Eternals Release Delay Reportedly Dependent on Shang-Chi Box Office Performance

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How to watch Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings?

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Mayim Bialik tapped as temporary 'Jeopardy!' host

KSL.com 25 August, 2021 - 02:01am

Mayim Bialik Set To Fill In As Host Of ‘Jeopardy!’

Screen Rant 25 August, 2021 - 02:01am

Is Marvel's New Movie 'Shang-Chi' Worth Seeing? Here's What The Reviews Are Saying - Digg

digg.com 25 August, 2021 - 02:01am

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Marvel's latest superhero origin story centers on a young man battling the legacy of his father, a legendary crime lord possessed of godlike strength and immortality […] Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is the son of an immortal crime lord (Tony Leung), who's rejected his father's empire for a simpler and less murderous life parking cars for a ritzy San Francisco hotel.

The film follows the titular character (played by Simu Liu), a Chinese American millennial who must confront his past to fulfill his destiny. When we meet him, he's a valet driver in San Francisco, California, working alongside his carefree bestie Katy (Awkwafina). He's kept his martial arts skills hidden until now, but Shang-Chi has secrets — family secrets that date back a thousand years. Our hero begins a journey of self-discovery in Macau after receiving a mysterious letter from his sister, Xiaoling (newcomer Meng'er Zhang) about their common enemy: their father Wenwu (Tony Leung), also known as "The Mandarin" (a name already familiar to MCU fans).

The cast is incredibly well-rounded — each actor brings something unique to the table. Leung gives the film a deep sense of gravity (if you've seen his previous work you'll know that he tends to have this effect on the movies he's in), and his machismo is balanced out by Chen, who exudes the kind of warmth and inner-strength that only mothers possess. Michelle Yeoh, like Leung, is seemingly ageless and brings a measure of legitimacy to the proceedings as Shang-Chi's aunt. Liu and Awkwafina are fine onscreen partners as well, with the latter's explosive personality serving as a nice counterbalance to Liu's pathos.

At its heart, "Shang-Chi" is not a story of heroes and villains, but a family drama concerned with three people coming to terms with long-suppressed anger and grief. Director Destin Daniel Cretton ("Short Term 12," "Just Mercy"), who co-wrote the script alongside Dave Callaham and Andrew Lanham, unspools this drama tenderly and with plenty of humor — anchored by a tremendous performance from Tony Leung, who brings a level of subtle humanity to every moment he's on screen.

In some ways, "Shang-Chi" is a mixtape of martial-arts movie genres: an early scene pays tribute to the balletic, graceful films of Zhang Yimou, while a dramatic bus chase later on apes the derring-do of an early Jackie Chan vehicle.

"Shang-Chi" looks and sounds like no other Marvel movie, and not just because of its mostly Chinese setting and cast, the martial-arts action and the large amount of Chinese dialogue. It is, at heart, a kung fu movie, albeit a 21st-century version of one, characterized less by Lee's old-school punches and kicks than by the enhanced, physics-defying Wuxia techniques that can only be performed with wires and trampolines.

The only time the fights drag are when CGI enters the picture, and like "Black Widow" earlier this year, the CGI seems to get in the way, feeling goofy and looking silly after we just watched Shang-Chi battle ninjas across the sides of buildings. Marvel's come to be emblematic of a kind of glossy modern action aesthetic that leans on cartoonish CGI when practical would have done it better, but "Shang-Chi" is the first time I felt truly disappointed by its appearance instead of just a little annoyed.

The film's final battle turns into more of a visual effects-driven mess, unfortunately. It lacks the tactility and weight of the earlier fight scenes, and while from an art-design standpoint the environments and characters in the final act look incredible, when the action gets hectic and the camera starts shaking uncontrollably, it becomes a distraction.

"Shang-Chi" seems driven by an apparent top-down directive to fortify a new class of mystical superheroes while sticking to Marvel's guns of inclusion and fully rounded character development. The result is good news for anyone looking for a mix of refreshing surprises and comfort food in their superhero tentpole films. Plus, this superhero big screen debut delivers enough "holy whoa" moments to make any viewer feel like a kid again.

"Shang-Chi," directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, attempts to shake up the Marvel formula by infusing it with martial-arts action and fairy-tale fantasy and grounding it in Chinese and Asian American culture. And while its disparate elements don't meld together as smoothly as they should, they do, in the end, add up to a superhero movie fresh and fun enough to feel worth a spin.

While the original comics depicted Fu Man Chu as Shang-Chi's father, the film thankfully scraps the racial stereotype and presents a complex — even sympathetic — villain in Wenwu. This is also a huge improvement to the whitewashed casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in "Doctor Strange." Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has since acknowledged the casting of Swinton as a mistake while prioritizing more respectful adaptations from now on. 

When "Shang-Chi" owns its place in the Marvel universe, it's more interested in retcons than future developments. The film massages prior plot points from the Iron Man films regarding the Ten Rings terrorist organization and its puppet leader, The Mandarin. It develops a cohesive new status quo that mocks the racist stereotypes of the source material, while providing a new and less problematic way forward.

Strip away all that glossy superhero magic, and the film reveals itself to be the achingly familiar tale of a child figuring out how to bridge the gap between his parents' values and expectations and his own — in the same way that "Shang-Chi" itself tries to remix old tropes with new perspectives. It doesn't always succeed with flying colors. But as with a young hero still finding his footing, its valiant efforts feel worth cheering all the same.

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Is Marvel's New Movie 'Shang-Chi' Worth Seeing? Here's What The Reviews Are Saying - Digg

Superherohype.com 25 August, 2021 - 02:01am

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Marvel's latest superhero origin story centers on a young man battling the legacy of his father, a legendary crime lord possessed of godlike strength and immortality […] Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is the son of an immortal crime lord (Tony Leung), who's rejected his father's empire for a simpler and less murderous life parking cars for a ritzy San Francisco hotel.

The film follows the titular character (played by Simu Liu), a Chinese American millennial who must confront his past to fulfill his destiny. When we meet him, he's a valet driver in San Francisco, California, working alongside his carefree bestie Katy (Awkwafina). He's kept his martial arts skills hidden until now, but Shang-Chi has secrets — family secrets that date back a thousand years. Our hero begins a journey of self-discovery in Macau after receiving a mysterious letter from his sister, Xiaoling (newcomer Meng'er Zhang) about their common enemy: their father Wenwu (Tony Leung), also known as "The Mandarin" (a name already familiar to MCU fans).

The cast is incredibly well-rounded — each actor brings something unique to the table. Leung gives the film a deep sense of gravity (if you've seen his previous work you'll know that he tends to have this effect on the movies he's in), and his machismo is balanced out by Chen, who exudes the kind of warmth and inner-strength that only mothers possess. Michelle Yeoh, like Leung, is seemingly ageless and brings a measure of legitimacy to the proceedings as Shang-Chi's aunt. Liu and Awkwafina are fine onscreen partners as well, with the latter's explosive personality serving as a nice counterbalance to Liu's pathos.

At its heart, "Shang-Chi" is not a story of heroes and villains, but a family drama concerned with three people coming to terms with long-suppressed anger and grief. Director Destin Daniel Cretton ("Short Term 12," "Just Mercy"), who co-wrote the script alongside Dave Callaham and Andrew Lanham, unspools this drama tenderly and with plenty of humor — anchored by a tremendous performance from Tony Leung, who brings a level of subtle humanity to every moment he's on screen.

In some ways, "Shang-Chi" is a mixtape of martial-arts movie genres: an early scene pays tribute to the balletic, graceful films of Zhang Yimou, while a dramatic bus chase later on apes the derring-do of an early Jackie Chan vehicle.

"Shang-Chi" looks and sounds like no other Marvel movie, and not just because of its mostly Chinese setting and cast, the martial-arts action and the large amount of Chinese dialogue. It is, at heart, a kung fu movie, albeit a 21st-century version of one, characterized less by Lee's old-school punches and kicks than by the enhanced, physics-defying Wuxia techniques that can only be performed with wires and trampolines.

The only time the fights drag are when CGI enters the picture, and like "Black Widow" earlier this year, the CGI seems to get in the way, feeling goofy and looking silly after we just watched Shang-Chi battle ninjas across the sides of buildings. Marvel's come to be emblematic of a kind of glossy modern action aesthetic that leans on cartoonish CGI when practical would have done it better, but "Shang-Chi" is the first time I felt truly disappointed by its appearance instead of just a little annoyed.

The film's final battle turns into more of a visual effects-driven mess, unfortunately. It lacks the tactility and weight of the earlier fight scenes, and while from an art-design standpoint the environments and characters in the final act look incredible, when the action gets hectic and the camera starts shaking uncontrollably, it becomes a distraction.

"Shang-Chi" seems driven by an apparent top-down directive to fortify a new class of mystical superheroes while sticking to Marvel's guns of inclusion and fully rounded character development. The result is good news for anyone looking for a mix of refreshing surprises and comfort food in their superhero tentpole films. Plus, this superhero big screen debut delivers enough "holy whoa" moments to make any viewer feel like a kid again.

"Shang-Chi," directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, attempts to shake up the Marvel formula by infusing it with martial-arts action and fairy-tale fantasy and grounding it in Chinese and Asian American culture. And while its disparate elements don't meld together as smoothly as they should, they do, in the end, add up to a superhero movie fresh and fun enough to feel worth a spin.

While the original comics depicted Fu Man Chu as Shang-Chi's father, the film thankfully scraps the racial stereotype and presents a complex — even sympathetic — villain in Wenwu. This is also a huge improvement to the whitewashed casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in "Doctor Strange." Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has since acknowledged the casting of Swinton as a mistake while prioritizing more respectful adaptations from now on. 

When "Shang-Chi" owns its place in the Marvel universe, it's more interested in retcons than future developments. The film massages prior plot points from the Iron Man films regarding the Ten Rings terrorist organization and its puppet leader, The Mandarin. It develops a cohesive new status quo that mocks the racist stereotypes of the source material, while providing a new and less problematic way forward.

Strip away all that glossy superhero magic, and the film reveals itself to be the achingly familiar tale of a child figuring out how to bridge the gap between his parents' values and expectations and his own — in the same way that "Shang-Chi" itself tries to remix old tropes with new perspectives. It doesn't always succeed with flying colors. But as with a young hero still finding his footing, its valiant efforts feel worth cheering all the same.

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10 Most Anticipated 2021 Blockbusters That Are Still On The Way

Screen Rant 24 August, 2021 - 07:00pm

Given theater closures and the movie industry more general inability to function normally throughout COVID-19, many of these blockbusters have had their release dates pushed back time and time again. With some theaters now re-opening where it is safe to do so, alongside (in some cases) simultaneous releases on streaming services, the movie-going experience is slowly returning.

The film follows Shang-Chi's (Simu Liu) dealings with the Ten Rings, and a part of his life resurfacing that he thought was over. With a fantastic cast and many MCU theories based on the trailer alone further exciting fans, it's sure to follow Marvel's tradition of success and popularity.

Amongst those joining Bond are returning staples Q (Ben Whishaw), M (Ralph Fiennes), and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), whilst Craig's Knives Out co-star Ana de Armas joins the cast as a CIA agent.

Harrelson debuted as the character in Venom's mid-credit scene, and given the delay the sequel's release has had, it's been a long three years for fans waiting to see Carnage in all his glory. Additionally, Anne (Michelle Williams), is reprising her role from the first film, and Naomie Harris is joining the cast as Kasady's love interest.

The story features an ensemble cast, following Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), and his parents Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) as they take over supervision of the planet Arrakis, nicknamed Dune. With actors Zendaya and Jason Momoa also starring, the cast is packed with faces from many familiar franchises.

Thanks to Academy Award winner Chloé Zhao's sure-to-be daring direction and the towering talents of the film's ensemble cast (featuring Game of Thrones stars Kit Harrington and Richard Madden and Maleficent's Angelina Jolie, among others), anticipation from Marvel fans is through the roof.

Set to focus on Egon Spengler's (Harold Ramis) grandchildren Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) discovering his legacy with the help of their teacher Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd),  Afterlife is sure to be full of nostalgia, and plenty of unexplained phenomena.

Set in Colombia, Encanto follows the Madrigal family, each of whom have magical powers save for Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz). When their magic is threatened, though, Mirabel is charged with saving it. Featuring original songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the newest Disney animation looks full of wonder.

Directed by none other than Steven Spielberg in what is his first musical project, Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria's (Rachel Zegler) fated love story is set in 1950's New York City. Interestingly, iconic actress Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the 1961 adaptation is returning to play Valentina, whilst also serving as an executive producer.

Additionally, No Way Home is bringing in Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) ahead of his solo sequel Multiverse of Madness, releasing early next year. Perhaps most exciting though, are the returns of Jamie Foxx as Electro (from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014), and Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus, from 2004's Spider-Man 2and the implications such reprisals have for the MCU.

Also returning behind the scenes is director, writer, and producer Lana Wachowski, though this time without her sister Lilly. Newcomers to the franchise include actors Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris and Priyanka Chopra, in currently undisclosed roles.

‘Shang-Chi’ Star Awkwafina on Her Key Role During Casting of Simu Liu’s Superhero

Hollywood Reporter 24 August, 2021 - 05:58pm

By Brian Davids

“All I knew on that day was that I was a part of finding Shang-Chi. So I just wanted to do just that,” Awkwafina tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I wanted to come in, do my part, not be distracting and let these actors give probably one of the most important auditions of their lives at that point. So I just wanted to blend in and help them showcase what they could do. But I remember testing with Simu that day, and he was nervous. I was nervous, too. I was like, ‘I hope I don’t get fired in the process of chemistry reading,’ but it was apparent that he was Shang-Chi from the jump.”

At the start of the film, Katy and Shaun work as parking valets for a San Francisco hotel, where they opt to go on a joyride together in someone else’s car. Such behavior seems all too routine for the duo, as does their attendance at a karaoke bar. While Katy is highly educated, she seems to have difficulty committing to a path, at least until she joins Shaun on his globetrotting journey.

“Well, I think it’s a conundrum that a lot of Asian Americans find themselves going through,” Awkwafina explains. “It’s a mixture of, ‘What do I want to do? What am I supposed to be doing? What do my parents want me to be doing? What does the world want me to be doing?’ So I think her conflict is very relatable in that way, but it’s also a lot different than Shaun’s. And I think that she does learn a lot about herself through this journey that he then takes her on, specifically about the world being bigger and that you have to do things for yourself.”

In a recent conversation with THR, Awkwafina also looks back at working with Sir Ben Kingsley and marveling over Shang-Chi‘s impressive action sequences. Then she addresses the status of the Crazy Rich Asians sequel, as well as her upcoming voice role in Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid.

Yeah, I think we definitely did. Destin and I talked about Katy and pretty much everything about her: her wants, her flaws, the things she wants to change about her life. That’s what makes for a really strong character. The core of it, though, is really her relationship with Shaun and how she supports him. I think that says a lot about her.

Well, I think it’s a conundrum that a lot of Asian Americans find themselves going through. It’s a mixture of, “What do I want to do? What am I supposed to be doing? What do my parents want me to be doing? What does the world want me to be doing?” So I think her conflict is very relatable in that way, but it’s also a lot different than Shaun’s. And I think that she does learn a lot about herself through this journey that he then takes her on, specifically about the world being bigger and that you have to do things for yourself. So there are going to be things about yourself that you’re not going to like or want to change.

I didn’t even know that was a thing. Platonic friendships like theirs are totally doable. I didn’t even know it was a rule that they were impossible. I’ve had tons of friends that are guys, and some of my best friends in real life are guys. So in that way, it was really easy to approach. What might have been harder was approaching it with a love perspective, simply because he’s going through a lot and the last thing he needs is to take on this neurotic girlfriend who knows nothing about moving through this world. So I think it makes perfect sense where they’re at, and even if their relationship were to extend into a romantic one, it would still be rooted in the strength of their friendship.

I mean, yeah! But I don’t think I came close to how epic her performance was in that. Sometimes, I felt like I was really just driving along, but that bus sequence was insane to watch and be a part of. Obviously, I was doing my thing, but every so often while we were shooting, I would look in the mirror and see Florian [Munteanu], Simu or any number of guys doing the most insane things, suspended in the air on a giant gimbal. I’ve said that it was really good acting on my part in that any awe or fear was probably real, because we were really moving and I wasn’t anticipating any of that. So it was a really bonkers and really complicated sequence to shoot, and I have to give it up to them for getting through it.

(Laughs.) Yes, I’ll just show them that clip.

All I knew on that day was that I was a part of finding Shang-Chi. So I just wanted to do just that. I wanted to come in, do my part, not be distracting and let these actors give probably one of the most important auditions of their lives at that point. So I just wanted to blend in and help them showcase what they could do. But I remember testing with Simu that day, and he was nervous. I was nervous, too. I was like, “I hope I don’t get fired in the process of chemistry reading,” but it was apparent that he was Shang-Chi from the jump.

Oh man, I don’t think I can go into strict detail.

I think it’s all about context. When you come on to an action movie, especially one at this scale, you don’t often expect to do as much character work as Destin is willing to do at any time. And this is not Destin being like, “OK, we’re going to do character work for 8 hours now.” This is like us having questions, and Destin being like, “You know what? I don’t mind working with you on this right now. We’re going to figure it out and that’s what we’re going to do.” I’ve worked with amazing directors that have done performance directing, sure, but Destin’s whole approach to it, for the context, was very different. He really puts a lot of trust in his actors, but he can also read his actors well. So if we’re in conflict about where we’re going to go or if we don’t feel comfortable to take a chance, he was always really good at reading that in us. He would come up to us and say, “Just do it. If that’s what you want to do, just do it.” So it was special.

I mean, it depends on your definition. (Laughs.) I worked at an air conditioning company. I worked at a vegan bodega. I worked at a real estate company of a family friend for a day. So I pretty much did everything under the sun. I was a waitress once, and I spilled hot sake on a woman. She was being nice because she was on a date, but as I walked away, she was like, “God, I’ve had such horrible waitresses in New York City.” And I’m still mentally recovering from that.

Oh, that’s okay! (Laughs.)

Yeah, but just because I’ve sang it so many times. It’s effortless. I could probably sing it with strep throat at this point, but no one wants to hear that — again. (Laughs.) But I could just sing it at any point, and that’s really the secret to karaoke. If you really want to wow people at karaoke, what you have to do is pick three songs and just practice them until you know them insanely well. And when you go to a birthday party or a karaoke bar, just whip one out like someone randomly asked you to do it and you don’t even know the song. So that’s the trick to karaoke.

(Laughs.) Uh, no! I have no idea, but obviously, I think we’d all agree that we’d love to reunite again.

(Laughs.) Yes, it’s weird in a good but nerve-wracking way. When you’re in a scene with Sir Ben, you’re witnessing true power as an actor. He’s definitely one of my favorite actors, and just to see his comedic timing as Trevor was so amazing to watch. Every time he did his opening bit, I was blown away. So you don’t ever really get used to sitting in a car with Ben Kingsley.

Yes, lots of dangling! (Laughs.) I thought, “When we shoot this, it’ll be on the floor and it’ll just be a couple pieces.” But it was full scaffolding! We were pretty high up, and I did some stunts in that sequence. I fell and did a lot of pole work. I would come in and be like, “Hey guys, I’m going to do some pole work today,” and people stopped finding that funny immediately. But I would literally look up and see the rest of the actors in the scene just killing it up there and going crazy. It’s really insane to know how much was really practical and how much was being done in front of you.

I don’t know! I can only assume that they want to get it right, and that they’re trying everything they can. But we’re all in contact; we just don’t know any specifics.

No, I haven’t. I know that they wrapped recently, which is awesome for them. So I haven’t heard much, but I know that that’s coming, too. So I’m excited to see what they ended up doing.

We don’t really trade ideas, but I’d love the chance to work with her again. I know that she’s very busy; she’s working on a project right now. But I’m always open to that.

Yeah, the Ocean’s Eight group text kicks once in a while, but that was once a pretty epic cast group chat.

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Shang-Chi review: Fresh enough to forget it's a Marvel movie

CNET 24 August, 2021 - 05:11pm

There was a point in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings when I forgot I was watching a Marvel movie. It seems strange to say that one of this latest Marvel flick's biggest strengths is how un-Marvel it is, but maybe it's fitting that a film about conflicting identity has a dual identity of its own. Because from opening battle to inevitable post-credits scene, Shang-Chi is filled with Marvel strengths and weaknesses while also feeling like something winningly new.

Unlike July's Black Widow, this latest Marvel adventure won't stream on Disney Plus (at least until October). Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premieres on Sept. 3, only in theaters. Check your local guidance and follow COVID precautions to safeguard your health if you're considering seeing this or any any film at a theater.

Entertain your brain with the coolest news from streaming to superheroes, memes to video games.

Simu Liu plays Shaun, a lovable goof wasting his life in San Francisco parking cars and doing karaoke with his buddy Katy, played by Awkwafina. Except his name is really Shang-Chi and he's actually trained to be an assassin by his millennia-old warlord father, who shows up with a plan to conquer a magical village hidden deep in a Chinese forest.

The film is carried by Hong Kong cinema legend Tony Leung as Wenwu, patriarch to both Shang-Chi and a shadowy ninja army. Leung is hugely compelling as a villain who's by turns steely or romantic, loving or vengeance-driven. Wenwu is one of the most nuanced and intriguing antagonists of any recent blockbuster, let alone the Marvel franchise.

I partly forgot Shang-Chi was part of the Disney-owned comic book-based franchise because of how little it relies on connection to the wider MCU. Even when Marvel previously introduced new characters to the big screen, like Black Panther, Ant-Man or the MCU version of Spider-Man, they tended to overlap with other films. Though that's fun in its own way, it's really refreshing to watch a film stand entirely on its own two feet, without viewers having to remember other films -- and yes, I appreciate that's a low bar, but hey, that's the sequel/spin-off/reboot culture we live in.

OK, so there are nods to the earlier MCU. Without going into spoilers, these nods are OK because you don't have to remember a complicated backstory, they make narrative sense, and most importantly they're funny.

But as well as resting the big-name Avengers, the film itself is visually and narratively distinct from the rest of the franchise. Shang-Chi is Marvel's first Asian lead, and the style of the film draws on the rich history of Asian cinema, from martial arts movies to gangster films to romance, and in particular the lush visual and emotional style of wuxia epics. Like recent Disney Plus shows WandaVision and Loki, Shang-Chi's greatest strength is its power to surprise. Drawing on the superhero-style myths and legends of a new culture gives the Legend of the Ten Rings a freshness missing from more familiar fare like Black Widow. 

From the moment Shang-Chi first busts out his martial arts skills on board a runaway bus, the Legend of the Ten Rings is all about the action. The fight scenes were coordinated by the late Brad Allan, a frequent collaborator with Jackie Chan, and the set piece punch-ups brim with a zest all too rarely seen in Hollywood blockbusters. Each character and each fight has a personality expressed through a style of fighting. In fact, the hero's personal growth is symbolized by his changing fighting style, a deft and satisfying piece of visual storytelling.

At the same time, Shang-Chi is very much a Marvel movie, which is both good and bad. If you thought Black Widow's much-anticipated villain Taskmaster turned out to be an anticlimax, wait till you meet Shang-Chi's desperately uncharismatic and undercooked bad guys (except Leung, of course).

Visually, when it isn't drawing on the vibrant style of Chinese cinema, the cinematography suffers the same blandness that afflicts all Marvel films. And the use of computer-generated imagery adds fluorescent flair but also leads to a sort of visual numbness. Sure, it's fine to bring mythical creatures and fancy superpowers to life with computer generated animation, but when even the background is clearly CG, it takes away from the impact of the action. There are moments where characters are just chatting in a field, and the field clearly isn't real. The finale in particular is overreliant on a CG light show and goes on too long.

And when the grandstanding fights take place against the cartoonish sheen of CG backgrounds, it mutes the skill and athleticism of the performers. As much fun as the fights are, they can't match the gasp or wince-inducing wallop of Jackie Chan fight scenes, in which you know the star and stunt performers really are leaping around a moving vehicle or the side of a building.

But Marvels' strengths are also in full effect. The film is very funny, with Awkwafina and various other guest stars stealing almost every scene. And the film buys itself license to employ familiar or overserious genre conventions (like portentous voice-overs) by also gently poking fun at them.

Above all, the film is driven by engaging characters. The MCU has rarely dealt with the superhero genre staple of secret identity (except, it seems, in the forthcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home), but Shang-Chi recontextualizes the challenges of living two different versions of yourself through the lens of Asian-American experience. In the hands of director Destin Daniel Cretton, The Legend of the Ten Rings mindfully corrects past failings of representation by Marvel and offers a depiction of Chinese family and culture that viewers from Asian backgrounds are hailing for its warmth and authenticity (check out reviews by Asian and POC critics at IO9, Moviemarker, Geeks of Color and more).

The character dynamics leave Simu Liu in a tough spot, however. Leung is an unbeatable actor, Awkwafina is funnier, Meng'er Zhang has a more compelling emotional conflict as Shang-Chi's sister, and Michelle Yeoh is simply more coolly charismatic. A surplus of flashbacks and voice-overs mean Liu himself fades from the spotlight for stretches at a time. Fortunately he's pretty charming (and looks great with his shirt off) as the ass-kicking lunk wandering wide-eyed into MCU leading man status. In his first adventure, you might forget you're watching a Marvel movie, but Shang-Chi is destined to be a memorable part of the Marvel myth.

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