I’m generally hyped for Marvel movies so I was pretty excited for this one even though I didn’t know anything about the character. While I do love Marvel, there are still a lot of characters I’m learning about or just learning of as I journey through the comics and movies! I was excited and had a really good time watching it, though the end credit scene left me with a few questions as the timeline for these movies and TV shows is starting to get a bit confusing. Overall, it’s a really great film!
The film begins with the real story of who the Mandarin is and how he came to power with the Ten Rings, then how he met his wife. This was a beautiful fight scene with incredible visuals and a silent story of romance. The story of the Mandarin was told in Chinese and many of the scenes featured the language, which I think is important to the characters and movies in general today. Flashbacks were weaved into the movie in a smooth and seamless way, fitting into the pacing/timing of the story well. They also developed the characters well with these flashbacks, showing the audience the different struggles Shang-Chi and his sister faced growing up.
Shang-Chi, or Shaun, and Katy were living fun lives as valets at a fancy hotel (restaurant?) and going out for fun nights with friends then karaoke. However, this all gets turned upside down when they’re attacked on the bus and Katy learns that Shaun can kick-ass. The entire thing is filmed by a vlogger (or general influencer) on his phone and he’s honestly the most relatable person in the scene. They head to China after that to find his sister who runs an underground fight ring and there are a few other characters featured. Wong and Abomination are fighting in the main ring (guess even the Sorcerer Supreme needs to blow off steam) and there is one of those weird fire people from Iron Man 3 in the smaller fights. After they fight, and Shang takes off his shirt, their father captures them and takes them all back to their home. Note: The fight scene on the bamboo scaffolding did cause some anxiety because the way they filmed it triggered my fear of heights.
Trevor Slattery, the fake Mandarin from Iron Man 3, returns and we learn that they keep him prisoner for entertainment. He also has a magical friend named Morris who helps them find the hidden city of Ta Lo where some of the creatures reminded me of pokemon (Nine Tails and Moltres). In Ta Lo they met their aunt and learned about their heritage. Something that threw me off though was how much the aunt knew about them. Their mother had not returned after leaving for love, and we knew nothing about them communicating, so this plot point needed more explanation.
After a great battle, a beautiful dragon, and the death of their father, the movie wraps up with Shang and Katy eating dinner with their friends and going on about the incredible journey they just went on. Their friends, however, don’t believe them until Wong shows up and pulls them away. The film has two end credit scenes: The first is Wong studying the rings with Shang, Katy, Bruce (who is human again?), and Captain Marvel. Supposedly the rings sent out an unknown message to someone or something. Then they go to karaoke! The second is Xi at the Ten Rings compound setting up her fight ring there, I think. I’m a bit confused about this though because I’m unclear on if the sister is the new head of the Ten Rings, if the organization is becoming something else, or if she’s just moving her fight ring there. Hopefully the next movie explains this!
All Hail the King Review: This is a Marvel short only available on Disney+ that shows Trevor getting taken from prison by the Ten Rings. Trevor is basically a celebrity in prison with a large following and is being interviewed by an undercover Ten Rings assassin who breaks him out to be killed (though we know this didn’t happen as explained in Shang-Chi). Trevor has a Captain America shield tattoo with the Avengers A in the center of it. He also has a really fancy prison room full of decor, posters, and various items he enjoys. It’s a pretty fun short and has its own mini end credit scene that features Hammer judging Trevor with his little prison boy toy. It’s hilarious and honestly fits his character perfectly.
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