A legend of its own

Shang-Chi: the new Marvel movie is an instant success in the box office

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Photo courtesy of ign.com

“Shang-Chi: Legend of the 10 Rings” was an instant hit when it was introduced in theaters. It takes place outside the MCU universe following the journey of Shang-Chi as he attempts to stop his father from destroying the mystic city of Ta Lo and gain the rings for himself.

Alexis Bahensky, Opinions Editor

2021 seems to be the year of Marvel in the entertainment industry. Throughout the year, multiple new series that were released became instant hits including many mini-series such as “Wanda Vision,” “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Loki.” While those series brought more users to the Disney+ platform, a new Marvel film is having people running to theaters: “Shang-Chi, Legend of the Ten Rings.”

(Disclaimer: Some spoilers lay ahead)

The film, of course, is based on the comic series: Shang-Chi. While the movie characters come from the comics, most of the plot doesn’t follow them. Many find this strange; however, it makes sense. The motion picture was meant as a setup for future Marvel plot lines, not to be based on the comics since it took place before that timeline. It had no ties to the current Marvel cinematic universe, meaning no other characters, stories or events that were happening in the world of the Avengers were occurring at that time that would have influenced the movie’s plot.

Being an uprise of a new hero for the Marvel franchise, the film started explaining the lore behind what the 10 rings were. They were explained to have been an artifact found by Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), who would go on to become a warlord, conqueror, villain (as seen by some) and many other things over his lifetime. It was said that whoever possessed the rings would have eternal life as long as they wore them, which is the reason Wenwu was able to expand his “empire” for hundreds of years.

Wenwu’s empire was named “The Ten Rings.” It was an organization, or terrorist group as some called it, dedicated to expanding their empire. While Wenwu sought power, there was a greater goal in mind: finding the ancient city of Ta Lo which held the greatest power in the world as told by ancient lore. However, coming upon the city he fell in love with the gatekeeper Ying Li (Fala Chen). He then decided to stop his villainous ways so that he could start a family and maintain their happiness. That didn’t last long. Li was killed in an attack that connected to Wenwu’s past, and from then on he deemed he would never remove the rings, leading him to teach his son Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) how to become the most talented fighter in “The Ten Rings.”

As Shang-Chi continued his training, he began to realize that his father was the one in the wrong. After being sent on his first mission to kill the person who murdered his mother, he stayed in that same country: America. He began a new life, gained new friends and attempted to leave his past behind, including his sister Xialing (Meng’er Zhang). Then, after his past came back to haunt him, Shang-Chi’s adventure began on becoming the next holder of the rings along with his partner and dear friend Katy Chen (Awkwafina).

Throughout the film, the thing that caught my attention the most was how they depicted their fighting sequences. I’ve never really been a fan of the Marvel universe because I always found the scenes where the villain and hero are fighting to be a bit of a bore. However, “Shang-Chi: Legend of the Ten Rings” exceeded my expectations. I found the martial art style more intriguing than the usual use of a weapon or some sort of mystical power. While the rings did hold power, the way to use them involved a heavy martial art form which I loved because it was so different.

Not only is there a limit on the special effects to make it seem more realistic, but because the fighting style is so unique, it kept me engaged for a longer time. It doesn’t even look like the characters are really fighting. The actors didn’t look stiff or rigged when applying themselves. Instead, they were moving with graceful methods. It looked more like a dance routine which made those scenes even better. 

To extend on the martial arts, it was choreographed with very little need for special effects. Andy Cheng was the mastermind behind these scenes. His best scene by far would have to be the bus battle at the beginning of the movie. I wasn’t expecting much at first. I thought it would’ve been the usual MCU fight where it would last for ages with little progress on the storyline, but I was proven wrong. Not only did the scene keep me intrigued the entire time, it helped extend the plot further, while not too quickly. It made sense and the battle wasn’t dragged on for a ridiculous amount of time like they are in most Marvel movies.

“Shang-Chi: Legend of the 10 Rings” also allowed what is called a “second-tier” hero to have the spotlight. I honestly didn’t even know there was a hero named Shang-Chi until the movie was released. This shows the MCU is finally taking more steps to expand their franchise through additional characters rather than keeping the same characters but having different plot lines. It also shows they are willing to have more diversity as Shang-Chi was only deemed a secondary hero because not only did he not follow the regular hero fighting style or technique, but he was also a minority. People would’ve rather seen Thor or Iron man on the big screens; however, that changed with this new release.

Another thing that was different from the rest of the Marvel universe was that it was a completely separate movie. You didn’t need to watch the rest of the Marvel movies to understand this one. The only thing that is discluded would be the appearance of Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley), who was a British actor who pretended to be the Mandarin (one of the many names Wenwu goes by) in “Iron Man 3.” Other than that, one can watch this film and understand every second along with it and not worry about the references they may not understand.

So far, the film has made over $350 million in the box office. That’s over 100 million from their budget which was a range of around 150 to 200 million. Keep in mind this film has only been out for not even a month. It was released on Sept. 3 and it’s not even October yet. It remained the top film for four consecutive weekends in a row earning around 20 million each time and is named the highest-grossing film of 2021 in the United States. If this doesn’t show how good the movie is I don’t know what will.

The movie itself, fantastic. The new diversity it brings to the Marvel franchise, even better. However, the fighting was by far the best aspect of the movie. All are reasons to go to your local theater and watch the film. While I think most movies released as of now are a waste of time, this one is not. It will definitely continue to make many Marvel fans, and others, glad they were able to get out of the house and view the spectacular film.

4.5/5