"Stop hiding who you are.”
People say they grow tired of superhero origin stories, but when Marvel delivers a knockout like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, they change their mind. Perhaps that’s because the story Marvel delivers here, under the direction of Destin Daniel Cretton, allows for the story to take precedence, regardless of the fact that it’s the twenty-fifth film in the MCU franchise. It doesn’t feel like they’re trying to find a way to shoehorn it in. It’s its own story, and is one about family first.
Ocean Murff, now at the head of the table, convenes The Film Board to discuss Cretton’s film. Joined by Justin Jaeger, the Board’s conversation covers the story, the performances, the camerawork, the effects, and how the film is proof that Kevin Feige and the team at Marvel have a strong plan with how they continue forward.
Shang-Chi: A Wuxia Film With Family at Its Core
Ocean and JJ talk about the family theme at the center of this story and how that feels like such a strong way for us to meet Shang-Chi. The flashback structure gives us a chance to meet Wenwu and see his lust for glory, but also to see him give it all up for the love of Li. This romance ends up being the heart of the film, and we find a lot to unpack here.
We also have side characters like Katy and Xialing. How do they work? Were they in the comics and how have they changed? Clearly, they’re here for the long haul. And they both end up providing some great elements to various fight sequences.
Speaking of Fight Sequences: Shang-Chi Shines Here
Cinematographer Bill Pope working with Cretton helped craft some beautiful and innovative fight scenes well worth watching and discussing. JJ even compares them to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The bus scene is great, but how about the gliding camera when Wenwu and Li first meet and battle? The CG dragon/super soulsucker fight may be a bit, well, CG, but it still looks amazing.
And then there’s Simu Liu. He deserves more roles because we want to see him in everything. And just like the importance of Black Panther providing a black superhero for African American audiences to identify with, Liu excels in the title role of Shang-Chi, giving him incredible conflict over his past and future decisions and creating a complex and powerful character for Asian audiences to connect with. But really, let’s be honest – everyone will be able to connect to this character and to Liu. He helped push this film into the upper echelon of our MCU favorites. It’s that good.
So join us at the big table this month on The Film Board. It’s a great chat about Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Let us know what you thought!
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This Meeting is Called to Order.
Join Ocean and the gang of thugs as we pull apart one new-release movie each month. From the big-budget popcorn events to art house indies, the board uncovers what works, what doesn't, and more.