Jackie Chan-Esque fight sequences meet with beings with apocalyptic potential in Marvel's newest film. A goofy sidekick, a scary sister, and tasteful use of Chinese culture make for a must-watch movie.
By Benjamin Noel
In a post-Endgame Marvel Universe, there seems to be no need for new heroes. Falcon and the Winter Soldier made short work of the Flag-Smashers, an organization that sought to destroy borders. The Scarlet Witch came to terms with the reality of her loss and moved on from her grief-fueled alternative reality. But none of these heroes could fathom, much less overcome, the threats of 3000-year-old evil powers locked in a realm not accessible to the outside world.
A normal valet, Sean, lives in San Francisco, parking cars by day and spending nights at karaoke bars with his friend Katy, played by Akwafina, until they pass out early in the morning. Sean speaks multiple languages and Katy has an honors degree from Berkeley, but neither seems to have a direction in life. That is until Sean is jumped by a group of thugs surprisingly well trained in martial arts.
He takes them on in a fight scene that is reminiscent of the action in Rush Hour with a few twists. And that’s when we learn that Sean is really Shang-Chi. Who woulda thought? We learn that he is no ordinary man, nor is he a superhero. His skills have come from a lifetime of training and dedication to honing his mind and body. That’s what makes this film different from most other comic book movies. The world did not fall in Shang-Chi’s lap, no, he bled, sweat, and cried for every last bit of strength, skill, and knowledge he possesses. And his lifetime of training, along with certain family ties, thrust him into the center of a world-ending threat that he must take down.
I highly recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of 80s and 90s martial arts movies. The action in this film did not disappoint, and it had the best fight scenes of all the Marvel movies I’ve seen. The choreography, the creativity, and the well-balanced opponents in every fight scene made me jump up in my seat in anticipation, a feat that only a few martial arts movies have accomplished.
There are no preset winners in any of these fights, there is no Hulk to smash around Loki, and every match-up could have gone either way. Also, if you were a fan of Black Panther and Wakanda, this movie is for you. In Shang-Chi we visit another realm that was able to prosper without contact from the advancements of outside modern technology. The fights and the lore within this movie made it worth the watch. You don’t need to have seen any other Marvel movie to watch this one, but if you have, be prepared for a couple of cameos from characters from previous movies, dating back to Iron Man III.
Overall this movie was a great stand-alone film in the Marvel Universe, but it’s not a reach to say we’ll be seeing Shang and his friends again very soon. So buy your tickets and strap in for two hours of action, comedy, and ancient lore. You won’t be disappointed.
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Ryan Ford '23,