Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings dubbed ‘winning’ if ‘formulaic’ in first reviews

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Shang-Chi is the first Asian lead in Marvel’s cinematic universe, played by Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu (Disney)
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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is here, just months after the release of the MCU’s most recent entry, Black Widow.

Starring Simu Liu as the hero of the title, Shang-Chi follows on from the events of Avengers: Endgame, and sees the mysterious Ten Rings organisation seeking power.

It is also the first Marvel film to feature an Asian character in the lead role. Alongside Liu, the film features Awkwafina, British actor Benedict Wong and Hong Kong cinema legends, Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh.

Also returning from past MCU movies will be Tim Roth as the Abomination, and Ben Kingsley will reprise his role as Trevor Slattery from Iron Man 3.

The reviews of the film are now in, a roundup of which can be found below. Is Shang-Chi another action packed instalment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let’s see what the critics say...

The Independent - four stars

“Even the film’s fight sequences bristle with emotion – as acts of flirtation, rage, or even love. Overseen by Andy Cheng and the late Brad Allan, two of Jackie Chan’s close collaborators and part of his world-famous stunt team, they’re simply mesmerising to watch – and, for once, haven’t been completely obscured by choppy camerawork and the heavy hand of an editor. And while, yes, the film does inevitably fall prey to CGI overload, its relative faithfulness to the wuxia tradition at least spares us another battle in a concrete car park or exploding aircraft carrier.”

Watch: Simu Liu, Awkwafina and the Cast of ‘Shang-Chi’ Talk Representing the Culture with Marvel’s First Asian-Led Superhero Film

Empire - four stars

“It’s a winning blend of Chinese culture mixed with the successful Marvel formula that avoids the typical Asian clichés and stereotypes of accents and bad drivers, while pointedly calling out some of the racial errors from Marvel’s past. Given what’s on show here, the future for Shang-Chi and Asian representation in the MCU looks bright.”

The Guardian - three stars

“Inevitably, there is a mid-credits sting that folds Shang-Chi back into the larger MCU picture, and establishes the essentially genial and good-natured comic strand which is an important part of the film: it is different from the theatrical seriousness of, say, Black Panther. The mythical component of Shang-Chi is closer tonally to Thor. It’s an entertaining romp, although the formulaic quality is becoming a little obvious.”

Roger Ebert.com - three and a half stars

“Without spoiling, the movie does make some efforts to address Marvel’s previously problematic presentations of Asian characters, and while the moments are used for some self-deprecating comic relief, they remind me of two things: how it’s impossible for these Marvel films to exist in a vacuum, and how much more work needs to be done.”

Indiewire - three and a half stars

“Its more grounded elements and the requisite ‘movie magic’ are constantly at odds here, perhaps more than any other MCU film since Iron Man 3. It sets up plenty of predictable parts to come, but the pleasures of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings when it’s allowed to be its own thing are deep. As the MCU only continues to expand, Cretton’s film should be pointed to as a sterling example of what’s possible when a hero is allowed to be his own man, on his own terms. The rings? They’re just a prop.”

Watch: Marvel chief Kevin Feige says its films are best seen on the big screen

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