Know Before You Watch
Movie: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Genre: Superhero, Origin, Action
Length: 2 hrs, 12 mins.
Age Suggested: 13 and up
Release Date: 3 September 2021
Where to Watch: For right now, you can only catch this in theaters. It sounds like it will have a faster turnaround time though and be available to stream on Disney Plus sometime around November.
Warnings: Death of a parent, abuse, abandonment
Shang-Chi Summary (No Spoilers)
After spending 10 years in America, Shang-Chi is thrown back into a childhood that he thought he escaped. Along with his friend Katy, they work together to overcome Shang’s past so that it doesn’t affect the whole world’s future. Will they be able to master the rings? Save the world??
Is Shang-Chi movie appropriate for kids? Continue to our full Shang-Chi parent review to find out…
Shang-Chi Discussion Questions (Very Minor Spoilers)
Themes in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings to Discuss:
Forgiveness, Discovery, Overcoming Trauma, Being a Hero
1) Shang had a hard childhood. Why is it so important to recognize the things that hurt us?
2) Relationships with our families can be hard sometimes. How can we care about our family even when they don’t care about us?
3) Katy was overwhelmed and upset when she found out about Shaun’s true identity. Despite this, she was a caring friend. How can we be kind with our friends, even when we feel upset with them?
4) Shang and Katy are best friends, but they didn’t know everything about each other. What’s something surprising that you’ve learned about a friend?
Shang-Chi Parent Review (Spoilers Included)
Why Watch Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
It’s kind of a downer but I want to say this first- considering Disney’s response to Black Widow‘s at home release in the Scarlet Johanson suit. (Basically alleging that Disney made a ton of money streaming it opening weekend and the actors/actresses did not get a fair cut of that. Absolutely makes sense.) It was disappointing that this is just a theater release.
With limited hospital capacity, natural disasters everywhere, and a long holiday weekend it would have been great to have been able to rent or buy this from home. That being said, if you feel comfortable popping on a mask and seeing it in theaters, the fight scenes and scenery are especially amazing on the big screen.
1) This movie is a really entertaining watch and you don’t have to understand the Marvel world to enjoy it! While the Marvel universe is tied in, this story is a stand-alone. Which is good news for those of us who haven’t quite been able to keep up with the multi-verse of Marvel’s ever-expanding storylines and shows, like Loki and Wandavision.
2) Shang-Chi is a relatable hero. He feels like he doesn’t really belong anywhere he thinks he should. Plus he’s got a lot of crazy dysfunctional family drama, also relatable! (Except for hopefully the fate of the world doesn’t rest on whether or not you can reconcile with yours!)
3) It’s a movie focused on an Asian superhero that is actually played by an Asian actor. With a cast that is also primarily Asian. In reading this article on the origins of the Shang-Chi comic, I learned that the original character was based on a white-washed TV series. So while there is still a ways to go, it is encouraging to see a real cultural effort being put into this movie. And while a few critics have said there is too much cultural appropriation, many more have said that they were excited about seeing themselves in a superhero movie like this one.
Is Shang Chi Appropriate for Younger Kids?
If your child could handle Avengers: Endgame then they likely will be able to handle this movie. Despite Marvel movies sometimes not living up to their PG-13 ratings, Shang-Chi definitely does.
Parents should be aware that there are a lot of heavy themes and moments in this movie. Between the death, abuse, and violence, there is also explicit language. While the movie is one of the darker Marvel films, it still delivers some great jokes. Plus, it’s a good stand alone! So if you or the kids haven’t caught up on all the latest in the Marvel universe- you don’t have to stress about it and can still enjoy the movie.
Plot/Story Review from Shang-Chi and the Lengend of the Ten Rings
Though the story was heavier than expected, it handled the darker parts of the film well. Abuse is never a easy topic, and confronting an abuser is an even harder topic, but the film handled it well. The story flowed smoothly, as we watched both Shang’s past and present unfold. It does a good job making sure you know whether you are in the present or past, allowing you to see Shang’s story as he remembers it.
Characters in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
All of the actors did a fantastic job. Simu Liu as Shang-Chi was incredible. He was able to bring the funny but also have the seriousness needed to handle this story. My absolute favorite character though was Trevor Slattery. Back from Iron Man 3 and the Marvel short All Hail the King, the hilarious wannabe actor, turned accidental terrorist brought a lot of laughs to the film. Morris was a close follow up though, with his adorable headless body. Awkwafina is great and Meng’er Zhang didn’t get enough screen time but also was a fabulous addition to the protagonist’s team. For more on the characters check out the IMBD page for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Film Quality of Shang-Chi
The quality of the movie is top-notch. The special effects were beautiful. A highlight was all of the scenes using water, as they were absolutely stunning. The stunt choreography was incredible. All of the fight scenes kept me engaged, as I held my breath waiting to see the outcome of the fight. It is by far the best stunt choreography in the MCU to date.
The cinematography was very similar to what the most recent Marvel movies have been. But it was notable how well the lighting and music played into the fight scenes. Especially since Marvel fight scenes aren’t typically extended or overly violent. And while this movie was not overly violent, it was more violent than say, Ant Man and Wasp.
Favorite Quotes from Shang-Chi:
“My father trained me to be an assassin, but that’s not who I am” -Shang-Chi
“You are the product of all who came before you. The light and the dark. The legacy of your family. You are your mother. And whether you like it or not, you are also your father. Stop hiding who you are. – Ying-Nan
Thanks for reading our Shang-Chi Parent Review.