Following a practical global shutdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, film studios had little choice but to halt countless productions and delay the release dates of their upcoming movies indefinitely.
Movies in production gradually resumed, albeit with strict procedures in place. Just ask Tom Cruise! Theatres, on the other hand, were unable to safely reopen for an extended period, and as such studios had little choice but to largely delay their upcoming slate of releases. Sure, some were released on HBO Max, in what was considered a controversial move at the time, but thankfully following the vaccine rollout theatres have been able to tentatively reopen, and with that comes a flood of features that are releasing practically one after the other.
And what studio is as prodigious in their releases as Disney’s Marvel. The cinematic powerhouse has been able to resume releasing their features, first with the long-awaited Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson lawsuit aside), and next up is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, starring Canada’s own Simu Liu. With its release date of September 3rd rapidly approaching, reviews have just begun to trickle out, and the response has been quite stellar.
Directed and co-written by acclaimed filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is another live-action adaptation of a relatively little-known character that has critics bowled over, and a core reason for this is the intensity of the fight scenes and action sequences, with one critic noting on Twitter that it features “action like we’ve never seen from the MCU before”. Others repeatedly remarked that the action doesn’t just raise the already high bar in the MCU, but that it has the “Best martial arts I’ve seen in a long time.”
While the action is unquestionably the praise most repeated, it is by no means the only aspect of the movie that has impressed audiences. Simu Liu has drawn a great deal of acclaim for his debut as Shang-Chi already, with those who’ve seen the movie commenting not just on how he held his own in the fight sequences (something at which Finn Jones failed miserably in Iron Fist), but also the heart he brings to the role, leading another critic to declare that Simu Liu “is your new favourite Avenger!”
The additional cast of Awkwafina, Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh have all drawn significant commendation also. Awkwafina has received the bulk of the attention, with many noting her effortless chemistry with Liu. However, the movie’s family dynamics have also been a point of praise for many, which is anchored by the veterans Leung and Yeoh, not that this was ever going to be a surprise.
That being said, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is also reported to be full of surprises, particularly in terms of its ramifications within the MCU, with it being “like no Marvel movie you’ve seen.” While I am intentionally unsure as to what exactly that might mean, another early reviewer has advised to avoid any upcoming promotional trailers, as it may spoil some details that have remained a secret thus far.
All in all, it appears that Marvel has yet another creative accomplishment on their hands that is sure to make money, especially considering its glowing reviews, and I for one cannot wait to see it.