Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the second Marvel movie released since the pandemic began in 2020, and it shattered box offi ce records during its opening weekend.
The movie follows Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) as he faces off against the Ten Rings organization and reunites with both his family and his past.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and starring Simu Liu, Marvel’s first Asian lead, the fi lm brought in $71.4 million during opening weekend according to Variety, making it 2021’s second-biggest opening after Black Widow.
Additionally, according to the LA Times, it set a new record by a long shot for highest-grossing Labor Day weekend opening at over $90 million, a record previously held by Halloween (2007) with $30.6 million.
Besides its major box office winnings, Shang-Chi boasts a refreshingly interesting story. Although hints of Marvel’s usual formula are still noticeable, the fi lm’s plot is engaging and exciting in ways many other superhero movies are not.
Some of Shang- Chi’s greatest assets are its creative, invigorating fight scenes. It is Marvel’s first movie to include martial arts, and in one of the fi lm’s most thrilling tastes of action, Shang-Chi (Liu) showcases his impressive fighting skills for the first time as he single-handedly takes down a group of enemies on a moving bus.
The film features numerous other fight scenes that are equally as gripping, and they surprisingly do not feel too drawn out. Although there is a decent amount of CGI used during some of the fights, it does not feel excessive, and it never overshadows the heart of the action.
Another one of Shang-Chi’s strengths is its compelling characters. Shang-Chi himself is funny, likeable, and strong despite the hardships he went through in his childhood, and his emotions throughout the movie feel very real and relatable. Wenwu (Tony Leung), Shang-Chi’s father and the leader of the Ten Rings, is an interesting and complex villain, and his relationship with Shang-Chi’s mother Li (Fala Chen) makes the fi lm all the more interesting.
Shang-Chi’s emotional moments are captivating, but they are balanced out well by humor. The banter between Shang-Chi and his best friend Katy (Awkwafi na) is funny and entertaining, and along with the movie’s other hilarious moments, it gives it even more heart.
Marvel movies usually tie heavily into each other, and the plots rarely feel like they are their own entities. However, Shang-Chi is able to relate to previous installments in the franchise, such as with the appearance of Wong (Benedict Wong) from Doctor Strange, yet this origin story is also able to stand on its own and feel new.
These factors, as well as its stunning visuals and fantastic soundtrack, have made Shang-Chi a fi lm that deserves all the praise it is getting.
As the first Disney movie to be made solely available in theaters since Onward in March 2020, Shang-Chi’s success at the box office is a promising sign for the future of cinema and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.