The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s beat goes on with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a fun adventure fantasy that scored a massive Labor Day haul (for the pandemic era, at least) at the box office.
It deserves that success. Simu Liu is a fine addition to the MCU as the title character (also known as Shaun); we first see him parking cars with his buddy Katy (Awkwafina, firing on all cylinders) in San Francisco. They’ve been pals since high school, and they often go out for all-night drinking/karaoke parties. Of course, she has no idea he’s a master of kung fu with a legacy that spans more than a thousand years.
Shaun’s dad is Xu Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung), the keeper of the 10 Rings, which are both actual physical power rings and the name of an “order keeping” institution whose name you have heard before. (Remember Ben Kingsley’s fake Mandarin from Iron Man 3? This movie does.) Shaun has been exiled away from his dad, but something has caused his pop to call him and his sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), back home to their ancient land.
Events lead to Shaun coming out of hiding—a moment featuring a thrilling fight aboard a San Francisco train—and Katy joins him on his quest. Awkwafina is more than comic relief in this film. She brings dramatic chops to the table, and even shows she can perhaps be an action hero. Everything leads up to a battle between big dragons and little demonic dragons for an epic finale.
The results are solid Marvel fun; this is an experience well worth your time at a safe theater. (Unlike Black Widow, Shang-Chi did not get a same-day Disney+ release.) This is a Marvel movie, meaning it has the requisite post-credit scenes, so stay all the way to the end.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is playing at theaters across the valley.