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The Financial Express

Shang- Chi: A lush visual marriage of Marvel-ism and Wuxia epics

| Updated: October 05, 2021 13:18:48


Shang- Chi: A lush visual marriage of Marvel-ism and Wuxia epics

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, Shang- Chi fits into marvel packaging with the reinterpretation of the difficulties of living two separate versions of oneself through the perspective of Asian-American identity.

Being Narratively and visually distinct from the franchise, ‘The Legend of the Ten Rings’ thoughtfully fixes earlier shortcomings in Marvel's representation of Chinese families and culture by sprinkling warmth and authenticity.

With an obliging eye toward Kung Fu cinema, it contains a splash of actually-poignant family drama that serves as a foundation for the rest of the film. The rest — a forestry labyrinth that caves in on people, souls being pulled out of bodies, dragons, characters for women that are more than just gender-switching lip-service — is just icing on the cake.

Simu Liu portrays Shang- Chi, a crucial part of a broken family with a history of infighting. He’s a stereotypical millennial, pleased with his valet job, where he works with an equally aimless best friend, Katy (Awkwafina).

But Shaun possesses a mystery; his mother (Fala Chen), who died when he was young, had been a doyenne of martial arts from an alternate realm. And his sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), is absent from the picture because she is busy running an underground ‘Fight-club’ kingdom of her own.

A cryptic message draws Shaun into the fray of a family reunion, forcing him to confront the demons of his past.

The film’s magnetism is carried by Hong Kong movie legend Tony Leung as Wenwu, the patriarch of both Shang-Chi and a mysterious ninja army. Leung is tremendously captivating as a villain who can be steely or tender, loving or vengeful at different moments in the film. He is one of the most sophisticated and compelling antagonists in any recent blockbuster, let alone the Marvel universe.

The Legend of the Ten Rings is all about action from the minute Shang-Chi initially displays his martial arts prowess on board a runaway bus. It was supervised by the late Brad Allan, a veteran associate of Jackie Chan, and the set piece punch-ups are full of the kind of exuberance that is too unusual in Hollywood blockbusters these days.

Each role and each fight have a distinct personality, which is represented through a signature style of combat. The hero's personal evolution is reflected by his altering fighting style, which is a clever and engaging chunk of visual storytelling. 

Cretton's storytelling revolves around the juxtaposition of characters' pasts as they become pertinent to the current plot line. Even though it enables the viewers to learn more about the characters, the one drawback to this structure is that because of the need to flip back and forth between the past and the present, the second act feels a little slower.

Bursting with martial-art elements, this movie makes superb use of full-circle plotting to let the viewers escape on an epic roller-coaster abyss of emotion. In a nutshell, Shang-Chi is an incredible addition to the MCU Universe and a visually stunning experience. 

 

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