‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ steals the hearts of Marvel fans.

‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ is the newest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, and made superhero history in the process.

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Olivia Augustine, Arts Reporter

For fans of Marvel Studios, 2021 has been a busy year filled with new releases, and its very newest addition, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, is no disappointment. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the film arrived in theaters on Sept. 3. 

The film is Canadian actor Simu Liu’s introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as comic book superhero Shang-Chi. One of the biggest accomplishments of the movie is the depiction of an Asian superhero in today’s popular culture. Liu, along with many fans, have commented on the value an Asian superhero brings to table, especially for young viewers. 

Shang-Chi also addresses some issues women face. Chinese actress Fala Chen portrays Leiko Wu, Shang-Chi’s sister, who was subject to unequal treatment as a girl growing up in a male-focused household. But Wu is no victim, as she proves throughout the film, holding her own on several occasions with her martial arts abilities and leadership skills.

The female empowerment and Asian representation in the movie are especially significant because it demonstrates how far Marvel has come from its first Avengers movie, which featured six white superheroes — and only one who was female.

Something that stood out from other Marvel movies was the use of martial arts in the film. Although fight scenes are nothing new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, martial arts have not been present in any previous films. The fight scenes in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings are choreographed with such smooth precision; it’s quite literally dance-like. 

There is also a stark difference between the fighting the villains use as opposed to Shang-Chi and his new entourage, which adds a fun comparison element.

Conversely from fight scenes, the film also includes perfect comedic timing. Awkwafina, who plays Shang-Chi’s best friend Katy, especially shines in the comedy department. Whether it’s mid fight-scene or just a regular conversation that needs spicing up, Katy’s sarcastic comments kept the movie rolling and the audience smiling. 

Katy also brought a level of realness to the movie. Unlike most superhero movies where it feels like everyone has some sort of special ability, Katy is just a regular girl who wants to stick by her best friend in his time of need. 

Of course, a Marvel movie wouldn’t be a Marvel movie without cameos from other characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is one of the most beloved traditions in Marvel movies and part of why its fanbase is so big. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings didn’t skip out on this rite of passage, with a cameo from unexpected character Wong, portrayed by Benedict Wong, who appeared in Doctor Strange among other Marvel films. 

Another selling point for devoted Marvel fans is the interconnectedness throughout all the films. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was well set up to do this, as “The Ten Rings” was the name of the terrorist organization that kidnapped Tony Stark in Iron Man, the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Though Tony Stark is never directly mentioned, this allows for the audience to recognize certain connections within the universe for themselves, leading to the theories that Marvel fans pride themselves on.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has made a great addition to the large collection of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Combining comedy and well-choreographed fight scenes all while addressing human rights issues, the film truly made history. 

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