Okay… So, I watched Shang Chi… I was really waiting for this movie and I have to say it didn’t disappoint me… until it did. But it’s so crazy to watch such a blockbuster without any Caucasian people in leading roles, that element alone gives this film a status similar to that once held by Black Panther, which I can only describe as a gigantic step into inclusion and diversity in mass media culture and an absolute win for the Chinese and Asian population, not in a sense of cultural war or anything, I mean the movie is as western as it can be, but the fact is that watching diverse leading roles encourage people to experience the world as a more equal place to live in. Yet none of the former ideas have anything to do with the actual story, right? Well, in regards of the story we can say that is not the best, not even average I would say. Plot wise this must be one of the worst movies of the year, in MCU terms it must also be one of the worst. BUT! It’s in the characters department where this flashing spectacle of martial arts truly shine, in the same vein as countless of martial arts films produced over the past half century, the ass kicking clowns save the day in an otherwise forgettable movie.
What’s this movie about you ask?
Okay, so the movie is about this dude, the Mandarin, who has some weird rings in his arms. These rings are somehow magical and have the power to destroy anything in their path and this dude uses them to conquer the entire world, until he finds a lady who kicks his ass and so he falls in love with her. The consequence? She gets pregnant and her village folk kick her out for some racist reason or something like that. Then, many years later some evil people come to get revenge from the Mandarin, because of all the conquering he did in the past, but end up killing the powerful lady (don’t even ask me how is it that she defeats the most powerful dude in the movie and then gets killed by random people). Crazy with pain, Mandarin trains Shang Chi and her sister in the secret arts of killing dudes, but Shang Chi can’t kill anyone cause he’s good, so he escapes, leaving her sister and father behind. Another time skip and we find our hero working in a dead-end job, having a cool female friend and no prospects in life (kind of the millennial way), and after having a conversation about realizing their full potential, bam! The plot hits them when a bunch of bad guys come to take a pendant from our protagonist (the worst kind of McGuffin I swear).
You start to see the problem here? The movie sets too many things in the beginning yet doesn’t dive into any of them, instead it relies on many movie trope, especially in the antagonistic force, which ends up being a gigantic CGI evil creature giving the Mandarin visions about her deceased wife. And what about Shang Chi? Well… he has this weird character arc in which he has to face all of the things he left behind when he escaped in order to become who he really is, a martial arts guy or something like that. I guess the movie is trying to convey the idea that no matter what you decide to be, is the doing so, the going for the adventure what matters, at least it can give you enough to make interesting conversation with friends or something like that. I don’t know, in certain parts the whole thing gets kind of preachy, like a message for youngsters about choosing a path already and sticking to it, avoiding the jumping in between things and actually following a path. Did I mention that Shang Chi reveals desires of killing his father in the most Oedipus way possible and ends up kind of doing so? But hey, the real enemy here is that gigantic thing which I don’t even remember what the hell it was, it’s that forgettable.
So anyway, great casting, amazing chemistry between the protagonist and secondary cast, and not much more actually… The plot is super dumb and the comic references mmm… at this point I don’t see the value on them, I mean this is supposed to be a movie or the trine of a toy store? Hard to say. I guess that old filmmaker dude had a point there!