Despite a predictable story line the film is definitely a visual spectacle to be experienced on the big screen.


Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (English) Review {3.0/5} & Review Rating

It has been over two years since the release of the last Marvel film in theatres in India. Since SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME [2019], Marvel fans have been waiting for the next in the series or rather phase to hit screens. Hopes were pinned on the Scarlett Johannsson film BLACK WIDOW [2021]. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic that film saw a direct OTT release in India. But now, with SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, Marvel intends on returning to the big screen with a bang.

SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS begins with the introduction of a man named Xu Wenwu, who finds the mystical ten rings that grant him immortality and great powers. The plot follows Wenwu as he amasses an army of warriors called the Ten Rings and conquers many kingdoms and topples governments throughout history. In 1996, Wenwu begins searching for the village of Ta Lo, which is said to harbour various mythical beasts, in order to expand his power. He finds the entrance of the village, but is stopped from entering by the village’s guardian, Ying Li. The two eventually fall in love and have two children, Xu Shang-Chi and Xu Xialing. Wenwu abandons the ten rings and his organization to be with his family. However, Li is eventually murdered by the Iron Gang, old rivals of the Ten Rings, and Wenwu once again takes up the rings to massacre them and resume his criminal activities. Shang-Chi is brought to the Ten Rings’ compound to be trained in all forms of combat by the Death Dealer, a high-ranking member of the Ten Rings. At the age of 14, Shang-Chi is sent by Wenwu to assassinate the leader of the Iron Gang. After fulfilling his mission, a traumatized Shang-Chi abandons the Ten Rings and escapes to the United States, where he adopts the name Shaun. Years later, Shaun AKA Shang-Chi is living in San Francisco and working as valet with his best friend, Katy Chen. One day while on the way to work on the Muni Metro, Shang-Chi and Katy are attacked by members of the Ten Rings led by Razor Fist. Despite fighting them off, Shang-Chi discovers that his pendant given to him by his mother has been taken by them. Fearing that the Ten Rings are going after Xialing for her pendant, Shang-Chi decides to track her down and reveals his past to Katy, who agrees to help him. They eventually find her at an underground fight club in Macau, of which she is the owner; Xialing expresses her resentment towards Shang-Chi for abandoning their family and their father for neglecting her. The fight club is then attacked by a regiment of the Ten Rings led by Death Dealer. Wenwu unexpectedly arrives during the attack and captures Shang-Chi, Katy and Xialing. Once captured they are taken back to Wenwu’s compound, and told that he is on a quest to save his wife, their mother who is being held captive. However, Shang-Chi, Katy and Xialing escape and make their way to the village only to realize that their father had been duped by an evil being and to protect all life on earth they will now have to face their father Wenwu, the leader of the Ten Rings.

Being an ode to Chinese culture and wisdom, SHANG CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS involves plenty of references to oriental folklore. From stories being told of soul devouring demons to eternal guardian spirits, the film covers a vast gamut. The film starts off on a light note with basic character introductions and soon progresses into laying the groundwork for what is to come. Once Shang-Chi (Shaun) and Katy are introduced, the plot fast moves to revealing who they really are and their backstory. From there we see new characters being introduced, which helps move the story forward. Interestingly, despite being an action film, SHANG CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS starts off slow and gathers pace. However, towards the interval proceedings slow down considerably, but pick up in the second half. Humorous elements sprinkled aplenty through the film, with a number of Easter eggs and surprises for true Marvel fans the film keeps the viewer in his seat. The second half of the film though is a well-executed and built action sequence that sees almost all of those introduce in the first half participating. In fact, SHANG CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS makes Marvel fans jump with joy as the action unfolds with seamless CGI, well-co-ordinated action & stunts and of course the trademark Marvel flare with the background music building a thumping crescendo till the finale.

Destin Daniel Cretton on Simu Liu, Tony Leung, Avengers | Shang-Chi & The Legend Of the Ten Rings

Despite this though, for those who have been following the Marvel series from Day 1, SHANG CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS seems to be missing a crucial ‘X’ factor, a panache of sorts that made the likes of IRON MAN, THOR, AVENGERS and HULK stand out. But despite this, and the fact that the story is rather predictable the film does manage to entertain and revive a nostalgic feeling of watch a Marvel film in theatres.

Performance wise, Simu Liu as Shang-Chi does a good job of essaying the role of a child trained to be a master assassin. Liu manages to execute his action sequences with aplomb while managing to emote as well. Nora Lum professionally known as Awkwafina as Katy, Meng’er Zhang as Xialing, and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung as Xu Wenwu do similarly well in their given roles. A special mention for Tony Chiu here, as he balances his character of a father longing for his children, a husband for his wife, and a warlord for his power with finesse. Michelle Yeoh, and Ben Kingsley are severely underutilized, with one being there only as a welcoming party and the other as a comic interlude.

As for the background score, Marvel has time and again proved that they are masters of the game when it comes to using sound in building up to a climax. Be it in any of their previous releases the background score has always played a major role in lending gravitas to the onscreen happenings. In SHANG CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, it is the same, the difference being this time the music feature heavy undertones of oriental instruments. This coupled with flawless CGI, and seamless transitions makes for an entertaining watch.

On the whole, SHANG CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS manages to revive the Marvel action hero saga rather well. Despite a predictable story line the film is definitely a visual spectacle to be experienced on the big screen.


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