Wednesday, December 22, 2021

{Digital Review} - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Let me be honest I had never heard of the superhero Shang-Chi before Marvel Studio's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PG-13; 132 minutes) was released this year. I was assuming he was a new comic book character. Oh, boy, I was wrong. Shang-Chi made his debut in Special Marvel Edition #15 (December 1973), and his appearance looked like legendary Bruce Lee.  

Destin Daniel Cretton (The Glass Castle, Just Mercy) co-wrote and directed Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Simu Liu (Bad Blood) stars in the title's role. Unlike Black Widow, Shang-Chi received an exclusive 45-Day theatrical release before arriving on Disney+ and digital download services. It grossed over $432 million worldwide against a $150-200 million budget. It got released on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD on November 30th. 

Special Features include:
  • Gag Reel Take a look at some of the fun mishaps on set with the cast and crew of Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.
  • Deleted Scenes
    • They’re WaitingShang-Chi and Katy connect with Xialing over a call.
    • Take a ShotKaty has a moment of resolve during a battle.
    • Apology Years after his sudden absence, Shang-Chi tries to apologize to Xialing.
    • I’m HereShang-Chi and Katy have a conversation in the alley. Katy reassures Shang-Chi that she will always be his support system.
    • Pep TalkTo turn the tide, Razor Fist encourages Katy during the middle of a battle.
    • Greatness – Trevor and Katy bond over passions in their getaway car.
    • Escape Tunnel The gang slips out through Trevor's escape tunnel to secure a getaway vehicle.
    • Two SonsXu Wenwu compares Shang-Chi and Razor Fist during a tense dinner.
    • Postcard Shang-Chi and Xu Wenwu reunite as father and son. Shang-Chi makes it clear he disagrees with Xu Wenwu's philosophy.
    • Just FriendsKaty and Xialing get to know each other. Xialing asks Katy some personal questions.
    • Do It YourselfXu Wenwu returns to his empire after the Iron Gang boss is captured.
  • Building a Legacy Go behind the scenes and explore Shang-Chi’s explosive debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Family TiesA deep dive into the rich but complicated legacy of Shang-Chi and Xu Wenwu.
  • Audio CommentaryView the film with Audio Commentary by Destin Daniel Cretton and Dave Callaham.

Final Thoughts

I rarely rewatch a movie after the first viewing unless it was mind-blowing. So far, I've seen Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings three times, which sums up my thoughts on the film. In other words - I loved it.

Most Marvel films involve a "world-ending" threat with buildings crumbling around our beloved superheroes. I don't know about you, but I get tired of the same old plot. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is an emotional and character-driven origin story. Sure, giant dragons are fighting each other, but everything feels more grounded. Things aren't there to explode in a CGI spectacle. Though the are plenty of CGI effects to dazzle the mind. I liked how the villain isn't trying to destroy the world, but instead, he's a father trying to amend his past mistakes.

Simu Liu gives an exceptional performance as Xu Shang-Chi (otherwise known as Shaun). However, the best standout was Awkwafina as the comedy-relief best friend, Katy. She had me laughing my head off when she started to sing  Hotel Californa during the scaffolding fighting sequence. Ben Kingsley returns as Trevor Slattery, the actor-for-hire who pretended to be the Mandarin in Iron Man 3. The character is there for fan service and a few comedic moments. 

The cinematography and the action choreography sequences were astonishing. The editing and pacing are pitch-perfect.  

Overall, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a slam-bang superhero thrill ride from start to finish. 

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