By Suraya Kazzuz | Contributor
While the oversaturation of these superhero films leaves something to be desired, the newest of the bunch, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, acts a refreshing and well needed long deep breath.
Shang-Chi has been incredibly well received despite the production companies lacking dedication when it came to advertising the film.
What is most compelling about the newest Marvel movie is Director Destin Daniel Cretton’s ability to make an entirely unique spectacle while honouring East Asian traditions.
The film often and expertly references other important films such as House of Flying Daggers during the bamboo forest scene and even references Kill Bill through the character of Xailing, Shang Chi’s sister, who wields a meteor hammer, or a rope dart, reminiscent of Gogo Yubari’s own meteor hammer in Tarantino’s infamous film. These references to other iconic East Asian characters are clearly intended to either honour or reclaim the cinematic traditions that are so definitive to this culture.
Beside these cinematic traditions, the film does offer itself too generously to superhero traditions in terms of time spent on action sequences.
While the film has been praised for its fight scenes and choreography which are undeniably interesting, the scenes which include the computer-generated dragon Ta-Lo and the faceless creature it comes to have conflict with are prolonged far past the point of being necessary.
The film is thoroughly interesting and with characters that are so multi-faceted and realistic it is almost a pity to spend so much time watching CGI characters fight for extensive periods of time. While the film’s director utilises CGI artistically, the fight between the two creatures lasts so long that after ten minutes you begin to realise that you are in a cinema theatre and that you have to go pick up some groceries once the film is over.
The main reason this scene pulls you out of the cinematic world is because these voiceless creatures are the least compelling characters in the entire film. The relationship between Shang-Chi and his friend Katy, or Shang-Chi and his sister Xailing or Shang-Chi and his father Xu Wenwu have so much to offer that when the focus isn’t on these relationships it’s hard not to yearn for more.
However, Cretton infuses humour and emotion into this action-packed 2-hour long film and certainly knows what he’s doing in terms of character development. This film has certainly made the impact that was intended by its creators and will stand the test of time in a very similar way to that of Black Panther.