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‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ represents true heart of Asian culture

Image used with permission from Deviantart/Marvel Studios
Actors Tony Leung and Simu Liu portray the iconic father-son duo in the box office hit “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” Themes of Asian representation and family dynamics render the film memorable for viewers.

The trailers were enough to make my heart race with anticipation. With a star-studded cast and a hip soundtrack, the newest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” hit theaters Sept. 3. The film narrates the story of young martial artist Shang-Chi, played by CBS’ “Kim’s Convenience” star, Simu Liu. 

“Shang-Chi” follows protagonist Shang-Chi and Katy, his childhood best friend that he grew up with, as they delve into the world of his ancestry and the clandestine organization of the Ten Rings. The Ten Rings, an ancient alien device bestowing immortality and full control to the wielder, were assumed to be long gone. Yet as Wenwu, Shang-Chi’s father, seeks family reunion, Katy and Shang-Chi are sucked into a world of family and chaos.  

With increasing popularity, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” brings forth a new wave of culture accompanied by a hopeful future for youth. With the pandemic closing off opportunities in the world of performing arts, this film epitomizes resilience and strength in the face of adversity, serving as a symbol of hope and the success perseverance can achieve. 

Moreover, core themes explored, like family dynamics and battling internal morals, render the film relatable for younger generations. Shang-Chi and his conflicting views of his father and the Ten Rings society create a tense yet heartwarming father-son relationship.

The film further encompasses empowerment, particularly for the East Asian community, by portraying Asians in a positive light. The enthusiasm and humorous energy of the cast create a fun-loving atmosphere indicating a quality beyond simply acting and solidifying their genuineness as humans. This cast cohesion, combined with Intense training and determination, shone through in every scene.

The world began to pull Asians in as the epicenter of the pandemic as the spread of the virus continued, and these views have lessened the overall image of Asian culture and race. Nevertheless, with the pull, there is a push; “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is leading the way with further opportunities in the real world and a powerful step for Asian media representation. 

While the power of film will not get rid of the manufactured truth, it maintains the power to combat it, shedding light on problems that exist in reality. Not all Asians fight mythical people with powers, but we all resonate to the smaller themes and relationships within the film.

At long last, Marvel brought the original Shang-Chi comic, based on Chinese culture, to life through music integration, phenomenal cinematography and a superb cast. Musicians featured in the album – among them Niki and Rich Brian from American record company 88rising – began promoting their tracks on social media prior to the film’s release, catching their fans and Marvel fans alike off guard. 

The Shang-Chi soundtrack, a highlight of the film, bears resemblance to the hip-hop-centric album “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, which was produced for another MCU film, “Black Panther.” Both soundtracks include a consistent lyrical theme tackling modern oppression toward people of color coupled with themes of self-exploration and discovery.  


Beyond just music, this film exceeds expectations for its marvelous casting conducted by Director Destin Daniel Cretton, who selected a strong, majority-Asian cast. Among them, he selected powerful female icons to assume major roles in the film. Liu is joined by Awkwafina and Meng’er Zhang, both actresses of Chinese descent.

Filmed in major cities across the globe – San Francisco, Australia, Macau, Los Angeles – the resemblance to the fictional city of Ta Lo, where the film is set, came alive. From facial expressions to body language, the actors and actresses also played a perceptible hand in sharpening the quality of the film. Many elements, from doing makeup to teaching how to do stunts, depended on the full team working together, as does any major motion picture. 

The Production process was postponed for months due to COVID-19, and thus consternation arose among actors and audience alike questioning if the film would truly make it to the big screen. Just over half a year later, promotion and production resumed, garnering heightened excitement surrounding the film. Thus, the end product and success rates in the box office were off the charts, grossing $257.6 million just two weeks after release. 

The must-watch film is available in theaters such as Odeon Lux Swiss Cottage Cinema or the Grange Cinema in the St. Johns Wood area. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” will become available to viewers on Disney+ on Nov. 12.

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