Shang-Chi kicks down stereotypes


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Shang-Chi breaks down stereotypes in this new Marvel masterpiece.

Adeline Gruen, Staff Writer

Over the past 13 years the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has expanded dramatically, adding more and more superheroes with each new phase of the story it releases. With Phase Four starting, the lineup for movies and Disney+ shows has grown long with many release dates in the next few months. The most recent of which being “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which was released on Sep. 3.

The movie follows Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), a master of unarmed weaponry-based Kung-Fu, who has been forcefully brought back home to the Ten Ring Organization. The Ten Rings are magical weapons held by his father, Xu Wenwu (Tony Chiu-wai Leung), the ringleader of the organization. While he is home, he and his sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), must confront their past to save not only their future but also the world’s with the help of Shang-Chi’s friend Katy (Awkwafina). To complete this task they need to travel to Ta-Lo in order to keep Wenwu from opening the Dark-Gate and unleashing the Dweller-in-Darkness.

The movie deals with grief and the way it can affect people. After Shang-Chi’s mom is murdered when he is eight, Wenwu becomes overwhelmed with rage and vengeance as he attempts to avenge his wife’s death. He puts the ten rings back on, after taking them off in order to grow old with her, and trains Shang-Chi and Xialing to become assassins, obsessed with making sure no one can hurt him or his family. Through this the Dweller-in-Darkness is able to deceive him and drive him crazy with the idea that his wife is hiding behind the Dark-Gate.

The film was very well paced and kept the audience engaged. One of the best parts was seeing it tie back to “Iron Man 3” with Trevor Slattery (Sir Ben Kingsley) who pretended to be Wenwu with his made up terrorist figure the Mandarin. Trevor added an element of comedy that was a bit lacking in the earlier parts of the film due to its serious background.

With “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” being Marvel’s first Asian lead superhero film there were high expectations. Marvel threw away some of the hurtful stereotypes that had been established in the original comic depiction of Wenwu or Dr. Fu Manchu. To do this they tried to rid him of the long list of these stereotypes and make him “a real person” instead of a walking commonality. They showed the multiple sides of Wenwu and gave him personal desires to whom others could relate. 

They also did away with other harmful Asian typecasts with the way they portrayed the other characters. The female characters such as Xialing and Katy didn’t rely on men or their more feminine traits to gain what they wanted. Instead they showed up and involved themselves in the action. Also, the actors and actresses were cast accurately in the way they portrayed their characters unlike in the past when Marvel Studios casted Kingsley, an actor of English and Indian descent, for the role of the Mandarin who is a character of East Asian descent.

This newest addition to the MCU was a hit with critics raving everywhere. The movie was rated 8/10 on IMDB and earned a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Shang-Chi is making everyone look forward to the upcoming movies in Phase Four.

Contact Adeline Gruen at [email protected]