By: Ica Hontiveros-Cheng
As we slowly navigate through a life in the “new normal”, some semblance of our previous existence is slowly taking shape. After almost two years of being shut down, cinemas are opening and audiences can once again experience the joy of seeing movies the way that they were intended-on the biggest screen possible. All this of course, while safety protocols are being meticulously followed to ensure everyone’s health and well-being.
After the closure of cinemas at the start of the pandemic-for almost two years! Filipino fans have surely missed the awe and thrill of seeing an MCU film on the big screen, well, they are in luck because Shang-Chi: And the Legend of the Ten Rings which will be opening in local cinemas on November 24- demands to be seen on the big screen. From its elaborate fight scenes, which nods to films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and are inspired from action stars and icons Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, to an epic final battle that would be a shame if you missed seeing it in the cinemas with matching Dolby or Atmos sound system.
The film stars Kim’s Convenience star Simu Liu, as Shang-Chi, whom we meet as “Shaun” and works as a valet parking attendant. He spends his days, parking cars for a living and singing karaoke (how very Asian) with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina) at night. While the two best friends, contemplate on their life choices and what the future possibly holds for them, the past catches up to Shaun when trained killers try to take away a memento from his late mother. This culminates to one of the most exciting bus fight scenes in recent film history. For those of you, young enough to remember, that scene alone is like the whole Speed movie.
Recognizing the work of his father Wenwu (Tony Leung) Shaun goes into action, and is forced to come to terms with his strange and estranged family.
Taking many different names over the hundreds of years that he has existed, the Mandarin being one of them (remember Iron Man 3?) Wenwu is shown to have been the owner of the magical ten rings, that grants its user immortality, which explains why he has been around since ancient times. Aside from not aging, the ten rings is also an incredible weapon which can be used in vast ways.
In Wenwu’s continued search for power and magic, he came across the mystical village of Ta Lo, here, he falls in love with the skilled warrior Ying Li. For a time, there is peace and love in their family, they have two children but tragedy strikes and the family is broken and scattered, now Wenwu has come back to his children’s lives and both siblings agree that it can’t yield to anything good.
Despite being set in the same universe as the MCU (keep your eyes peeled for a couple of familiar faces) Shang-Chi takes liberties with its own mythologies, which are pretty much lifted and inspired from Asian stories, checking the representation box off the list. Much like, what Black Panther has done for African and African-American communities years ago, Shang-Chi is opening up the MCU for more Asian representation and Asian superheroes.
Unlike other MCU films, that have a clear antagonist, Shang-Chi is more of an elaborate family affair that has elements of magic and martial arts, but at its core, it all comes down to family, and what we sacrifice for them.
Get ready for some jaw-dropping martial-arts action and a great movie time at the cinemas when Shang-Chi opens on November 24! And of course, stay after the credits have rolled in.
MCU tip. If you have time, you might want to re-watch Iron Man 3 as a refresher on The Mandarin.
Would love to see your Shang-Chi posts and read your thoughts! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ShangChiPH when posting on social media. Finally! See you at the movies-at a socially acceptable distance in compliance with health protocols of course.