Shang-Chi:The legend the ten rings (2021) - Maggy's movie reviews

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Shang-Chi:The legend the ten rings (2021) - Maggy's movie reviews

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Caveat: I enjoy the Marvel. The plug & play formula of those movies is almost always enjoyable. Even the duds are kinda okay the first time you watch them. However, it is not unfair to say that the formula makes them repetitive and episodic. This review is very tainted with that sentiment.

So, Shang-Chi is the latest Marvel movie. It is perfectly okay. If you want an apology for "The Mandarin" in Iron Man 3, they kind of half way give you that. They actually go out of their way to include an attempt at that in this film. Thus, the debut of this character on screen is now permanently tied to easily one of the worst films in the franchise, and that was done seemingly for the sole sake of comic relief. So, once we consider that, what have we got?

Well, we have Asian inclusion, sort of. This film is an attempt to take a character that was invented with the hopes of getting the rights to the TV show Kung-Fu (a white washing of Asian culture). When that deal fell through, they took the character and plugged it into the the recently acquired Dr. Fu Man Chu, a white man's attempt to spread the idea of the yellow menace. So, yes, there is some Asian culture shoved into the film to hide some of the cracks in the concept. There is some serious revision but still, there is only so much to work with. I mean, how seriously would you take a movie that had American characters named "Protestant Christian," "Oklahoman," and "Positive Energy"? So, we can take this as a celebration of Asian culture, in a very cynical way, or we can look at it as a clumsy start in getting more Asian faces into western cinema (which was doing okay on its own without this film as of late, but I guess normalization is okay?).


So, can you enjoy this movie? Sure. If you can overlook all of the rest of that, this a perfectly okay movie to sit through. There is a good chance you will remember it the same way you remember Thor 2 or Iron Man 2 or Dr. Strange. You know, the ones in the series where you have to think really hard to even remember what actually happened. Remember how they turned Doctor Strange into kind of Inception for a bit? Shang Chi turns Marvel into kind of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon for a bit.

If this movie was a band, it would be the cover band that always gets work in the local bars in your town. The band that is technically proficient, but that is about it. This movie earns the equivallant of the damning praise you would give such a cover band. "They played every note correctly and not a single one wrong." It is a mediocre Marvel Film. It is a mediocre Kung-Fu film. It is perfectly watchable. But it is definitely not memorable.


All of this being said, I recommend it. Were it not to include the story line that tried to apologize for Iron Man 3, this would be a perfectly fine afternoon at the movies. If you want a martial arts film with a tiny amount of brains and a lot of "Have you been practicing your English (because this audience will only read a few lines at a time)?" it is good way to spend an afternoon. It has great visual, overly choreographed fight scenes, and everything that makes these movies fun to experience at least once. If it did not have the Marvel branding, and you changed the names, it would have been a perfectly enjoyable day. As a Marvel film, it has a lot to overcome to avoid being outright offensive, and carries a lot of baggage.Therefore it spends time trying to play "cover Marvel's ass" instead of developing a new addition.

I sure did put a lot of stuff into this review. There is definitely room for disagreement to be had. Share your thoughts below.
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