Woo wee!! Thank you Marvel Studios for dropping this high-energy trailer on a sleepy Monday!! This is one of the most anticipated Phase Four of the MCU and if it weren’t for Covid, we should’ve seen Shang-Chi movie by now but the February release had been delayed to September 3, 2021. Poster looks good too, though I can’t help but think of the Olympics with all those rings!
Here’s the short premise per Wiki:
When Shang-Chi is drawn into the clandestine Ten Rings organization, he is forced to confront the past he thought he left behind
Well, behold its first trailer!
Well my first reaction is WHOA!!! I mean it’s a Kung-Fu movie so naturally I’m expecting some high-octane, gravity-defying moves and that’s what we got in this trailer. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12, Just Mercy) from a screenplay by David Callaham (Expendables, Mortal Kombat), the film has a mostly-Asian cast led by Simu Liu, including Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Ronny Chieng, and Michelle Yeoh. Having just seen In The Mood For Love recently, I was expecting Leung’s co-star Maggie Cheung to show up here as Shang-Chi’s mother!
Now, based on some videos of Simu Liu I’ve seen so far, he seems like the right actor for the part. The Chinese-Canadian actor seems charismatic and witty in interviews, which I think it important beyond just having the martial art skills.
Visually it looks impressive, which is to be expected given the Marvel budget. Some of the scenes reminds me of Inception and The Matrix…
… as well as Zhang Yimou’s movies like HERO, House of Flying Daggers, etc. There’s even a scene that reminds me of the neon-lit fight scene in Skyfall. I take it the storyline will take place in multiple timelines, mixing the production design from various ancient/modern. The DP is Bill Pope who’s no stranger to fantasy/comic-book movies
Timeline-wise, I’m curious where Shang-Chi fits in within the MCU timeline. It’s possible that it takes place before Avengers: Endgame after the Snap?
It’s a pretty short teaser consisting mostly of action/fight sequences, but I’m hopeful there’ll be a compelling story just like most of movies in the MCU. I have to admit, not being much of a comic reader, I had to search for some videos about the character’s history. This one did a pretty good job explaining it:
One thing for sure I like the casting of Tony Leung who always looks elegant and dignified as Shang-Chi’s father aka The Mandarin/Wenwu who is the leader of the Ten Rings.
Now, thanks to Wiki, apparently Marvel replaced the comic-book version named Fu Manchu with Wenwu, citing it as a “problematic character” associated with racist stereotypes whom Marvel Studios does not hold the film rights to. I certainly am glad they didn’t stick with Ben Kingsley as the character, that just wouldn’t be right.
Looking at the way the character is drawn in the comics (released in 1973 by Steve Englehart & Jim Starlin), no doubt the inspiration was Bruce Lee. Per this article, Paul Gulacy, the artist for several issues of Master of Kung Fu, spoke about his desire to honor the legacy of Bruce Lee in his work in an interview for Comic Book Artist Collecti on. The link between Lee and Shang-Chi was so prominent that when plans for a live-action adaptation were in the works, Bruce’s son Brandon Lee was the original actor eyed for the role. Unfortunately, Brandon Lee died on the set of The Crow in 1993 from an on-set accident. I have faith Simu Liu in bringing Shang-Chi character to life.
I’m certainly excited for this one and can’t wait to see it on the big screen!