Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
This is Disney and Marvel Studios at their best.
This film was a box office smash for a good reason. A delightful movie from beginning to end, it tells an emotionally appealing story that is filled with both heartbreak and humor.
Said in summary fashion, you watch a martial-arts master Shang-Chi (the unforgettable Simu Liu) where he is forced to confront his father, Chiu-Wai, who has resumed his role to control the world. Tony Leung gives a devastating performance as Shang Chi’s father and resumes the use of the Ten Rings when his loving wife is killed. Think of the Rings as the equivalent of nuclear weapons, where everyone else is armed with swords.
What makes this movie so endearing are the performances of several women. Start with Awkwafina as Katy, Shang-Chi’s girlfriend. She is funny at every turn, and she deserves Oscar consideration following her memorable roles in Crazy Rich Asians (2018), The Farewell (2019), and Raya and the Last Dragon (2021).
Joining Awkwafina are Fala Chen as Shang-Chi’s sister, Leiko Wu, Michelle Yeoh as his aunt, Jiang Nan, and Meng’er Zhang as Shang-Chi’s mother. Brother and Sister find a way to heal differences while their Aunt fights Father to the death once it becomes clear that he has forgotten how his late wife helped pull him from the dark side.
Let me also say that you will never forget the performance of Ben Kingsley. All but unrecognizable as a guide who our heroes need to confront the Old Man, he will leave you repeatedly laughing at the darkest moments.
I saw this film at an IMAX theater and it is the only way to appreciate the dazzling special effects. Do yourself a favor and see it in the theater. This is one of those times where you will leave shaking your head and mumbling, “I’ll be damned…Hammerle was right for once!”