“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” opened to a record-breaking box office Labor Day weekend and for good reason: it’s a phenomenal movie that captures the wit and charm of Marvel while not being afraid to dive deep. 

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings'' follows Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), the son of fantastical conquerer Xu Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) who has been granted eternal life and god-like power by the ten rings. Instead of using them for good, Xu Wenwu used them to gain unlimited power and spread his army worldwide. However, he stopped his evil ways once he met Li (Fala Chen) and decided to settle down, having Shang-Chi and his sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang). 

When Shang-Chi was a young boy, his mother died, after which his father became cold and trained Shang-Chi to be an assassin. On his first assignment, Shang-Chi ran away to live in modern-day San Francisco, where he changed his name to Shaun and laid low for ten years.

Shang-Chi is roped back into family drama when his father believes his dead wife is calling to him from behind a gate in the mystical town where she had grown up, which is lost in the bamboo forests of China. 

Shang-Chi and his sister know this is a delusion and go to the village to warn them of their father’s plan to burn the town to the ground. While they’re there, they meet their mother’s sister, who tells them more of their mother’s history. She also warns them in order to defeat their father, they must balance the tyranny of their father raising them with the peace and calm of their mother within themselves. Shang-Chi, Xialing and the village must work together to stop the settlement’s impending doom.

This movie was absolutely amazing. Everything flowed together in a symphony of cinema, from the acting — standout Simu Liu as the absolutely adorable himbo that is Shang-Chi — to the characters — including an Awkwafina performance that was hilarious and brought a great sidekick to Shang-Chi. Even the soundtrack was impressive, capped off in the end credits by a terrific Anderson .Paak song with chill, groovy tunes that perfectly encapsulated Shang-Chi as a character. There was so much to love about this movie, and it delivered at every chance it could. 

The cinematography and the fighting styles during action scenes showed the team behind the film really did their research and cared about how this movie turned out. This movie was truly a celebration of Asian action films of the past and present, a fitting introduction of Marvel’s first Asian-American hero. I saw some homages to Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Donnie Yen in the fighting styles throughout the movie, and it all flowed together so effortlessly. Every single fight scene was invigorating, especially the scene in which Shang-Chi fought off 20 masked goons single-handedly on the scaffolding of a 50-story building. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor as soon as the action stopped; it was incredible. 

The writing in this film was sharp and clever, capturing the comedy normally incorporated with new Marvel projects as well as the darkness that comes with having someone’s father train them to be an assassin at age 14. There were also some surprise characters from past Marvel movies that I won’t spoil for anyone, but I will say they all worked wonderfully. It was also great to just hear the opening Marvel sequence in a theater once again. 

All in all, an excellent movie on its own as well as a wondrous addition to the Marvel saga, and I definitely recommend anyone to go check this one out as soon as possible.