The film is the 25th instalment in the MCU. Feel old yet? In the film, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is forced to confront his past when his father Wenwu (Tony Leung), the leader of the Ten Rings organisation, draws Shang-Chi and his sister Xialing (Menger Zhang) into a search for a mythical village. I really liked this movie. I did not expect a lot going into it because I thought it might be another cash grab by Marvel, and man was I wrong. This is Marvel at its best. The MCU has had pretty good standalone movies usually, but after watching Captain Marvel, I was a bit wary of the future. Also, I had seen Black Widow and found it to be average. I thought they'd lost their charm. And even if they had, they have definitely restored it with Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.
Let me say right off the bat, this film looks gorgeous. I know it's kind of obvious, what with it being a Marvel film and all, but the visuals are really impressive here. The martial arts sequences throughout the movie are beautifully executed, the slow motion scenes are perfectly handled, and the direction by Destin Daniel Cretton is amazing. He has also directed Just Mercy, which is also a film that I found very interesting – I hope this being a MCU film, increases his opportunities of showcasing his talent. The cinematography is so well-handled, and if it wasn't obvious already, this is definitely a movie to be experienced in a theatre. The score is solid, and so is the acting by pretty much the whole cast. No one stands out, but there are no bad performances. Overall, the conversations and dialogues between characters are well written too.
One thing I will say is that I wanted the battle and fight scenes to have blood and gore, cause there was almost none. I get that they had to make it age appropriate for the censors, but a little more brutality would've made the sequences flawless. At times, the film does fall into some typical Marvel area, but that's okay when it's shown in an engaging manner. I'm glad to report that it is. Again, Shang Chi doesn't change the Marvel formula altogether, but it's nice to see a well-made film that doesn't spend half the runtime building up the next instalment of the franchise.
I've praised this movie a lot, and I definitely think it deserves the praise. It is still a Marvel movie at its core, but of the highest order. A strong standalone superhero film. I'd maybe even put this one on par with Black Panther. And this is obvious, but do stick around for the post credit scenes. They are definitely worth it. Marvel's on the right track with this one.