Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - Five Reasons You'll Love It
When you've released the biggest movie in the history of cinema-going, it's quite difficult to know what to do next.
If you're Marvel, the answer as to what to do after the release of Avengers: Endgame is to continue their expansion, both artistically and commercially, and looking to an entirely new tradition of filmmaking.
Shang Chi, the immensely skilled martial artist who has been trained to be an assassin since childhood, has been a feature of Marvel's comics since 1973 and there has been talk of a film since the mid-1980s, with the likes of Ang Lee and Blade director Stephen Norrington attached at one time or another, but nothing ended up coming together until the Marvel Cinematic Universe was in its pomp.
The first strands of what would become this film were actually sewn in Iron Man 2, but it didn't take real shape until 2018, when Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige hired Chinese-American writer Dave Callaham to write the screenplay, and began looking at Asian and Asian-American filmmakers to potentially direct the film.
In this blockbuster, we follow Shang-Chi, who has left the shadowy Ten Rings organisation in an attempt to create a normal life for himself in San Francisco.
However, when his past suddenly catches up with him, Chi is drawn back to the organisation and forced into an almighty confrontation.
Simu Liu leads the way as the titular character, with Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Fala Chen, Meng'er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, Ronny Chieng and Michelle Yeoh among the supporting cast. Destin Daniel Cretton in the director's chair.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is out now in UK cinemas and will be released on DVD in the coming months, but we caught an early screening and have rounded up five reasons why you'll love Marvel's next move...
The action is breathtaking...
The fight choreography is breathtaking and practically balletic in its delivery. That's not to say it doesn't look like it really hurts, there are some brutal fight scenes.
It's a mystical marvel...
This is the most fantastical Marvel movie thus far, certainly in terms of the scenery and wildlife, but it's beautifully designed and never strays into silliness.
There are some excellent one-liners in a script that never feels weighty, there's also the brilliant presence of Awkwafina, who lightens every scene.
Simu Liu is a hell of a find...
The 32-year-old has come a long way since his film bow in 2013 as an extra in Pacific Rim, he commands this film superbly, both in terms of his action pedigree and chemistry with his array of co-stars.
It feels very singular...
Every Marvel outing is a balancing act. Huge ensemble adventures like Avengers: Endgame don't work unless there's some sense that these characters live in the same universe, but it's vital that large chunks of each movie don't feel like building blocks for the future rather than focusing on what's happening now. Shang-Chi marries the two really well, it feels like its own world, but it's easy to see how it fits into Marvel's future plans.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is out now in UK cinemas and will be released on DVD in the coming months.