Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings had its premiere in Los Angeles last night. (Remember movie premieres? Shang-Chi They’re happening again! Sometimes. Hopefully they’re not about to stop again. It feels like they might.) In addition to Marvel execs and stars like Simu Liu and Awkwafina, select members of the press were invited to see it as well, which means that we’ve got our very first early reviews of the film.
By and large, they are pretty positive. (At film premieres, they almost always are.) Critics who saw the film praised the martial-arts sequences as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings well as Liu’s lead performance as Shang-Chi, Marvel’s latest hero. Several reviews said he’s ready to breakout as a huge star. There were also positive tweets about the film’s themes about family and the legacies we inherit from our parents. Several mentioned an excellent post-credits scene after the film. (What could that possibly be?) Among all the positivity, there were a few more muted reviews, though. A couple mentioned some “pacing issues” and another said the third act was “crazier than is needed.”
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, and co-starring Tony Leung, Michelle Yeoh, Benedict Wong, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, and Fala Chen, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opens in theaters on September 3. At the moment, the film does not have an early Disney+ or premium streaming release scheduled.
Elektra, the world’s greatest assassin, is so thorough about her work that she scrubs her floorboards constantly to ensure Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings she leaves behind absolutely no DNA that could be traced to her, and she’s also so careless that she hangs out with her nosy new neighbors in the middle of an assignment, and also so dumb she doesn’t realize her new neighbors are her assignment. Consistency! Also, dying in Daredevil and getting brought back to life has given her the ability to predict the future and even rewind time when necessary, essentially making her an immortal god. So obviously she uses her omnipotence to run around repeatedly stabbing ninjas with a pair of sai. From the film’s Wikipedia page: “Garner reportedly did not want to do the film and only did it because she was legally required due to contractual obligations from Daredevil.” Somewhere out there, there is someone whose first Marvel movie was Elektra. Spare a thought for this person.
The 1990 low-budget Captain America movie is a very special kind of dumb Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings the kind where a shot of the White House gets a title card reading “WHITE HOUSE – WASHINGTON D.C.” without a hint of irony. (About 20 minutes later an almost identical shot reads “WASHINGTON D.C.”) The opening sequences, set in the 1930s, are fine, and closer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe Captain America than you might expect. Once Captain America awakens in the early 1990s, things take a deep, deep dive in quality right down to the chintziest, synthiest score you’ve ever heard. Matt Salinger’s Cap costume looks pretty good for the time, but he almost never wears it, and instead spends a weird amount of the movie stealing cars by acting nauseous, then jumping in the driver’s seat when the other person in the vehicle steps out to check on him.