I know I’m late to the party, with Marvel’s Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings having had its theatrical debut earlier this fall. With the pandemic and COVID numbers surging again, I’ve not been in a movie theatre in almost two years, so I missed the film during its $363.4 million box office run, which has it sitting pretty at the fourth biggest box office success of the year.
But Shang-Chi just made it home via streaming and digital outlets, and I had to tell you that with the new film, the world may have been introduced to a new Black Panther.
Now, calm your thumbs down. Don’t start tweeting me with a bunch of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner nonsense. I don’t think that the late Chadwick Boseman can be replaced, either. But Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is one of the best superhero movies that I’ve ever seen.
For a couple of reasons, I didn’t rush out to see the movie back in September after it debuted. First, not being a huge Marvel fan, I don’t have to be first in line to see one of their movies. The whole gauntlet snap thing was more confusing than thrilling to me. I barely read Marvel comic books as a kid, as I spent too many of my quarters (that’s how long it’s been since I read comics) reading DC and the exploits of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman et al.
Second, as excited as I was about the long-overdue arrival of an Asian superhero on the silver screen, I wasn’t all that amped about the guy being a martial artist, in part because I’ve also never been a huge fan of martial arts movies.
And indulge me as I address the Asiatic elephant in the room: can you get any more stereotypical than having the first Asian hero be a martial arts master? It would have been like having Boseman play the owner of a soul food restaurant in Atlanta instead of the King of Wakanda.
So, I took my time seeing Shang-Chi, catching it last weekend in my home theatre. And I’m very, very glad that I did, as Marvel and Shang-Chi star Simu Liu have infused what could have been a run-of-the-mill action flick with healthy doses of heart and humor.