Active through vacillating is the latest adventure in the MCU canon with a first being that its leads are Asian.
Sang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings stars Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Leung, and Michelle Yeoh in the case of the reluctant protagonist in a well worn dilemma of having to “save the world from calamity“.
In San Francisco, Liu’s passive parking valet Shaun has to open up to close chum Kathy (Awkwafina of Raya and the Last Dragon, The Farewell) Shen being accosted by thugs (one with an arm of burning sword).
He lets her known about his actual (eponymous) identity whisking her to Macau to see that his sister Xialing (Meag’er Zhang) is okay. But she isn’t very welcome to his presence as Leung’s patriarch in Wenwu seizes them. He’s an omnipotent wielder through his bracelet-like ten rings. Apparently, it’s vital to encroach the clandestine native land of their late mother (Fala Chen), is the truth clouded by his personal anguish?
The desired demographic will be lured by notable lively encounters with plenty of Far Eastern influences (if you like House of the Flying Daggers or Kung Fu Hustle for example) with some balletic choreographed action infused with the pep of a Jackie Chan. As demonstrated early on a bus or later during a scuffle on scaffolding. The last reel includes a typical grayish pallor for a culminating confrontation, and there’s definitely room for two frisky fire-breathers.
If everything gets too GCI intense and those thrills don’t have enough of an effect on you, then maybe elements of the story with a strong familial slant could provide some interest. It helps that Liu’s way with the character can have a certain amount of appeal as the actor has a comedic background. Even if he can be a bit sullen for some tastes. It can be a struggle of honing in to the lore that tends too buffer the coherence of a sweeping narrative.
While the protagonist may not engage like certain MCU figures, say Blank Panther or Ant-Man, there’s good banter with the witty prowess from Awkwafina. There’s also pretty solemn work from Zhang and a convincing steeliness to Yeoh’s wary aunt. Maybe Hong Kong star Leung (Hero, In The Mood For Love) for Benedict Wong and Ben Kingsley to reprise roles from earlier entries like Doctor Strange and Iron Man 3 to appease aficionados in their particular amusing fashion.
An ambitious, if not so refined Shang-Chi is set up decently by helmsman Destin Daniel Cretton (Just Mercy) in not leaving behind an impish streak. He’s branching beyond intimate drama her that may not have enough backstory (read: flashbacks) as it alternates between gas[-inducing eye-catching excitement and quieter interludes. As plenty of challenges will await a coming of age with purpose and empowerment from eminent dreary desolation.