Head to the Theaters for Shang-Chi


Illustration by DHS Press, movie poster by Marvel

For the best Shang-Chi experience, Juan recommends your head to your theater and not wait for it at home.

This past Labor Day weekend, I had the pleasure of going to see Shang-Chi in theatres. I was at a beach in Delaware on vacation, and seeing as they had a movie theater nearby (and me being a huge Marvel fan), I decided to check the movie out. I went in, expecting the average Marvel origin story film, and I came out with my expectations being completely blown away.

Spoilers ahead, be sure to read at your own risk.

This movie blew my expectations in the sense that it didn’t feel like a Marvel movie at all, with the traditional Chinese atmosphere and music, along with the magical world of the Ta Lo village. The story was unique and kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering where the story would lead next. I was very invested in his backstory of when he was a child, and how it ties into his present. The development of his martial art skills as a child made for a unique fighting style rarely seen in the MCU, which the action scenes successfully delivered along with an outstanding soundtrack.

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) had no powers for most of the film, and yet the action scenes showed him holding his own in every fight. It reminded me of a lot of other karate movies like Karate Kid, and the famous actor Jackie Chan and his movies’ combat scenes. Shang-Chi is like if they took the martial arts combat and ran with it in a thrilling superhero situation.

The comedy was also really well done. Shang-Chi’s friend, Katy (Awkwafina) felt like the comedy relief in a mostly-serious story. By including the fake Mandarin (Trevor Slattery) from Iron Man 3, the overall tone of the film was a lot lighter. Of course, it’s good the movie was very serious at times, but it’s nice to have a character like the fake Mandarin who you just can’t take seriously.

My only issue with the movie is a very minor one. They didn’t show enough  of his “normal” life avoiding his past. They could’ve shown Shang-Chi and Katy becoming friends and their bond before they got to where they are today, or how Shang-Chi would try to adjust to normal life at a young age after running away from his father. However, they did show the bond between Shang-Chi and his sister Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) when they were young, which was really nice.

The final act was by far the best part of the film. The Ten Rings army teaming up with the Ta Lo people to combat the true enemy showed how serious the situation got. The dragon fighting the Dweller in Darkness was simply amazing. I could feel how intense the fight was, and the sounds of the dragon’s water and them flying really made them sound so real. Shang-Chi acquiring the 10 Rings at the climax was amazing. The abilities of the rings will surely make for interesting fights with Shang-Chi in the future.

This was a really well made origin story, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for the new addition to the cast of MCU heroes. And looking at the post credit scenes, it seems that Shang-Chi will be making more appearances in phase 4 of the MCU. This movie is one that should definitely be seen in theaters to get the full experience.