Shang-Chi: The Legend of the MCU

Marvel Studios newest Asian-led release exceeds box office expectations

Laynie Clark, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

Marvel Studios continues its long-running theme of touching on timely concepts and controversial topics after its release of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” an Asian-led cinematic masterpiece. This film follows martial-artist Shang-Chi as he is forced to confront his past and reconnect with his inner self. 

In the film, Shang-Chi and his best friend Katy are approached by a dangerous threat, which compels Shang-Chi to search for his sister, Xu Xialing, after abandoning her many years prior. Xu Xialing portrays a badass woman who is afraid of no one. Call me biased, but I am a sucker for a strong female lead. After locating her, the three of them team up to face the antagonist, although it is not the easiest task considering the strained relationship that Shang-Chi has with his sister. Not only is Shan-Chi’s relationship with Xu Xialing off, his connection to his father is much more tense. In this film, we get to see Shang-Chi fight these world-ending battles on the outside, and on the inside as he tries to repair his family. Throughout it all, Katy stays by his side. Katy remains a bubbly, optimistic side-kick for Shang-Chi, but she always feels a little useless considering Shang-Chi and Xu Xialing are masters in martial-arts. Eventually, she finds her calling and that feeling of insignificance floats away. Katy and Shang-Chi make a hilarious duo and give the film a fun and lighthearted perspective, which is always crucial within these intense action-packed productions. 

This production was a huge win for the Asian community, much like Marvel’s previous film “Black Panther” was for the Black community. The opening weekend of this film smashed the box office with over $90 million: becoming a huge staple in Marvel history, which is especially significant in the pandemic, and the reviews have been nothing but positive. It is no surprise that this movie was a hit considering the beautifully written dialogue and show-stopping action scenes. The martial-arts aspect of the fight scenes brought on a whole new level of fierceness to these complex sequences. As someone who is not a part of the Asian community and does not know much about the culture surrounding it, I was amazed by how stunning and jaw-dropping everything was. Marvel wowed the crowd, as usual, and opened the eyes of many to such a wonderful culture. 

As someone who is a die-hard fan of anything Marvel related, it absolutely fills me with joy every time they showcase a new culture. Shang-Chi quickly made its way into my top five Marvel productions – which is saying a lot considering there are 25 of them – because of the hilarious one-liners from Katy and the spotlight on Asian culture. I will never get over seeing new cultures brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and knowing that I am part of a fandom that is pushing for equality fills my heart with warmth. Times have changed and Marvel Studios is changing right along with it.