Monthly Marvel: Shang-Chi Fans Thrilled with Newest Movie


Shang-Chi may be a Marvel superhero, but he lacks superpowers in the strictest sense. This guy hasn’t had any Super Soldier Serum, radioactive spider bites, or gamma exposure – he’s just been doing martial arts for a long time. (Credit: Marvel Studios)

Morandi Lawrence, Staff Writer

“Shang-Chi” is a fantastically enjoyable section of the picture, establishing its hero as a noble type who wears cool kicks and isn’t burdened with witty remarks or excessive sadness. In terms of the second half, it’s difficult to maintain the human drama when the film abruptly transforms into a CGI kaiju battle fest, a shrieking and whirling imbroglio of mystical flying-dragon gibberish in which actors yell essential speech above the din. It’s bloated and pointlessly intricate in terms of plot, overloaded with a few too many characters and sliced up with flashbacks. Even so, the errors here aren’t inexcusable; if all Marvel films must follow a pattern, “Shang-Chi” at least gives us something new to look at, all while maintaining fair Asian representation. 


This movie is a great addition to the Marvel universe, with an enjoyable combination of humor and superhero action that, like many Marvel Cinematic Universe films, covers loss, father issues, and learning to accept your gift. As Shang-Chi and Katy, Simu Liu and Awkwafina have wonderful buddy chemistry, and, like Black Widow, Shang-Chi’s romance is limited to the elder generation, while the main character is more loyal to his family (both chosen and biological). While Marvel isn’t short on entertaining sidekicks, the center duo here has comedic timing on par with Scott and Luis from Ant-Man, plus a touching brother-sister vibe. Shang-Chi does, after all, have a biological sister, who is guaranteed to be a fan favorite. Meng’er Zhang’s Xialing is like an edgier Natasha: She’s a trained assassin who wants more out of her life than being her father’s overlooked younger child. But it’s Leung who steals the show here, a dark, forceful presence that’s about to boil. It’s difficult to create a superhero film without overt father-child trauma, and director Destin Daniel Cretton, together with David Callaham and Andrew Lanham, puts a lot of emphasis on the characters’ backstories. It can seem a little overwhelming at times, but the writing ultimately manages to balance the superhero bloviating and inspirational monologues with hilarious banter and an especially excellent subplot involving a recognizable MCU star. 


Liu, who plays Shang-Chi, is fantastic, and he should continue to appear in Marvel films for the coming years. He’s an excellent fit for the Marvel universe. His charisma and composure were comparable to Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, among others. They got the casting spot on. Liu’s Shang-Chi, a young man attempting to find his way and a helpless young boy looking for his family. If you couldn’t tell, he is my favorite character and I can’t wait to see what he brings next. I would have to give this movie a 7/10, just because towards the end, I felt like it moved along too fast and so much was going on. Other than that, it’s a perfect movie for any family and I recommend it!