The original Kung-Fu Master is back in The Legend of the Ten Rings, the eighth entry in the Shaw Brothers’ kung-fu movie series. With the help of a computer graphics team, the film’s fight sequences capture the physicality of martial arts spectaculars past, while at the same time portraying the film’s hero as an action-packed hero for the twenty-first century.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Marvel films, but I’ve avoided them because of my fear of comic book movies. However, I did enjoy the first Iron Man, and did enjoy Thor. Now, I’ve seen The Avengers, and it blew me away. The action scenes are amazing, the effects are flawless, the story is great, the actors are phenomenal, and the movie is fast paced. It’s basically everything you would expect from a Marvel movie. I would recommend seeing it, even if you’re not a Marvel fan.
There was a time when good movies were made, and carefully crafted stories told. Now, we get movie after movie that in a matter of a few sentences would give a viewer a history lesson in the making. It’s a shame that the turning point in the history of cinema has been when a director started making a film in a manner that would result in a movie that would only last a few minutes in a theater.
The Legend of the Ten Rings and Shang-Chi
Destin Daniel Cretton is the director.
The film has a running length of 132 minutes.
Most Marvel fans anticipated the constantly changing hype-train to eventually halt after Endgame, and many (including me, to some degree) were preparing to bid farewell to that particular era (forgive the pun) of our life. No film cycle has ever lasted as long as the superhero blockbuster—even when I studied the subject in 2015, just after the Civil War, the constant onslaught of superhero films seemed to be living far beyond its expected expiration date, able to maintain fresh ideas and audiences to consume them far beyond what many in the film criticism industry had predicted. Endgame, in my opinion, will cap off the genre’s heyday, with a gradual decrease in quality popping the bubble and forcing these characters to vanish from the public zeitgeist. My money appears to have vanished after watching Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Shang-Chi was a sight to see. Throughout, it was new, entertaining, and interesting. It was exactly what you’d expect from Marvel, and it was nice to see a new superhero join the ever-growing list of Marvel characters on the big screen. Any fears that the picture was going to enter stale terrain were deflected at nearly every turn, and minor shocks accompanied almost every narrative development. The characters were engaging, the storyline was tight, and the graphics (in moments) were simply stunning—a big cry from Marvel’s typical ‘ugly but realistic’ aesthetic in most Avengers flicks. I typically summarize the narrative at this point in a review, attempting to provide context for what the film is about/what to anticipate. I’m not sure I’ll bother since we’ve gone down this path so many times before. Expect a typical Marvel origin story, and be pleasantly delighted when you see something much better.
While the graphics, storyline, and overall Marvel-flair of the picture were all excellent, the performances of the major actors lifted the film. Simu Liu did a good job of balancing typical hero quickness with a sense of vulnerability that added emotional weight to the piece, Awkwafina did well to avoid the ‘annoying comic relief’ slot that the trailers made her look like she was filling, and Meng’er Zhang did a good job as Shang-estranged Chi’s sister. Tony Leung as Wenwu, on the other hand, was the film’s ultimate standout: a figure that has perhaps claimed the title of greatest Marvel adversary so far. Wenwu is a figure I hate to label as a villain since he works in shades of grey rather than black and white. Every time he appeared on screen, I was captivated, and his presence, along with the pitch-perfect crafting of his characterization, lifted this picture beyond ordinary entertainment material.
“Honestly, the closest I can conceive of them, as beautifully produced as they are, with performers doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks,” Martin Scorsese famously remarked of Marvel. It isn’t the cinema of people attempting to communicate their emotional and psychological experiences to another person.” Despite some obvious ‘thrill-ride’ moments and some wicked kung-fu action, I believe Shang-Chi prioritized the emotional and human aspects of the story. I was not concerned about the over-saturation of superhero films or the eventual collapse of the Marvel juggernaut after seeing Shang-Chi, but rather eager for what was to come next. Even though I’ve been to the theme park many times, I’m not going to let my season pass expire just yet.
The 1970s saw the birth of one of the greatest martial arts films ever produced: “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”. It tells the life story of the legendary martial artist, and the story is surprisingly well told. The plot is told well throughout, and one can’t help but feel for the character and/or the emotions and actions of the characters and the plot. Going back and seeing how well the plot and characters were portrayed is a delight. And when the final climactic scene plays out, you feel like the movie came full circle, and the journey was worth it.. Read more about shang chi review reddit and let us know what you think.
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