Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Heart of the Dragon: A Father/Son Legacy

Within a sense of adventure, you always want to feel a part of the journey.  No matter the genre, the peril of becoming makes the world more enthralling.  For film, it is triumph when things are given worth and relativity.  In this latest review, I look at the latest film from Marvel.  Diving into the world of kung fu and mysticism, this story infuses comic book elements within a tale of family.  Even when things play along familiar beats, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is an experience that showcases why, Marvel is the best.

After living many years in hiding, a young man’s past comes calling.  Returning home, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) must face certain truths to become what he was born to be.  With Marvel, there is a certain formula in building an origin tale.  Within their approach, they always provide a mixture of lore introduction and slow character building.  This allows Marvel to balance the basics within an imaginative appeal.  In the beginning, we are introduced to tale of the Ten Rings and how they have influenced moments over the centuries.  This prologue provides the foundation for the comic book lore and themes around familial ties and relationships.  We then move to the present, where we find that Shang-Chi has been living in San Francisco under the guise of ‘Shawn’.  After some convenient plot fodder and comical hijinks, he and his friend Katy (Awkwafina) are unexpectedly confronted by his father’s organization, the Ten Rings.  This leads to an amazing action sequence (on the bus), that showcases the martial arts aspect (of the film).  After more conversational exposition, he realizes that his father, WenWu (Tong Leung), is up to something.  He decides it is time to face his past, return to China and stop his father’s plan.  As the story moves along, the origin tale slow moves away from predictable tropes to create an emotional core around the relationship between father and son.  This leads into a second act of dramatic exposition, martial arts inspired action and flashback sequences.  This creates a sense of fragility, providing humanistic appeal to the journey.  As things come to light, childhood memories slowly fill in the gaps of the person behind the mask.  This methodical growth leads to a broken but genuine bond between him and his father, creating a dynamic between the comic book tropes and realism for the audience.  As they return to their home, the film begins to shift into the mysticism aspect of the story.  

As the setting shifts, the mystical aspect takes center stage.  As Shang-Chi (and friends) make their way to another dimension, certain revelations provide answers of a catastrophic nature.  As fate weaves a path of ultimate conflict, this leads into a third act filled with bombastic action set pieces and imaginative sequences.  The balancing act between characters moves the story between predictable comic book tropes and characterization of the father/son conflict.  The layering of action and drama provides an emotional fervor that is driven through character motifs.  Coming to terms with everything, Shang-Chi faces truths of his past, leading to the ultimate full circle climax and a somber epilogue.  Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a spectacular adventure filled with heart and imaginative appeal.  If you are a fan of Marvel, Comic book films, Kung Fu and imaginative sequences, this is one for you.  This is an adventure worth seeing on the big screen. 

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

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