So I watched another comic book movie set in San Francisco during the throes of my homesickness. Unfortunately this one only spends a small portion in the city, and I gotta say- I want more…
Kung Fu MCU
Shang-Chi: The Legend of the Ten Rings is probably the best, most satisfying MCU media to be released since before the pandemic. I liked Loki, but it felt incomplete. The other shows were quite blah, and I haven’t seen Hawkeye. I was dissatisfied by Black Widow, so I’d been fairly disillusioned with Marvel for a minute. Not boycotting it, just… disappointed. Tired. Weary. Enough that I didn’t feel obligated or excited enough to see this or Eternals. Not that I regret missing it in theaters, but Shang Chi: The Longest MCU Title Yet definitely deserved the big screen.
The visuals in this film are fantastic. Unique, engaging and colorful in a way that a lot of the other MCU properties have lacked. Further, the use of pop music was tasteful and effective in the same way that it was in Black Panther, and only now am I realizing that the MCU has two films about heroes that are two words long and start with the word ‘black’. Huh.
The fight scenes and choreography is well talked about and I can verify, it is the standout portion of the film. While it isn’t extraordinary, it is good. It reminded me of Jackie Chan’s stunt, props and humor based comedy, but somehow not as good. I suspect that the praise for the action is due to the fact that the MCU historically lacks unique action in its films. With the exceptions of Iron Man and Captain America, very few heroes have a unique enough fight engagement that it matters. Some of their properties, like Black Widow or Guardians of the Galaxy have such generic, poor blasters and shaky-cam hard cuts in their fights. It lowered the audience’s expectations of action from these films, so when Shang Chi does something well and something unique, people take notice. I only cast this doubt on the film because I wasn’t really all that engaged by the final battle as it turned into a regular CGI screamfest.
What’s next, Marvel?
I think that the MCU has hit on its next charismatic duo in Simu Liu and Awkwaufina. Akcquafina. Awquafina. Aquaman. These two on their own are fine, but they have a great back-and-forth when they get to banter and riff, and I think that they deserve a little bit more screen time within their own movie, but also in other MCU properties. I think that they’ll catch onto this, and will feature them in their own way, the way they have with Wong.
I don’t have much to say about the movie. MCU is a machine of entertainment so this movie was pretty much what I expected. I’m not sure exactly when they’ll find their spark again. I was excited for the shows, but Wandavision was so completely underwhelming and disgusting in the way that they toyed with the fans that it really marred my trust in the MCU. I don’t even care that they won’t bring back SHIELD properly.
They have two cop outs ready, in the way of Loki’s timeline antics and What If’s reality antics. I think the MCU really needs to slow down when it comes to this kind of thing. This is just an aside, but I think they’ve expanded too far, with both of these expansions. It makes things like Shang-Chi kind of hard to care about in the grand scheme of things. It’s why I’m not particularly excited by what should have been an insane mid-credits scene.
Shang-Chi: They Used Too Many Words is available to stream on Disney Plus.