Vampire Owl: Let me know when Marvel has actually finished with the superheroes.
Vampire Bat: You do think that it is a possibility?
Vampire Owl: Yes, everything comes to an end, in one way or the other.
Vampire Bat: Not everything. We are immortals, so you should know.
Vampire Owl: Marvel is not immortal. There are no vampires among them.
Vampire Bat: There are vampiric superheroes and villains though.
Vampire Owl: But they are not real, you know.
Vampire Bat: They don’t consider us as real either.
Vampire Owl: Who cares about the evil humans think about?
Vampire Bat: We should care about them as they possess the evil of science, and sooner or later, they will come to get us through that portal on the north.
[Gets an onion vada and three cups of cardamom tea].
What is the movie about? :: Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung) had discovered the mystical power of ten rings which granted immortality and the strength resembling a god. He could have used these powers for the good, but instead had chosen to get richer and even stronger, being left with almost nothing to conquer as he had all nations under his control directly or indirectly, within a few years. Later in the 1990s, he travels to a magical forest, which he also required to be in his control. Therem he is stopped by the guardian of the forest, Ying Li (Fala Chen), who stops him, and the two ends up falling in love. As he is not accepted in the village, the two leaves the village and returns to the city. Back to the present, Xu Shang-Chi a.k.a. Shaun (Simu Liu) has grown up, and is best friends with Katy (Awkwafina), both now living carefree life at San Francisco in the United States. They do valet parking for a living, and Shaun doesn’t want to remember much of his martial arts training of early childhood as things seem to go in a natural way in the city.
So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, he is attacked by a group of assassins on a bus. The attackers take his pendant, and he does feel that he need to find his sister, Xu Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), and save her. Even though he decides to run away soon, Katy manages to convince him and accompany him on the journey after the awakening on a darker past. As he reaches the place where Xu is staying, she turns out to be a thankless moron of a sister, who forces him into a battle with her, which she cheats to win. She also abandons him to fight on his own, until she finally has a change of heart to become less of a deserter. Now, it seems that it was their father who had sent these people to take the two pendants, which he wants to use for some strange and evil plan. But Xu is that kind of a person who feels that she will build her own empire that rivals her father’s, and Shaun would be caught between the two, not looking forward to goodness in anyway.
And what more is to be added to this world of possible chaos and destruction? :: It doesn’t matter how much they fight, as the father finally returns to take them to their original home, and make his son the grand successor, and the holder of the ten rings. Wenwu who wishes to reunite the family again, uses the pendants to bring to life, a magical map leading to that old, enchanted forest – Ta Lo. He tells them that he feels that he could hear his wife calling from the village where he has been held captive. He intends to make them release her, or he will burn the village to the ground. But the two children don’t really have anything to do with it, and they are locked up in the dungeons. There, they meet a former actor who was imprisoned for impersonating Wenwu. There, they find a possibility for some future plans, as there is a magical creature which can lead them to the magical forest through an easier path, which is a little bit too dangerous though. Can they get there before the evil father does?
The defence of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings :: There is a lot of action around here, as one would expect from a movie like this. The same is nicely supported by the visuals and the special effects contribute very well. The final battle with the dragon is so much full of grandeur. There are also some nice details with the magical world and the fantasy creatures present in the village which has all the most beautiful secrets that we find around on the screen. It is the kind of mythological and magical world which we connect with the medieval model with castles and dungeons like so many of the films from Hollywood have done so far. This is the divergent one in that case, and we never really have enough of this. Well, the world surely needs to be different in each and every case, and that would provide us with the feeling of seeing a different civilization every time with its own attributes in Age of Empires and its sequels, or different magical races in Age of Wonders and its sequels. Nowadays, globalization has brought too many similarities, making landscapes looking so similar to each other.
Positives and negatives :: As this movie is releasing rather late in comparison with the others, one can be sure that there are indeed repetitions which are to be found around here, even though there is a certain flavour added which makes them feel somewhat new. Yet, a little predictability will provide some resistance and won’t go away at all. There is always something about different worlds coming together, and evil trying to get into another realm to capture it – the same has been the idea of so many wonderful video games too. The father-son battle is also a usual thing, and even though repetitive as it is, there is something divergent about it for sure. Simu Liu nicely becomes the fine protagonist that we have all wanted around here, and Awkwafina as well as Meng’er Zhang comes up with some fine support in the process. Tony Leung makes a strong villain too, and he surely has more than what meets the eye. Florian Munteanu as Razor Fist also has his moments, and so do Michelle Yeoh and Fala Chen as the fighter motherly figures.
How it finishes :: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings keeps on moving the Marvel Cinematic Universe straight forward after Infinity War and Endgame provided us with what seemed to be a grand end. There is the feeling of something more magical about this particular movie than any other in the franchise, maybe with the one exception of Doctor Strange, which was all so much of magic and sorcery. You can only enjoy the beauty created by magic around here, instead of the science that has run through Avengers all the time and begged for attention. It is always nice to see magic having the upper hand over science, which has been all about war, death and terror. After all, the Corona virus is also a product of science, and we have failed to stop it completely. The mythology of the Dark Gate and The Great Protector told in this movie also further helps in understanding the terrible nature of humanity, and how the whole world should be a better place without their ambitions and hatred that always prevails.
Release date: 3rd September 2021
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton
Starring: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, Tony Leung
<<< Click here to go to the previous review.
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.