Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The biggest compliment I can give this film is it removes the bitter taste that was 'Iron Fist'. This is the magical, mystical, Marvel Kung Fu movie we all hoped they could pull off.

This is very much a love letter to kung fu movies over the decades. An early sequence clearly paying homage to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (whose star Michelle Yeoh also plays a significant role here) and various other eras of martial art movies get their moment - I'm sure somebody smarter than me will identify them but it doesn't get in the way - it is just a fun element of a fun movie.

Simu Liu is charismatic and convincing as the lead. He is at his best when he is playing it with a lightness - some of the 'darker' moments are more clunky - but he carries the movie well and pulls off a serious workload - this film does not skimp of the fancy fight choreography.

As ever Awkwafina is amusing but she actually elevates the sidekick role a bit as she grows into her heroic side herself. Her karaoke could do with some work though.

It is ridiculous that this is Tony Leung's Hollywood debut - he has been a Hong Kong legend forever - but quite amusing he plays an ageless character given he has seemingly been the same age for decades in real life.

As I mentioned earlier Michelle Yeoh is in full on kung fu goddess mode. Makes me wonder again why she was slumming in Boss Level.

Sir Ben Kingsley earns that knighthood with a comedy masterclass - it is a nice call back to Iron Man 3 but he really goes for it here.

The main connective tissue in the Marvel Universe these days seems to be reference to 'the blip' but this movie adds to the universe-building with some lovely moments with Wong (mainly associated with Doctor Strange) and going with the deep cuts with Tim Roth's Abomination making an appearance!

On the downside there are a bunch of mystical creatures that seem like extras from The Never Ending Story and final big fight is a big of a mess of over ambition.

Anyway I really recommend this one. Kung-Fu-tastic.