Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

November 15, 2021

I didn’t make it to the theater for this one, which is a bummer. I’m still deeply out of the habit of going to movies. I’ve missed so many, including the latest Bond. I’ve now missed two MCU films on the big screen. Still not sure I’m going to make it to Eternals, but I think I want to try. Ugh, things still feel so weird.

I have a very obnoxious one-line review for Shang-Chi: In a reversal of the usual pattern, an Asian hero who is the rightful heir to a mystical legacy travels to the West to learn the ancient art of… sarcasm.

Anyway. This movie is just fine. It’s really pretty. Great cast. Fantastic fight scenes. Chock full of Chinese lore that brought to mind the research I did for Kitty’s Big Trouble. (I’ll pass along one of my biggest sources because I suspect it was also a source for this, which is the Classic of Mountain and Seas. The secret village seems very much like something that would have been described in that work.) Yet another dead mother. *shrug*

I’m a little confused about the Ten Rings as a terrorist organization now, and how what we’ve learned about it here connects up with what we know from the Iron Man films. Because I gotta say I was really super into the idea that the Mandarin was invented to stereotypically conform to western fears about foreign threats—specifically designed to be a deconstruction of Orientalism, which was freaking brilliant. I think I conflated the Mandarin with the Ten Rings, while it’s more accurate to say the powers behind the Mandarin appropriated the Ten Rings, which it turns out is a real terrorist organization that’s been around for a thousand years? *recalculating, recalculating*

I’m not saying this is a bad thing, Just a bit confusing. Ultimately, it works because Shang-Chi really bought in to its own story. But I also get the feeling that the MCU kind of doesn’t really know what to do next, and is going to end up retconning a lot of what came before. And on that note we come to Eternals, a group of super-powerful people that we just never heard of until now?

Meanwhile, between this and Snake-Eyes, I propose we are entering an 80’s Ninja Aesthetic Revival that is long overdue.


3 Responses to “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

  1. Carbonman Says:

    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is my least favorite of the MCU movies. The final adversary was a real letdown. The action scenes were good but it doesn’t bode well for Eternals and future (Phase 4?) Marvel movies.
    All the creative and accessible entertainment effort seems to be going into the TV programming.

  2. Timothy A Schmidt Says:

    I haven’t seen “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” yet but I have seen “The Eternals”. I felt that the later was, a best, an ok movie; not terrible but not memorable either.
    Without giving to much away my problems with “The Eternals” are:
    1. There are 10 new characters none of whom can carry the movie.
    2. The bad guys are boring.
    3. Everyone important in the movie is an alien, Earth is just the battleground.
    The movie is pretty, like all Marvel movies, but ultimately not very satisfying (at least for me).

  3. Jared Moloshok Says:

    It was revealed back in the short “Hail to the King,” on the Thor 2 DVD, that there really was a Mandarin, and that he wasn’t happy with the way Killian and Trevor co-opted his name. I agree with you, though: disappointing.

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