Get excited: a new superhero is about to be launched into the universe. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings might be the 25th MCU film (!) but you don’t need to be a Marvel- aficionado to get excited by this one. Here’s why we’re pumped to see it on the big screen...
“A HERO THAT WALKS AND TALKS LIKE ME”Not only is Shang-Chi Marvel’s first Asian superhero, the film also has an Asian director, screenwriter and a predominantly Asian cast. “I haven’t seen a hero on screen that really walks and talks like me, dresses like me, listens to the music that me and my friends listen to; somebody truly Asian-American,” said director Destin Daniel Cretton. “And that was what was really exciting to me, to create something that just shows the Asian-American experience through the eyes of a budding superhero.”
THERE’S AN AMAZING STORY BEHIND SHANG-CHI’S CASTING...If you don’t ask, you don’t get — and that’s definitely true for Simu Liu, who plays Shang-Chi himself. Back in 2014 he tweeted: 'Hey @Marvel, great job with Cpt America and Thor. Now how about an Asian American hero?' When Marvel announced plans for Shang-Chi in 2018 Liu promptly tweeted them again, saying: 'Hey @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what? #ShangChi.'
Talk they did, and a few months later, while sat at home in his underwear, he got the call from Marvel boss Kevin Feige offering him the part. Judging by his tweets, he is pretty excited.
THE REST OF THE CAST ARE PRETTY EXCITING TOOIt’s a Crazy Rich Asians reunion for Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh. Awkwafina, who scooped a Golden Globe for her role in The Farewell, plays Shang-Chi’s best friend, Katy.
Meanwhile Yeoh, whose credits also include Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, plays the “guardian of a mythical city”. Mysterious.
THERE’S SERIOUS TALENT BEHIND THE CAMERAMarvel has form for picking interesting and visionary directors for their films — think Ryan Coogler with Black Panther, Taika Waititi with Thor: Ragnarok and recent Oscar winner Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) directing the upcoming Eternals. For Shang-Chi it’s Destin Daniel Cretton, the man behind indie film Short Term 12 and powerful true drama Just Mercy.
And you can bet there’ll be some seriously impressive big screen visuals with cinematographer Bill Pope on board — who has already worked his magic on some beautifully shot action films, including The Matrix trilogy, Baby Driver and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy.
PREPARE FOR SOME INTENSE FAMILY DRAMAYes there will be epic stunts, but you can expect a super emotional story too. Shang-Chi is a martial arts master and son of the villainous The Mandarin, who heads up criminal organisation the Ten Rings. He trained his son to be his predecessor — but Shang-Chi wants nothing to do with his dad’s dodgy dealings and has scarpered for a simpler life in San Francisco. But in true superhero style, he can’t escape his past.
In auditions the director got actors to read monologues from Good Will Hunting because he thought the characters of Will and Shang-Chi share a “mixture of masculinity and vulnerability” and “a secret and a superpower that he doesn't quite understand and has not stepped into."
THOSE FIGHT SCENES THO...You know to expect epic action in a Marvel film, but this one looks like it will be particularly special. In fact, producer Jonathan Schwartz says it has the best action of any MCU film ever.
Simu Liu did many of his own stunts and the fight scenes — which Cretton says were inspired by Jackie Chan films and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon — have gorgeous choreography. Some fights are ugly — these are beautiful. Oh, and there’s an underwater dragon...
When confronted by his past and a mysterious organisation of assassins, Shang-Chi must make use of his incredibly handy martial arts skills.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten RingsBOOK NOW
Want more MCU action? Next up in Marvel’s ‘Phase Four’ is Eternals, a superhero adventure that spans 35,000 years of human history. At Vue this November