Shang-Chi - Game Infinite Review (Non-Spoiler)
I went into Shang-Chi with very few expectations. It is an unique experience going into a MCU film for a whole new character to oneself. As someone who feels fairly educatied about the comic world of super heroes, Shang-chi was one I knew almost nothing about. We know from experience that MCU films are usually amazing, but we don't know ahead of time if we will like the new character. If one thing Marvel proves consistently, is that they can take unknown heroes and make audiences fall in love with the stories. Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and even way back to day one with Iron Man himself, Shang-chi joins the ranks of new super heroes that will become household favorites. With one of the highest rotten tomato scores of the MCU, Shang-chi delivers on an amazing story. They manage a LOT of exposition and a lot of world building, in a very short period of time without it feeling overwhelming, slow, or boring. Within a brief period of time, we feel like we know enough about this new part of the MCU.
While the story and characters are really well done, one of it's strengths is the action. Coming off action heavy, cross over heavy mega hits like the last two Avenger's films, coming back down to a singular hero showing could feel small, however, Shang-Chi appropriately feels like a one man army, and the film's final battle lives up the high standards we are growing to expect. While not even MCU films needs to have armies clash, I will say this one does it well.
This is also the first martial arts MCU film, and with that comes all sorts of critique on more than just being a "Super Hero" movie but also a martial arts film. The film plays this smart by showing us that Shang-Chi is a very skilled world leader in martial arts, before he even gets any magical powers or weapons. Even unpowered, we see Shang-Chi fight on a level I would argue could match a Widow. Then when we see his powers and weapons, he could easily be an S class Avenger's level hero capable of matching the likes of Thor or Captain Marvel.
Another win for this film, is how it addresses the film's antagonist. Historically, this has been a very weak part of the MCU. After over twenty films we only have had a small handful of memorable likable villains, all complete with sometimes shallow or boring motives. Shang-chi delivers a villain who is more complex and emotionally relatable than just "evil guy who want's power".
Another thing that really impressed me was how easy it could have been for the Ten Rings to be reduced to a forgettable, boring "magic plot device" that the MCU has sometimes had in abundance, but instead they were an incredible sight to be hold that added so much value to the fight and action scenes. Every time the Rings were used, you just didn't want them to stop being used. Despite no obvious weakness, being just magic immortal god tier weapons, they could easily be "op" and therefore boring for story purposes, but they never were.
The film is definitely a top 10 MCU contender, and a must watch for marvel or martial arts fans. However, like anything, It is not perfect. My critiques may feel like nit picking. There were some elements of the final battle that I felt the CGI could have spent a little bit more time in the oven, but I understand how hard it is to make THAT battle look real. I also really didn't like the Katy best friend character. I'm sorry I found her really annoying. I would have better enjoyed a more "traditional" romance character. I would have rather had a early stage romance arc than a forced best friend for laughs arc.