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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is as action-packed as a Marvel movie should be. Standout characters, stunt scenes and great comic relief make it an overall very enjoyable watch.

After Black Widow’s release earlier this summer, Shang-Chi became the second movie in the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The movie was released on Friday, Sept. 3 and it has already broken records. Over Labour Day weekend, the movie made over $70 million at the box office, and it is currently the top comic book rated movie, with an audience score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie itself is what Marvel fans would expect. There was a lot of CGI, as usual, but some aspects make this a movie unlike any other in the MCU. The plot is not entirely unique within the superhero-origin-story genre, we follow the main character who tries to escape his past only to then be forced to face and reconnect with it. Even though the plot is not the distinctive factor of Shang-Chi, there are other areas that help to reinforce it; from jaw-dropping fight scenes to incredible stunts, not to mention the cast, which is what stands out the most as they truly are what gives this movie its distinctive character.

Simu Liu stars as Shang-Chi, the film’s titular character. Liu is a Canadian actor with a background far from theatre and performance before starring in one of the biggest movies of the year. Liu graduated from Western University and worked as an accountant before pursuing his acting career. In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel, Liu mentions how he used to dress up as Spiderman for kids’ birthday parties when starting out as an actor. Old photos of Liu as a model in stock office photos have also resurfaced, which shows how far he has come as he now plays the lead in a Marvel blockbuster.

Renowned actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai stars as Shang-Chi’s father and bearer of the ten rings, Xu Wenwu. The Hong Kong actor is known for his roles in In the Mood for Love, Chungking Express, and Infernal Affairs, making him one of Asia’s most successful actors. In the movie, he trains Shang-Chi to be an assassin from a young age which in turn leads to Shang-Chi growing up to resent him. 

Nora Lum, better known as Awkwafina, stars as Katy, Shang-Chi’s best friend. It goes without saying, but any film that Awkwafina appears in promises some laughs. We’ve seen her in movies such as Crazy Rich Asians, Jumanji the Next Level, and Ocean’s 8, and just like in those films, she delivers some very enjoyable comic relief. At first, Katy seemed to be a minor character, but she turned out to be very involved in the film. Let’s just say that we could all use a best friend like Katy.

Making an impeccable film debut is Meng’er Zhang, who stars as Shang-Chi’s sister, Xialing. Her performance left the audience eagerly awaiting the second movie as she seems to be lining up to be a big part of it. In the movie, she might have not been trained to be an assassin like her brother, but she taught herself and is just as dangerous, if not more. 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a huge win for the Asian community. Some people predicted it would be a flop and even Disney CEO Bob Chapek made a controversial comment calling the movie an “interesting experiment” before its release. He later apologized and explained that it was misinterpreted and that he meant how the movie will only be in theaters for a little over a month before becoming available on Disney+. Regardless of these comments, it is exciting to see this movie become a roaring success.

Whether you plan to watch it in theaters or wait until it becomes available on Disney+, Shang-Chi is certainly a welcomed addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.