Cut Short: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Shang-Chi is another one of Marvel’s exercises in producing the most predictable, formulaic and structurally boring blockbusters to grace the silver screen (why yes, superhero fatigue has kicked in for me since I last spoke of them). I watched this with my little sister who really wanted to see it with me. She, who had already seen it before, found herself laughing throughout the opening scenes as I predicted the entire plot: The bad guy at the beginning, who can kill dozens of people with the flick of his wrist, would become Shang Chi’s dad, the one lady he cannot instant-kill would become Shang Chi’s mom; a mom who would die off-screen and prompt Shang Chi’s dad into becoming a baddie. Hell, the moment they arrived in China I also predicted the existence of a minimum of two dragons. I was correct. In fact, what kept me watching was seeing just how accurately I could predict everything that would happen.

I do like Marvel films and have defended them in the past, even against criticism which I would say is more than fair; like Scorsese calling them theme park rides. But even I have to say this film was obligatory. I can see the executives scratching their heads: ‘alright guys, we killed Iron Man and Captain America. We need some new heroes. Any ideas?” One boardroom member asks. ‘How about Shang Chi?’ Says another. ‘No one knows who Shang Chi is, silly.’ The other retorts. ‘Okay, we’ll put Ben Kingsley in it and make references to Iron Man 3. And then Mark Rufalo can be in the end to make it seem like this was worth while.‘ And that idea sold.

I mean, it wasn’t all bad. I liked the final fight because, well, it’s always the part of these movies that has the most effort put into them. I liked that Shang Chi’s Dad had a little redemption arc, although the evil dragon that replaced him as the main villain was just a text-book example of superhero movies making big, grey CGI blobs the antagonists. The other positive I have is that the CGI, by comparison to Infinity War, Endgame and all that, was (thankfully) much better. Shang Chi rides a goodie dragon and that’s pretty cool.

But there’s really no reason to watch this unless you’re super invested in the MCU, or you want to take your children to a movie that they will almost 100% enjoy. But for me, my interest mostly died after Endgame, and I’ve been skipping a lot of these now.

3 thoughts on “Cut Short: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

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    1. He got a Netflix TV show, which i believe is shortly being moved over to Disney Plus. He also appeared alongside Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones in the Defenders show and in a few episodes of Luke Cage season 2. All of this set in the MCU. But his show was poorly received. Fans memed him into oblivion because all he seemed to do was announce his name and who he was, mentioning he was “Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist” at least once per episode. I’ve never been much of a fan because that’s been my only exposure to the character, but it’s needless to say they wasted him.


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