Reflector Reviews: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings


Andrew Eunice, Contributor

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film brought to us by director Destin Daniel Cretton, and stars Simu Liu in the titular role. 

As of late, the state of the MCU both in timeline and release have been foggy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before “Black Widow”, and all of the Disney+ shows that have stormed the pop culture world, the last real banger of an MCU film was “Spider-Man Far From Home” back in 2019. So going into Shang-Chi, my expectations were really up in the air, and I didn’t quite know what to expect. Therefore I am very happy to say that Shang-Chi is definitely a top-tier MCU film, as well as a bonafide martial arts epic. 

Even though the story structure, if dissected for its technical qualities, is very familiar in structure to MCU films of the past, the story here is unlike anything we have seen. Shang-Chi is sucked into an unexpected journey which soars to epic proportions that come out of nowhere, and leave you absolutely speechless with how big it gets and how far it is willing to go. Unlike MCU films in the past which feel safe as if it’s characters are never truly challenged either physically or morally, this film pulls no punches as to where it takes it’s characters. 

The film is also not afraid to differ from the norm as far as superhero stories are usually structured. It is not afraid to challenge the notion of a protagonist or an antagonist, as those lines are often blurred throughout. Even though a “good side” and a “bad side” are established, the presence of evil within the characters is never consistent one way or the other. 

As far as the action goes, this film easily features the best action of any film within the MCU. Whereas other MCU films, as well as other films all across Hollywood, often use CGI as its main feature attraction, this film uses it as a tool to enhance exceptional martial arts choreography captured completely on-camera without any shake-cam or quick-cut-edits. Even though angle changes are used between long takes for enhancement, and a full fight is not bereft of this, it does not come as a detriment to the action whatsoever. 

If you were waiting for the next big MCU film since COVID hit, this film is definitely it. With an epic story, paired with exceptional action, this is one of Marvel’s best. 

Rating: A