Marvel is really good at origin stories. They have brought fans great versions of their favorite characters in solo films like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther. Most recently, Black Widow got her own solo film, however it wasn’t an origin story and that is part of the reason it suffered. The latest hero to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Shang-Chi, and the film we are given is a perfect origin story. Here’s why.
Why Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Is A Perfect Origin Story
There are many things to love about Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, from the fantastic cinematography to the visually stunning shots, to the large-scale fight scenes. Most importantly, however, is that this is the perfect origin story. Especially when you consider that it is the introduction of a brand new character into a well-known and already established universe. The MCU started in May of 2008 with Iron Man, and has been growing ever since.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the 25th film in the MCU, including the Sony Spider-Man films, and it has some big shoes to fill. Luckily, Marvel has perfected their introduction of heroes, which is a good prediction for the next film, Eternals, which lands in November, and introduces a whole slew of new characters.
In this film, there are several tie-ins and mentions of things that occurred in the previous MCU movies. It is extremely important to mention these so that fans can believe these characters fit right in. However, it is also important that the new characters have their time to shine. Their past needs to be explained, and they need to have a story arc, and some character development.
Every character in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has this, most importantly Katy, played by Awkwafina, and Shang-Chi/Shaun, played by Simu Liu. These two will likely be showing up again in the future, as will Xialing, who is played by Meng'er Zhang. The entire cast has fantastic chemistry. Whether it is friendship, love, or hatred – all of it is visible through facial expressions, body language, and dialogue. This movie is so well written and acted that all of the characters are believable.
Fans will learn about Shang-Chi’s powers, upbringing, and friends and family. They will explore his emotions, and his story, in a way that will have them begging for more. Not to mention, everyone gets to see this man in action. The martial arts in this film are extraordinary and deliver some epic action scenes. Fight scenes are scattered throughout the film, with dialogue in between, making for a movie that doesn’t ever feel too long, or like it is dragging. Everything that occurs is there for a reason, and helps to propel the story forward, as well as set up for possible future MCU movies.
As seen in the trailers, Wong and Abomination make an appearance in the movie, and that helps to solidify that yes, this movie is taking place in the MCU. There are a few other cameos as well, but we don’t want to spoil them. Let’s just say they are extremely exciting.
It should also be mentioned that the cinematography and CGI take this movie to a whole new level. The fight scenes are an absolute joy to watch in big part because of the camera angles and special effects. The second half of the film takes place in a magical land filled with mythical creatures, which relies heavily on CGI. Happy to report that it all looks stunning, especially up on the big screen. There are dragons, and a horror element that will have fans gasping and cheering as they watch it play out.
Marvel is known to add some humor into their films, and this one is no different. With a star like Awkwafina, that is to be expected anyways. She delivers some great one-liners, but some of the best moments are her conversations with Simu Liu. The two of them are fantastic together, and bring a lot of heart to this film.
The nearly all Asian cast was also a very important part of making Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings what it is. Without that, it would not mean as much as it does. Every young child should be able to see themselves on the big screen, and as a superhero. We are getting there, and this is a big step in the right direction.
Overall, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is about family and friendship. There is a lot of emotion at the core, surrounded by stunning visuals, epic battles, and a brand new superhero that everyone is sure to fall in love with. His origin story is one of the best that Marvel has given us. Allowing viewers to make the connection to the greater universe as a whole, but still allowing him his time to shine, along with the supporting characters as well. Welcome to the MCU Shang-Chi, we can’t wait to see what you do next!
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters on September 3rd.
Tessa Smith owns MamasGeeky.com and is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic and a huge geek. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Hollywood Critics Association and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association. She grew up watching movies, playing video games, and reading comic books -- and still loves all of those things. She proudly lets her geek flag fly and spreads the word that there is nothing wrong with being a geek.