As we enter a new phase of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU) post Endgame, Shang-Chi is the first new hero to hit the big screen – and what a welcome addition he is.
The Legend Of The Ten Rings serves up perhaps the best hand-to-hand fight sequences the MCU has seen yet, while also introducing a host of new characters with Asian origins, which feels like a brave new step for Marvel Studios.
With the likes of Iron-Man, Captain America and Black Widow no longer a part of the MCU moving forward, Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi (Shaun to his American mates) feels like he could be a major player as Marvel moves towards freshening up the Avengers roster over the coming years.
His origin story is a very enjoyable one that is centred on a broken family and his friendship with Katy (Awkwafina), who does an excellent job delivering the comic relief while also being a likeable character.
Be it a brilliant fight on a bus, some enjoyable links to past MCU films or the beauty and mystical lore of Ta Lo, there’s more than enough to merit a trip to Boston Savoy here.
Shang-Chi often switches between flashbacks to his youth and the present day, with both storylines nicely woven together by the close.
The meat and bones of the story come from Shang-Chi’s relationship with his father Xu Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung), who possesses The Ten Rings, which is both a weapon and the name of his secret crime organisation.
The power of the Ten Rings has allowed him to live for thousands of years as something of an uber-villain, but his love for Shang Chi’s mother Xiang Li (Fala Chen) was enough for him to give up his menacing ways.
However, nothing lasts forever and, having trained his son to be an expert in martial arts and given him all of the tools to be an assassin, Shang-Chi runs away to a more mediocre life as a valet in San Francisco with best friend Katy.
It’s when ‘Shaun’s’ past catches up with him that the film explodes into life and we learn that he must face up to his past in order to stop an ancient evil from devastating the world.
Sure, you’ll get plenty of laughs from his early film antics with Katy, who feels like a character that will be popular with fans.
But, when that trademark Marvel action kicks in, Shang-Chi finds a great groove that never really slows down until the credits roll.
The bus fighting scene is the pick of the bunch, while a scrap on scaffolding and the climactic battle all deliver breath-taking moments.
Liu is a great pick for the lead here and looks every inch a hero, while Wenwu makes for a fine antagonist.
With plenty of threads left dangling at the end and two post-credits scenes that hint at what could come next, Marvel looks to have a new hit hero on its books.
Voice Verdict: 9/10 (reviewed at Boston Savoy)
+ Great new characters, led by Liu and Awkwafina
+ The bus fighting scene
+ Ta Lo looks awesome
+ Post credits!
Boston’s West End Cinema (Fri, Sept 10 to Thurs, Sept 16)
1pm (Sat/Sun), 1.30pm (Wed), 6.10pm (daily), 8.45pm (not Mon)
6pm (daily), 8.30pm (daily)
1pm (Wed), 4.30pm (daily), 7.45pm (daily)
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (12A)
2D – 11.30am (Sat/Sun), noon (Wed), 2.30pm (Sat/Sun), 3pm (not Sat/Sun), 5.30pm (daily), 8.30pm (daily)
THE LAST BUS (15)
4pm (Tue), 8.45pm (not Tue)
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (U)
10am (Sat/Sun), 2pm (Sat)
FREE GUY (12A)
3.25pm (Sat/Sun), 6pm (not Sun/Tue)
AINBO: SPIRIT OF THE AMAZON (PG)
RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER (18)
12.30pm (Wed), 3pm (not Sat/Sun), 3.30pm (Sat/Sun)
THE PAW PATROL MOVIE (U)
9.45am (Sat/Sun), noon (Sat/Sun), 2.10pm (Sat/Sun), 4pm (not Sun)
SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY (U)
10am (Sat), 12.45pm (Sat/Sun)
RAYA & THE LAST DRAGON (PG)
PARENT AND BABY