Have you ever had too much of a good thing? I know for myself; I think I have had too many carbs over the course of my life. So, I have been on a low carb diet these last couple of months and I feel a lot better. The funny thing is that when I do eat carbs I don’t like them as much, and I feel physically worse. So, what does this have to do with Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings? I think we have been so inundated with Marvel movies that the cinematic experience is a little too bloated and I don’t know about you, but I am craving something that is a lot more stimulating and different. Unfortunately, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings falls into the same old familiar pattern of our typical blockbuster Marvel movie.
Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings follows Shang Chi who is a master in Kung Fu and who needs to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization. It is a good movie. The three screenwriters Dave Callaham, Destin Daniel Cretton, and Andrew Lanham are all accomplished screenwriters with multiple successful projects under their belts. They know how to write and write well. I don’t have a lot of problems with the plot, story or characters. The pacing is a little slow but nothing that really hurts the overall appeal of this movie. Marvel movies have set the bar pretty high in terms of characters, plots and overall story. However, to me if feels like we are eating the same candy bar for the 50th time in a row. Is the candy bar good, yes but eventually we crave something more filling. I think this is where I am at with Marvel movies, I need something a little more compelling or something with a difference change of pace.
There was an attempt to infuse this Marvel movie with some more exotic elements like martial arts, and a more nuanced and complex villain. However, the writers and the studio played it pretty safe with these elements which lead to more of a mediocre experience for the viewers. This is why I was so disappointed with this movie. It really felt like a paint by numbers film when it had all the makings of something that could have still held up to the mythos of a Marvel movie but at the same time taking us in a newer and fresher perspective.
Overall, I would give this movie a B- (A Good Movie). I haven’t seen a bad Marvel movie in a long time. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits all the notes with a decent plot, goofy but likable characters, better than average acting and satisfactory action sequences. The hard thing for me and Marvel movies is that although they tend to be better than 70% of the other films out in theaters, they all are beginning to blend together. There is not that sense of wonderment or thrill like from viewing the original Avengers or Iron Man movies. I did enjoy the martial arts and the villain that they brought to this film but on the whole, this really didn’t spice up the movie. If you have enjoyed the films in the Marvel Universe, I would go see this one, even in the theaters at matinee prices for sure. However, if you are getting sick of the Marvel Universe or super hero movies in general, this would be a hard pass.
Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is rated PG-13 for violence and action and language sexuality. The film was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. Destin shares writing credits with Dave Callaham and Andrew Lanham. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings stars Simu Liu, Awkwafina and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung.