This means more for Marvel than just racial representation.
The first trailer for Marvel Studios’ upcoming movie “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” brings the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film that has an Asian superhero as the star. The trailer for the September movie has already been viewed more than the trailer for DC’s upcoming sequel/reboot “The Suicide Squad,” which has been out for three weeks now.
That’s because the trailer. Looks. Dope.
The cinematography in this trailer puts a Marvel spin on a kung fu movie, and it looks awesome. The action also looks incredible. I have chills just thinking about the clip in the subway where Shang Chi does a flying split kick and takes down two guys at once.
However, this movie goes deeper than cool action and Asian representation. Shang-Chi as a character has had a complicated history on the page. This movie has the chance to right those wrongs.
Shang-Chi’s comic book origin
When Shang-Chi first joined the Marvel universe in 1973, the world didn’t handle the character with much care. Having read the original comic by the legends Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin ( who is best known for writing “Infinity Gauntlet.”)
On the one hand, Shang-Chi’s origin story follows his life after finding out that his father was the leader of a terrorist organization. Not only that, but his father had been training Shang-Chi to be the organization’s strongest weapon his whole life. Shang-Chi’s life was never truly his own until he decided to leave his family.
It’s a great idea for a story. However, I came to the conclusion I still stand by: Shang-Chi’s origin is a great concept, but was horribly executed. Many racial slurs against Asians filled the pages of the comic, asS hang-Chi himself is colored yellow, a color associated with the skin of Asian people. Despite Shang-Chi being a relatively popular character, there were clear mistakes that needed to be corrected.
He has had a minor role in the Marvel Universe, most notably for helping Spider-Man create his own fighting style, “The Way of the Spider” (see “Amazing Spider-Man #666”).
This movie has the chance to tell the story of Shang-Chi properly. It can still tell the same story, but in a better way than the comics ever did. And by the looks of it, the film is going to do just that.
What’s this movie about?
Based on the dialogue in the trailer, Shang-Chi was given ten years to live his life as a free individual before joining the family company run by his father. What is the family business?The Ten Rings is a notorious terrorist group who has been in the MCU since “Iron Man” in 2008. In case you forgot, these are the guys that locked Tony Stark in a cave and terrorized many villages in the Middle East.
That’s where the differences begin. In the comics, Shang-Chi’s father is supervillain Fu Manchu. The movie, on the other hand, will make supervillain and sorcerer ‘The Mandarin’ Shang-Chi’s father (not to be confused with the fake Mandarin from “Iron Man 3”).
The idea seems to be the same: The Mandarin wants Shang-Chi to be the next terrorist leader after him, but Shang-Chi doesn’t want that. Things will escalate into the action-packed, butt-kicking movie the trailer showed us a piece of.
The only way the movie can truly be bad is by being culturally and racially inappropriate, but it’s still too early to tell if the portrayal of Asian culture will be accurate or not. We’ve only seen a two minute trailer after all.
Who’s on the cast?
Leading the project as Shang-Chi is “King’s Convenience” star Simu Liu. He’ll be joined by “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Jumanji: The Next Level” star Awkwafina, who will be playing Katy. It’s assumed that Katy will be someone Shang-Chi meets during his ten years of freedom.
On the villain’s side, Hong Kong acting legend Tony Chiu-Wai Leung will be playing The Mandarin, while “Creed II” actor Florian Munteanu plays Razor Fist, who’s speculated to be The Mandarin’s muscle. There is also a character who goes by the name “Death Dealer” —the character in the white mask in the trailer —but the actor is currently unknown.
When does it come out?
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” comes out on Sept. 3rd, 2021. Until then, you can watch Marvel shows on Disney+ like “WandaVision” and “Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” Upcoming projects before Shang-Chi gets the spotlight include “Black Widow,” premiering on July 9 in theaters and on Disney+ and the upcoming Disney+ original series “Loki,” coming June 11.