Rachel Bacchus Reviews Marvel’s Shang-Chi

By Rachel Bacchus

  When I first decided to review Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, I had made that decision off the grounds that the movie didn’t seem as if it was receiving much attention. I rarely saw any advertisements for the movie as it approached its release, nor did there seem to be many people discuss their expectations for the movie online. So, it’s understandable that one might be surprised to find out that the movie had an exceptional turnout during the first few days of its release. “Shang-Chi has dominated at the box office, easily breaking the record for Labor Day weekend totals, all propelled by great reviews and word of mouth along with excitement to see Marvel’s first all-Asian cast,” said Alisha Grauso, a writer for Screen Rant.com. “In the pantheon of MCU origin story movies, Shang-Chi ranks near the top, if not at the top”. This only gave me more reason to review the movie, as it continued to be praised and started to be discussed online, and I can say with absolute certainty that it did live up to the hype.

  The story progression is by far the most satisfying aspect of the movie. It was much more comedic than one might expect, though it still carries itself with dignity, and takes itself seriously when it needs to. One could easily find themselves on the edge of their seat, wondering who the true antagonist is and what their motivation could be. In fact, the entire movie seemed to be made up of surprise after surprise, and none of them felt forced or unnecessary. Each new piece of exposition kept the story interesting and moved the plot forward. The movie constantly keeps the audience guessing at what the full story of Shang Chi’s past is, and the resolution of that plot line was extremely satisfying.

  With that said, the plot cannot be praised without mentioning character growth throughout the movie. Not a single character is static, and each has realistic struggles and character development. The movie has a theme of acknowledging one’s past, one’s internal struggles, one’s pain, and moving forward despite each of those conflicts. While each main character has growth that can be traced back to this theme, said growth is most prominent in Shang-Chi and the antagonist. While the dichotomy of the two is extremely interesting, the similarities between them both are just as riveting, as their motivations and struggles stem from the same event.


Time until the next MCU film, The Eternals

  The movie also excels in fight choreography, creating intense and attention-grabbing battle scenes. One can truly feel the impact of each strike throughout the movie. While it doesn’t have all the alien hoopla that most of the marvel movies of phase three had, it still has an interesting array of super powers within the movie. Though, each character primarily uses martial arts to fight, with the main characters using historical accurate Chinese martial arts and weapons, during the movie. On that note, the movie spectacularly portrays the culture, mythology, and the modern-day people of China.

  Another aspect of this movie that must be praised its incredible soundtracks. Similar to Black Panther, the movie has a special track of music along with the usual type of musical compositions that appear as ambience. The special soundtrack features  primarily Asian musicians, such as NIKI, DJ Snake, 88rising, Seori, Simu Liu, keshi, Rich Brian, DPR LIVE, DPR Ian, and Warren Hue. Tracks like “Run it” perfect capture the tone and energy of the scene it backs.

  The one aspect of the movie that Could be criticized is the accuracy of the comic book antagonist’s adaptation in the movie. “Shang-Chi has completely transformed the {antagonist}, so much so the MCU version is basically unidentifiable”, said Alisha Grauso. Despite this, any casual MCU fan going into the movie without much knowledge of the comics won’t even notice, and should still have a fantastic time watching this movie.


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