By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe expands its world further to include a back story that it has only been previously touched upon, but now finally explains its true origins. In previous films, Iron Man and Iron Man III, the legend of The Mandarin and the Ten Rings has been played with and has baited comic fans with its realization. This film finally clarifies these characters and their place in the MCU in ways that are both extraordinary and compelling. Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings delivers an MCU installment that is both a spellbinding tale and has some top notch action and thrills that wil keep comic fans pleased.

Long ago, a man named Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung) discovers the Ten Rings, which grant him great powers and immortality. Using them, he eventually builds an organization of warriors called The Ten Rings that he utilizes to further build his power. Many years later, after discovering and losing the love of his life, Wenwu continues to use his power for further domination in the world of crime and terrorism. His son Shang-Chi, knowing the power that his father wields escapes from home and flees to America. Now an adult, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and his best friend Katy (Awkwafina) live a mostly unassuming life in San Francisco. However, Xu Wenu sends his people to find his son and disturb the once peaceful life Shang-Chi has established for himself for so long.

Written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who co-wrote the film with Dave Callaham and Andrew Lanhan, Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings is an absolute delight when it comes to world building, incredible action, and clarifying story elements that have already been established in the MCU. With rich character development, a riveting story, and a wonderful realization of mytholgy, the movie delivers on so many levels. My only complaint that I have with this film has to do with the CGI used to present the magical moments and fantasy that the film demands. One would think that Disney and the MCU would have the budget and talent to pull off some of the visual effects and CGI that this movie requires. Unfortunately, that is not the case here.

Nevertheless, I absolutelly enjoyed this movie. It features drama, action, and humor in all of the best ways. The entire cast performs well and helps realize characters that are relatable, potent, and entertaining. I left this screening much more excited than I had originally anticipated and feel that the producers behind the MCU are headed in some wonderful directions. This is definitely a movie that deserves to be experienced on the big screen, despite its weakness.

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