"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" Feature Talkback (Spoilers)

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Yojimbo

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A Marvel legend will rise.

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Release Date:
September 3, 2021 (September 2 advance screenings)
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
MPAA Rating: PG -13 (for sequences of violence and action, and language)
Screenwriters: Dave Callaham, Destin Daniel Cretton, and Andrew Lanham
Starring: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Meng'er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh, Andy Le, Florian Munteanu
Runtime: 132 minutes

Plot Summary: Shang-Chi must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization.

Related Links:
-Disney Plus Official Page
-Avengers Endgame Talkback Thread
-Doctor Strange Talkback Thread
-Ant-Man Talkback Thread
-Marvel One-Shot: All Hail The King Discussion
-Iron Man 3 Talkback Thread
-Iron Man 2 Talkback Thread
-The Incredible Hulk Talkback Thread
-Iron Man Talkback Thread
-Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings News & Discussion
-Marvel Cinematic Universe News & Discussion (Spoilers)

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Discuss Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings right here!
 

Neo Ultra Mike

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WARNING: Long spoilery review below.

Though this was another one of those movies that Feige had tried making for awhile, this seemed like a no brainer slam dunk after Phase 3 had ended (and that jerk herder Perlmutter was totally out of making decisions at Marvel) to really go for as a new franchise. Which due to Covid hard to say how this one will play out but hey we can still be hopeful. Before that went through though there were two big reasons to pretty much everyone why this was made. First was after how much of a splash Black Panther made it made it clear to Marvel representation nets the big coins and you know who's the most fertile non american market? China so marketting an Asian hero made a great degree of sense. Another thing that made this one seem like a big slam dunk idea was that was Marvel owning up to one of their previous "mistakes" to try and appease an audience by reworking something that had to be originally reworked to get in at all in the first place. As in the Mandarin. Yeah for all you comic book fans that was the main enemy of Iron man the books but... yeah that idea of this green skinned megalomaniac descendant of Genghis Kahn (seriously that's his comic book origin) was not something you could really do the films especially at a time where magic hadn't been full on implemented into the universe, Thus in Iron man 3 you had the double fake out that the supposed Mandarin Ben Kingsley was playing wasn't actually him and it was supposedly a made up organization despite the fact that the 10 rings was previously established as a thing in other Iron man movies as a terroist cell but yeah this character from the comics was just this performance and if there was a real "Mandarin" it was just some guy with fire powers Tony Stark had been a jerk to years back defeated by surprise also powered Pepper Potts so... yeah was seen as a big middle finger to a lot of his comic book fans. From what I've seen not like the guy was the most deep or interesting villain but this is Iron Man's big nemesis just like how Red Skull was Captain America's who was done well but Mandarin just flopped. Marvel did hint in a short there was a real Mandarin who yeah was reworked into the villain of this movie whose now Shang Chi's father. Since in the books Shang Chi's father was Fu Manchu because... man were the writers unknowingly or annoyingly kind of racist back in the day when you could more get away with that sort of thing but yeah that was reworked and now we have this movie. So how was it?

Honestly I really liked it... there are a few issues I have with it but honestly most of it really does work and I'm really invested in it especially the story and direction they have with Shang and Wenwu/"Mandarin" that I'm all for.

I think the biggest failure of this movie is that some of it's comedy falls flat. A big charm of Marvel's movies and shows were that they would have good comedy and jokes and though take things seriously would also know when to throw in jabs or jokes that really landed and made the audience laugh. In Phase 4 though we still have that in spurts but a fair amount of it does kind of fall flat. I noticed in the last couple of what ifs that sort of ruining the mood which probably hurt more there due to the shorter run time while here due to it being a movie it is better spaced out. Still there are some graoners. "I promise I will drive safe-" *cut to Katy driving wreckless with the car* or Shang talking about his backstory on the plane being interrupted by that stewardess. And though Katy isn't as annoying as I feel some thought she could be (since Awkafina is playing her who can do serious roles and tone herself down is known mostly for her broad loud comedy) she does throw in a few too many "hell yeahs" or "holy s*its" at a couple of inopportune times. Like thankfully she can tone the character down to be serious when the situation calls for it like when Shang reveals the actual reason he left his dad's organization but there are some cracks where the joke doesn't land and it feels obnoxious but thankfully that isn't too often. And hey at least it always with her character. There's that stupid obvious moment of Razorfirst going "oh the 10 rings would never join you" then one of his people is soul sucked and he goes "yeah okay we'll join you". Like at this point you need to perfectly time out jokes like this which this movie does not do and though there are some sections I did laugh at with this movie it isn't really that funny. Which probably would be more of a problem if this was say like The Suicide Squad which had so many more jokes and bits to it but this movie instead actually is more focused on it's story and core themes which really do work and honestly something I do really like about this one.

In fact one thing I have cracked on a couple of times about Marvel villains being driven to be bad because of other voices in their heads supposedly making them crazy... this time it actually does work. Because it's not like Wenwu committed awful acts just because of the rings or anything like that. No he just saw the power that came from them and was totally fine in using them for conquest. But actually did make a genuine change of heart being bested by Ying and falling for her. I admit I really love the idea of "guy actually comes across equal in combat and that's what makes them realize they are meant to be and forming an attraction because of that" and I like how yeah Wenwu was totally earnest in not only his love for Ying but love of his kids and their family as well. I do wonder if maybe they could of shown a bit more of it then just like a little flashback in the middle of the movie actually showing Wenwu with the kids and Ying but you still see that and I am glad he was sincere about actually giving up The whole "super immortal terrorist" life style for her having found love... and that changing when she was killed thanks to people getting revenge for when he was this terorrist monster which put him back in that life style. And honestly I appreciate this movie for having the cahoonies even if they don't show it that yeah Shang Chi actually DID kill the person responsible for his mother's death... but you know being a kid whose taken his first life and probably having felt the emptiness of revenge that was when he ultimately left his family and tried to start over a new life. In the original comics Shang also changes after his first kill but that is much more "oh Shang realizes his father is this evil overlord he apparently didn't realize before hand and want to become a hero now" which honestly the idea of just wanting to lie low until finding out his sister's in danger I feel makes more sense and makes you better understand the character. Plus yeah it sells the idea of Shang thinking for a moment "the only way I can stop this is by killing my dad" paralleling what his dad said about the blood contract before that yeah you know he won't do that but it sells it a lot more and honestly makes me realized even more how hollow that whole "I must get revenge for my father's death" in Snake Eyes movie was. I thought that before how lame the resolution was in that movie but man now that Shang Chi shows how to do it right makes that film look even worse by comparison. I like too how the whole arc of Shang Chi is having to accept both his mother and father's lineage as yeah Shang was perfectly fine learning his mother's way of fighting and combat but the only way he beat his dad was by accepting that part of him as well and using the 10 Rings. I like too how silently Wenwu's death was handled saving Shang as his soul was absorbed by Fing Fang Foom (Or whatever new name the dark dragon was given. It's a demon dragon though so I'm calling it Fing Fang Foom who cares about offending a dragon?) with him just looking at his son realizing all he's done and how he can't ever have his family and making peace with that and giving Shang the rings. I guess Yondu's death in Guardians 2 was better as we got to know Yondu a lot more through 2 movies but I appreciate how this was handled more seriously and silently and how Wenwu was portrayed throughout. I am glad though imposing and strict and obvious revenge stricken the guy was it was clear he did care in his own way for his kids and his wife and did want to be with her not being able to accept her loss which is what Fing Fang Foom took advantage of. So yeah this movie is about having to accept all of what makes up you not just being able to pick and choose some parts of your life but rather everything you are as well as making the most of your potential which was Katy's whole arc. BTW major props for despite one mention of it by Katy's family NOT having Katy and Shang get together as boyfriend and girlfriend at all and just be friends. No flirting or kisses or anything other then earnest friendship. Typically that's only been in Marvel movies when the main leads are either the same gender but yeah this movie does not do that at all which yeah I really dig.

Another awesome thing about this movie are the action scenes. I'm all for amazing close up martial arts action and appreciate a lot of great fights this movie had. First off major props to how the 10 Rings are used. I'm sure some people will be annoyed how "oh this isn't like how in the comics each one had it's own power and weren't just arm braclets you could shoot around like bending abilities" but eh pretty sure any major ring action should be saved for Green Lantern. Plus how Wenwu shot himself around or used them to block or knock back hits or how Shang later was able to take some and have them spin all around him and then put them inside the Fing Fang Foom beast to blow it up from the inside was all wicked cool. It's clear they decided to make the 10 rings though this awesome powerful mystical object to make them stand out as standard weapons we haven't seen as much of in Marvel and that really worked. And yeah all the major bouts in this movie worked. I really liked the sort of dance Ying and Wenwu had in their brawl and how she was able to knock him around. Then you had Shang's fight in the bus which you think the trailers would of spoiled all of it but him being knocked out and having to get back in or even being on top and how he separted that Razor First guy from the rest of the bus and that long shot of him knocking people out was not really shown and did look cool. I appreciate the cage fight too (more on Wong later though) getting to see Xiang and Shang and her knocking him out after remebering how he abandoned her which yeah is a good reason to hold a grudge. The fight on side of the building was pretty intense too especially when Katy was knocked down (I'll go into jokes I did like more later but I do appreciate her trying the whole art of distraction on the guy and it just not working and her being flung to this side that was a bit handled better then I thought it would) and then when Shang fought against that guy with the two knives. I admit the only henchmen whose name I remember is Razor fist but mask guy was also pretty cool though Shang proved cooler in that fight especially getting the knives away from him. Then a good chase out of the compund and then yeah the big ending battle. I did again think they could of shown a bit more of the two group's against one another but you at least got a good moment show Xiang and Ying and even Huang taking someone out and though obvious once she was given the arrow that Katy would have this big moment shooting the creature I thought when it hit was handled well. And you know though "Fing Fang Foom" or again whatever the dark dragon was called just had a generic monster goal I do appreciate how it didn't talk and was just this monster creature and you did feel it's power especially when it got more souls against the water spirit dragon as that whole big dragon fight especially with Shang and Xiang on it's back was cool. And though I like Black Widow's climax this one was more interesting and honestly the kind of big screen comic book insanity that would of been laughed at... even 15 years ago but yeah is really sold well here.

And though some of the comedy was a miss, there were a fair amount of hits. Honestly especially with how it ended Katy and Shang telling their story to their friends at the diner with how they met and then later about their whole adventure was a great gag. And honestly I really did laugh at Katy pointing out how Shang trying to disguise himself as Shawn was really stupid and that felt like one of those good Marvel tangent bits that I'm glad they didn't cut what kind of felt like improv. I dig too how there's this fight in this big bus and how one of the passangers is this youtuber vlogger talking about how "oh I know a bit of karate so I'll talk to you how well this fight holds up later" and how that got Shang noticed. Because you know at this point I think most people in the MCU can accept a lot of just general insanity and roll with it. I do also like Katy getting into the whole underground tournament ring and betting against Shang (that felt like an obvious joke but how Awkafina sold it worked) and like the reveal that Wong vs Abomination is not the first time these guys have met but rather a weird form of Wong actually trying to reform this guy through I guess combat. So... apparently maybe Abomination whose supposed to be in the She Hulk series WON'T be a bad guy? Eh as that was a bad example of "oh now I have another voice or am crazy cause of this thing in me" villains fine by me. Speaking of villains though the mention of Trevor to point out how the Mandarin name is not only offensive but terribly inaccurate, I have to say I really dig how he was used here. First off props to the MCU team ofr having actually built to this with that Hail To The King short since I'm sure they did that with the intent of "we're doing this with Trevor so that when you see him next he will have interacted with the actual Mandarin" and like with One Piece's whole Impel Down arc I love the idea of having established past rogues being put in a prison being used later for another story. So yeah I'm totally sold on the idea of not only Trevor not dying due to just being entertaining and being Wenwu's like personal jester but that her formed a bond with this no faced creature only he can communicate with. I admit all of his bits was great giving directions and then later faking his death were funny. Hmmm thinking about it does make me wonder what happened to Trevor though? Is he in that dimension still with his buddy or back in a jail? Honestly thinking about it though the ending tag of Wong singing karoke with Shang and Katy was funny it would of been more so showing the three of them singing then showing Trevor crashing it singing horribly and Shang realzing" oh yeah this guy never stopped following us after we got him back to this dimension" or something like that.

Oh guess I should talk about the ending credit bits. Yeah we knew Wong was in this but I also like using that Endgame video chat quirk with Captain marvel and Bruce Banner (who I guess can now just be regular Hulk... still with a broken arm which you think someone with mystical energies could fix but whatever) on what exactly is the source of the 10 rings which probably ties into whatever another Shang Chi movie was about since yeah this movie never elaborated on what these mystical arm braclets exactly came from. Like yeah I heard what they were in the comic but clear they're doing something else with it here. And hey even Marvel is aware of the whole "oh Carol just goes off to do her own thing" as Bruce called her out when she did that here. Again I hope Monica in The Marvels does an emotional actaul call out of that but you know i get saving that for this movie. I am glad this also establishes some people in the MCU are trying to take notes on things going on in each other's little world likely since that whole Infinity War thing blew up in their faces though I doubt this is like the beginning of an Illumanit since based on how that was in the comics they'd be more secret jerks about that then anything we got here. Oh and also seems like Xiang is now in charge of the 10 rings though is that supposed to be a bad thing? Seems like they're just doing more training and honestly though I do ike her whole "I had to learn in secret how to fight with weapons" I didn't see that as Wenwu being sexist (I mean the only person who beat him was a woman in thousands of years this guy's clearly not sexist at this point) but likely him not wanting his daughter to have his former wife's fate but hey cool shot of training though but... what's it building to? "The 10 Rings Will Return" was how this movie ended but like will they return as possible antagonists somehow? Or this now actual elite secret training strike force to help out someone down the line? Hard to tell.

Still really enjoyed this one. If my biggest complain are "sometimes I zoned out thinking about something else" (which just can happen to me sometimes) and some jokes not landing not really much to hate on here and not much I do hate on so yeah good stuff. Hopefully this movie is a big enough hit even in this Covid era so we see more Shang Chi stuff soon as I'm defintely down for more.
 

Yojimbo

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Nothing short of amazing. I'll probably have more to say when I re-watch it on Disney+ on October 18 but loved Simu Liu. Martial arts was stunning, great to see the different hard and soft styles matched perfectly to the characters that used either and little nods like how the rings were reworked in a Hung Gar style. Unlike Neo, the comedy was not flat to me. But that's the thing with comedy, it's funny or it's not. And Awkwafina and Ben Kingsley & Morris were the perfect counterbalance to all the drama and action. They stole the scenes whenever the spotlight was on them. Glad they kept Shang and Katy as BFFs and that they were not forced them into a romantic cliche by the end.

Wenwu had a great arc from start to finish, so I was very very happy he was nowhere near a 1 dimensional villain. Was surprised the big bad turned out to be a Thor-Doctor Strange villain, one of the Fear Lords, Dweller-in-Darkness. For a protector, the Great Protector sure was tardy both times, lol. Still all in all a great spectacle at the end with the "Kamehameha" attack. :D

It was a surprise they pretty much kept the lid on the origin of the rings but Nan did offer that interesting line of asking if Wenwu was wearing them when he heard the voices and in retrospect, of course it's something that would be perfect for the sequel. And of course, elevating it with the end credit teaser. The energy analysis of the rings certainly makes it a game changer. Wonder if it's related to the Celestials and could come up in Eternals. EDIT: Loving the theories it could be connected to Galactus.

Also loved the use of Ta-Lo, that was a pleasant surprise for me. Nice use of an obscure Marvel locale from the comics and also draws from Chinese mythology. First appeared in the early 80s Thor comics. Perfect fit.

All my fears of this movie being lackluster melted away pretty quick but it's still a bummer it came out during this Delta variant surge. Even though on the series end, WandaVision, and in the movies, Black Widow are touted as the start of Phase 4 -- after Shang-Chi, they were all more like epilogues or Phase 3.5 stories. Shang-Chi was the real start of Phase 4 in my book, figuratively. Loved it, loved it, loved it.
 
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reflection01

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Saw it this afternoon in the earliest showing available where I felt I could social distance. About 40 people spread out so I think it worked.

A few thoughts now. I’m sure I’ll have more later. The only bits that didn’t really work for me where the mandatory origin story bits. We’ve gotten to the point where we don’t need them for Spider-Man or Batman but you’ve got to get through them with Shang-Chi. I liked all the characters a lot. Excellent casting and use of their talents. Nobody was overdone, even Trevor, and everyone was pretty well fleshed out.

I like that the film didn’t use standard superhero tropes. Shang-Chi wasn’t the reluctant hero. Xialing wasn’t quite the vengeful sibling. Wenwu wasn’t the mustache twirling evil laughing standard villain. Razorfist wasn’t dumb muscle.

I was particularly impressed that Katy wasn’t the love interest or damsel in distress. She was the loyal friend. She was way out of her league, but always helpful. I like how she represented the audience but her inclusion never seemed too strange. She wasn’t like Marvin and Wendy hanging with the Superfriends. I did entertain the idea that she was a Ten Rings plant who would turn on Shang-Chi but I’m glad she’ll be around for more MCU.

And I did like how although they did kind of use valets as the butt of a joke, Katy was a very good driver which came in handy.

I’m glad they didn’t cram this world too much into the existing MCU. They acknowledged the blip and it was clear Shang-Chi, Katy, and Xueling didn’t blip. The mid credits just kind of welcomed them into the bigger fight.

The rings were incredible. The effects were outstanding. There were so many creative uses for them and I’m sure there will be more.

Addition: Thinking about it more, Katy is firmly in the role of a non-powered sidekick and comic relief. It’s a good way to fit a popular actress with Akwafina’s skill set into the MCU. I assume she will return and specialize in driving, logistics, and light weapons work.
 
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Yojimbo

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9/21: Before the final version, there were two other scenes shot that suggested two different origins for the rings. But ultimately decided to keep it vague and to be solved at another time in the near future.

Some of the stuff coming on November 12 for the "Disney+ Day" event.
  • The streaming premiere of Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Ring.
That sounds about right for the 4K/Blu-ray releasing that week, too. Black Widow came out on July 9 and the 4K/Blu-ray came out on September 14. 2 months and 5 days later. Shang-Chi came out September 3 so in theory it would come out November 9.

9/23: Photos of filming with "Great Protector" revealed.

9/24: Projected to dethrone Black Widow at the box office today as #1.

9/26: Toppled Black Widow and nearing a $200 million total.

10/1: Digital release is also November 12, 4K/Blu-ray is November 30. Special features revealed.

10/2: Shang-Chi's brother almost appeared, early into development, but he was dropped and it was sister who was left behind. Guess it was Moving Shadow.
 
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