Marvel has ever released.

The movie opens with the introduction of the true Mandarin, Xu Wenwu, and how he has conquered nations with the power of the ten rings. The ten rings are a new weapon that is now in the MCU. Consisting of ten large bracelets made of an unknown material, the ten rings are powerful weapons that grant their user immense power.

Everything changes when he meets Ying Li, a guardian of the village of Ta Lo. They fall in love, and Wenwu gives up the ten rings and his organization called the Ten Rings Organization to start a family with the women he loves. They have two kids, Shang Chi and Xialing, and the family lives happily until Ying Li dies due to Wenwu’s past. This prompts Wenwu to go back to his old ways, and trains Shang Chi to become an assassin at the age of seven.

17 years later, Shang Chi is living in San Francisco with his best friend Katy, as they both work as hotel valets. Changing his name to Shaun, Shang Chi enjoys living his quiet life in San Francisco as he hides from his past, but everything changes when he gets a mysterious postcard from his sister. He then embarks on a journey to confront his past and save his mother’s village, Shang Chi must face his past and make difficult choices that can impact everything he knows and loves.

Before watching Shang Chi, my expectations for this movie were very high. With most of the sound track being produced by 88rising and the cast including incredible actors like Simu Liu and Michelle Yeoh, it is fair to say that a lot of Marvel fans were expecting this movie to be one of Marvel’s greatest works. This movie definitely went above and beyond for me.

The one thing I loved about this movie were the fight scenes. In typical Marvel movies, action scenes always contain the same formula/ fighting style, while in Shang Chi, martial arts was the main style that characters used to fight. I loved how martial arts was integrated, and it brought me back to the old-timey martial arts movies that were popular in the early 2000’s. Every fight scene had my eyes hooked on the screen because of how bad-ass it all was.

The soundtrack of Shang Chi stands out itself, and deserves its own recognition outside the movie. 88rising was probably the best choice to have produced most of the songs that carried action and heartfelt scenes. They are a musical platform and record label company that focuses primarily on Asian and Asian  American artists in America, 88rising delivered a wide range of genres.

From upbeat rap to melancholy tones, I could really tell that the songs by 88rising captured the movie’s elements of family, pain, and forgiveness. On top of artists like Rich Brian and NIKI from 88rising being in the soundtrack, other iconic artists who were featured in the soundtrack are Saweetie, Swae Lee, Anderson .Paak, and 21 Savage.

Being the first Marvel movie to contain an Asian lead, it made me happy that this movie would be showing on the big screens and the big screens only. It is important that this new superhero gets introduced to everyone in theaters, like every other superhero in the MCU has.   The way Chinese culture was shown in this movie was amazingly done through the storytelling aspect, incorporating mythical creatures and beautiful set designs. There was a large amount of Mandarin and beautiful Chinese traditional clothing that showed off Chinese culture. I loved how the movie circled around the themes of family and redemption, as it was nostalgic to old Marvel origin movies when the Avengers were still being introduced.

Overall, Shang Chi is a great movie that kicks off Phase 4 of Marvel with a new superhero. I strongly recommend this movie for Marvel fans who miss the old era of Marvel origin movies, and as a movie for family nights. With a wide range of fighting, to heartfelt scenes of friendship and family, Shang Chi truly delivers greatness and laughter.