Film: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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Those that know me, know that I like my superhero movies! My favourite film studio is Marvel and the cinema chain of choice for me, Cineworld.

So, combine all of these at the same time and I’m in heaven (well, hopefully, Cineworld at nearby Rushden Lakes!). Just leave me in one of their comfy seats, near the back and towards the centre! Give me a large soft drink and an even larger bag of Maltesers, and you won’t hear a peep out of me! (some say that’s an extra bonus!) πŸ˜‰

Huzzah! With all the above boxes ticked (apart from the Maltesers!) step forward Marvel’s latest superhero blockbuster (released last Friday, after multiple postponements – February 12/May 7/July 9 – due to you-know-what) the snappily entitled…

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

Since Marvel’s release of Black Widow back in July, this is the latest instalment of the continuing MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) ‘Phase 4‘ suite of movies (stay awake at the back Tomkins!). It’s also the first to feature a superhero of eastern origin with Simu Liu as our titular hero, Shang-Chi (pronounced Shung-Szee).

Full list of cast, crew and creatives is HERE

With only two Phase 4 cinema adventures released so far in 2021, is Marvel cutting back? Apparently not! According to Wikipedia, there are plenty more in the ‘grand plan’, coming to a cinema near you, including:-

Phase 4 (CINEMA)

  • Eternals (5 November, 2021)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17, 2021)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 25, 2022)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (May 6, 2022)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (July 8, 2022)
  • The Marvels (November 11, 2022)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (February 17, 2023)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023)
  • Fantastic Four (date tbc)

Not enough? Well, following the success of WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki and What If? on the small screen, there’s an extensive list of Phase 4 material coming to your TV too!

Phase 4 (TV)

  • Hawkeye (2021)
  • Ms. Marvel (date tbc)
  • Moon Knight (date tbc)
  • She-Hulk (date tbc)
  • Secret Invasion (date tbc)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (date tbc)
  • Ironheart (date tbc)
  • Armor Wars (date tbc)

All-in-all then, there’s enough to keep a Marvel fan like me happy for quite a while. 😊


Anyway, enough of the pre-amble, was Marvel’s latest any good? All those lucky enough to be invited to the Previews (not me!) were very positive, commenting on the stunts, the action and the storyline. In other words, the ‘usual Marvel formula’. There was also praise for the diversity of the cast.

We headed to Cineworld, Rushden Lakes to catch the 1.50pm screening and to find out if it was as good as they said…

THE VERDICT (SPOILER-FREE)

An opportunity to spread out!

In my experience, origin stories like this always seem to have the edge in terms of their clear narrative and their beginning-middle-end structure – and this turned out to be no exception. Keeping the structure simple, always gets my vote! (must be my age! 😁). Additionally, modern blockbusters tend to have longer running times, so it was perhaps no surprise that Shang-Chi clocked in at a generous 132 minutes!

Everyone carried off their part with conviction and there’s even a re-appearance from a character last seen in Iron Man 3 (which might be a tad confusing for casual Marvel viewers!). For us uber-fans, there are a number of respectful nods to the past MCU back catalogue and the story, therefore, sits well with what had gone before.

In fact, for me, it was one of the best storylines EVER from the Marvel franchise. The plot is a simple one – good vs evil – so it’s hardly original, but the movie is delivered in a pacy, upbeat fashion with all the (very) impressive CGI that fans have become accustomed to when Marvel is at the helm.

When it came to the script/dialogue, it was more Ant-Man than Thor: The Dark World, so you’ll be certain to leave the cinema with a smile on your face rather than looking for something/someone to cheer you up! Even Ann, who wouldn’t position the sci-fi genre as one of her favourites, enjoyed it! Praise indeed!! πŸ˜ƒ. There’s even a healthy number of references to The Eagles and a certain hotel! (Bonus points from me then!) πŸ˜‰

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Last word: This is a VERY worthwhile addition to the Marvel Portfolio and works just as well as a standalone movie as well as one for the MCU-completist fans. No word of a sequel yet, but don’t forget to stick around for the now-standard obligatory mid-credits scene, as it sets things up nicely for Shang-Chi’s future πŸ˜‰.

UPDATE – Tuesday, 7th September: Blast and botheration! 😫. Apparently, there was also an END-CREDIT scene (that I didn’t know about, and so we didn’t stay). I’ve just read the details online and it reveals a significant plot twist, negating some of the optimism from the closing scenes of the movie.

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