(SPOILERS) “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” Review

Erin Shetler



Spoilers for the following: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, WandaVision, Iron Man 3, Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer, Black Widow, Endgame, and Loki


Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings started its first day at the box office, shattering records with 71.4 million dollars. As of September 12th, 2021, a little over a week in theaters, it had brought in over 257.6 million dollars worldwide. Given the constant excitement and cinematography that this movie has, that number does not at all surprise me.

As of September 23rd, 2021, it has received a 4.7 Audience Rating as stated by Google. According to the Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes, it has received 92%, however, the audience score is 98%. On IMDb, it has received a 7.9 point average out of the possible 10. Critics say “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings isn’t entirely free of Marvel’s familiar formula, but this exciting origin story expands the MCU in more ways than one”. The audience says, “Shang-Chi covers the new cultural ground of the MCU without losing any of the action, comedy, and emotion Marvel’s movies are known for.”

Joel P. West, who scored the film, did an outstanding job amplifying the movies, especially the fight scenes with music. Without the score, the scenes, although on their own amazing, wouldn’t have been amplified to their current level. The emotional scenes such as his father’s death had the perfect score that made the moment his body dropped all the more sorrowful. The soundtrack to Shang-Chi was also an incredible music selection. Every time that Hotel California played, I could not help but laugh. The first end-credit scene, with Wong, Katy, and Shang-Chi singing Hotel California karaoke made me crack up. The only downside to the music was that the song was stuck in my head for the following week.

The fight choreography was, personally, the best that I have ever seen in the MCU thus far. Andy Cheng, the fight coordinator for the film, did an amazing job. Every move was perfectly timed and presented, making for entertaining fight sequences throughout the movie. The first fight scene in the film, the one that takes place on the bus where people are after Shang-Chi’s pendant, was thrilling. I could not take my eyes off of the scene the entire time. Katy’s reactions to everything that was going on were both funny and relatable because that was how I would have reacted too. 

Every staff member on the special effects team clearly put hours upon hours of work into Shang-Chi. There are a number of characters that require special effects added or are entirely dependent on it. Knowing that these changes were simply editing was mind-blowing because of the realism and seamlessness. At the climax, Shang-Chi and Xialing are riding the Great Protector and trying to destroy the huge demon that had escaped. Despite the Great Protector and the demon, both being entirely CGI, the scene was very realistic.

The number of cameos in this movie was amazing. Firstly, Ben Kingsley revived his role as Trevor Slattery. We met Trevor first in Iron Man 3 when he was acting as the Mandarin, who we learn in this movie is actually Shang-Chi’s father. Trevor is still embracing his acting role, pretending to be dead during the climax in order to save himself. Secondly, Zach Cherry made his second MCU cameo as the person recording Shang-Chi as he is fighting Razorfist on the bus. Cherry’s first cameo was in Spider-Man: Homecoming when his character had asked Peter to “do a flip”, which of course Peter agreed to. Hopefully, we will see Cherry make appearances in future MCU films or shows. Thirdly, Benedict Wong reprises his role Wong, last seen in Avengers: Endgame. In the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer, Wong is carrying off luggage into a portal, reminding Doctor Strange to not change the timeline. Fans have assumed that Wong had opened the portal to the fight club.

As most MCU movies have, there were two end credit scenes. The first end credit scene was Katy and Shang-Chi meeting back up with their friend and recounting what they had done. Wong interrupts them and the two of them walk through a portal, following Wong. There, we see Brie Larson as Captain Marvel or Carol Danvers and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, where the five of them discuss the rings. Bruce’s arm is still in a sling, which we can presume to be from when he used the infinity gauntlet to snap the 50% of life back. This fully brings the story of Shang-Chi into the MCU. The second end-credit scene saw Xialing taking over the Ten Rings. The new version has female training, which was not allowed before, and graffiti of female fighters being painted on the walls. Throughout the film, Xialing has proven herself to be an extremely strong character and fighter, it did not surprise me to see her sitting on the throne of the Ten Rings.

The themes in the movie were reliable to many different audiences. For example, when we first meet Shang-Chi, he goes by the name Shaun. Although this was to avoid his father and try to hide from him, it was also to normalize with American society. I know a large handful of people who choose to go by their middle names or nicknames to Americanize their Asian names. Another example is having to lose a loved one. Losing somebody close to us is never easy. The motivation behind Shang-Chi’s father was to get his wife back. He was willing to go through any task to get her back, which also shows how grief can overcome people at times. To quote Vision, “what is grief, if not love persevering”. So far during Phase Four, the MCU has put a great emphasis on loss, grief, and love. From the tragedy of Wanda having to leave her reality with Vision, to Sylvie betraying Loki and abandoning him in a new timeline. The previously released MCU film followed the loving bond between Natasha Romanoff and her sister Yolanda, but we knew that Natasha had to die, and seeing that through the end credit scenes was heartbreaking. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was no exception. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, similarly to Black Widow, show the relationship between one family, although Shang-Chi’s family is very different. Shang-Chi had to witness his mother’s death, and how that one event caused his family to fall into ruins. While he is able to make up with Xialing, the climax ends with his father’s sacrifice, and Shang-Chi once again having to witness his parent’s death.

Whether you have been counting down the days for this movie to come out, are a huge fan of the MCU, or are just looking for a new movie to watch, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is an outstanding film that deserves all the praise that it has received.