5 Reasons I Loved Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’

Remember this time last year when I had never seen a Marvel film?

Look at me now!

Well now, I am the person who’s seeing Marvel’s latest films the day they arrive in theaters and anxiously waiting for new episodes to drop on Disney+. Which means, I saw Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as soon as I possibly could!

Now, normally I would write an “X thoughts during Shang-Chi” post, like I have for all 24 other MCU films. But as you may know, Shang-Chi did not drop on Disney+ — it will be in theaters only for at least 45 days, and then….who knows? It may come to Disney+ for a fee after 45 days (or longer), it may come for free — we don’t know yet!  I assumed a theater of people didn’t want to hear me typing away the whole time, therefore I am not doing a full “X thoughts” post today. Instead, I’m going to share my main takeaways and favorite things from the movie!

I should preface that I went into this movie with little to no expectations. I had seen a trailer or two, but considering I have no comic book knowledge, I had no idea who Shang-Chi even was. If anything, I was a little bummed that none of the characters I love were expected to be in it (unlike upcoming films such as Spider-Man 3 or Doctor Strange 2).  On the other hand, this is only the second Marvel movie starring a POC as the lead so I was excited to see a new Marvel movie in theaters and support the creators.

In the end, I LOVED IT. It was truly one of the best origin stories in all of Marvel, IMO. And these are the big reasons why:

{Spoiler alert: if you haven’t seen Shang-Chi and don’t want it spoiled, stop reading!}

5 Reasons I Loved Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings


1. The Action Scenes

The action scenes in this movie are unlike any other I’ve seen in the MCU. Unsurprisingly they are incredibly Martial Arts focused, reminiscent of Bruce Lee films. But they are shockingly beautiful as well! The opening fight scene between Shang-Chi’s parents is more like a dance than combat.


It’s absolutely stunning. There are also epic fantasy battles and larger-scale armies, but they’re somehow more graceful than most Marvel fights. The choreography with the Ten Rings is amazing — I loved watched the various ways the characters used them, especially in the final battle between Shang-Chi and his father.

My favorite action scene is the one on the bus — the way they used the various camera angles along with Shang-Chi’s hand-to-hand combat moves had me on the edge of my seat! He was incredibly talented and creative with his fighting…and it was AWESOME.

2. Lady Power

Shang-Chi may be the lead, but his support system is entirely female and I am HERE FOR IT. He’s got his awesomely funny best friend Katy, his kick-butt sister Xialing, his powerful aunt Nan, and his deceased (but still very present) mother, Li.

©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

The women in this movie SHINE as both images of feminity and power. They are just as impactful on the battlefield as the men — and it’s only when Shang-Chi embraces his mother’s powers that he can defeat his father and the soul-sucking monster. Also, the movie’s end-credit scene was *chef’s kiss* when Xialing sits on the throne overseeing the female warrior training she was once forbidden from partaking in.

This dynamic reminds me a LOT of Black Panther (the only other Marvel film with a POC lead), where T’Challa has an army of strong women around him (literally). And honestly…we stan.

3. A Platonic Friendship

Speaking of the powerful women, Katy has to be my favorite. This will likely be a very popular opinion — after all, she’s played by Awkwafina who is as delightful as ever in this film. She is the comic relief, but she’s also ready to grab a bow and arrow and help out in the fight.

©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Katy and Shang-Chi (who she knows as Shaun initially) come into our lives as best friends who work as valet drivers and are lovers of late-night karaoke. Eventually, Shang-Chi’s true identity is revealed, and Katy is right along for the ride. There are plenty of moments where it seems like Marvel is hinting at their friendship being more than platonic — even her grandmother asks when they’re going to get married.

I was hoping the WHOLE movie they didn’t turn and kiss each other, finally realizing they were in love all along. And guess what…THEY DIDN’T!!!!

It is VERY rare for movies and television to showcase a healthy friendship between a leading straight man and woman — they normally have some kind of underlying feelings for one another…or are related. It’s important to show that friendships exist in all forms, between all people, and this is one we rarely see. I loved it and was tickled they didn’t fall into that overdone trope of friends-turned-romantic partners.

4. The Cameos

At this point, is it even a Marvel movie without a cameo or two? And we ended up getting FOUR in Shang-Chi!

The most prominent was Ben Kingsley reprising his role as Trevor from Iron Man 3. If you recall, he was an actor hired by Adrian Killian to portray the “Mandarin.” Turns out, that was a knock-off imitation of Shang-Chi’s powerful father and he was…not thrilled.

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Ben Kingsley is just as funny here as he was in Iron Man 3 (perhaps funnier) and I loved his relationship with the creature, Morris.

Wong from Doctor Strange also shows up — three times, technically. Once in the underground fighting ring, once in the final scene to come get Shang and Katy, and once in the mid-credit scene. Clearly we are connected to Doctor Strange here people!! Which is connected to Loki?? Which is connected to Spider-Man?? If there is one thing Marvel does well, it’s weaving all of these stories together — and here we go again.

The other two cameos come from the same mid-credits scene — we see Wong, Katy, and Shang chatting (virtually) with Bruce and Captain Marvel!! They’re trying to decipher the origin of the Rings, but cannot other than they are very old. Where did they come from?! What could this mean?! Was it Kang?! Is it the Eternals?! Also is it note-worthy that Bruce was Bruce and not Professor Hulk as we last saw him in Endgame?! IS THIS WHAT MARVEL FANS HAVE FELT LIKE FOR THE LAST 13 YEARS?!!?!?

5. The Soundtrack

Props to the music director on this one! The music is an excellent part of the film — ranging from traditional and classic sounds to new music from top artists.

©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

The soundtrack features songs from Anderson Paak., Swae Lee, NIKI, Rich Brian, Warren Hue and many others. The album was put together by director Destin Daniel Cretton and music label 88Rising, which has said their goal is to showcase “the next generation of Asian artists from around the world.” Great music can make a good movie even better and I’ve already added it to my library.

Well there you have it — my top 5 things I loved about Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. I really hope this movie does well  — it’s incredibly beautiful with a superb cast and amazing action. As far as Marvel origin stories go, it’s one of the best in my opinion!

Are you going to see Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings? Let us know in the comments!


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Molly is a lifelong Disney enthusiast, and former Walt Disney World Guest Relations Cast Member and tour guide. Her Walt Disney World favorites include Festival of the Lion King, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Fantasmic!, Mickey-shaped pretzels and rice krispie treats, and anything with Buzz Lightyear! She lives in Orlando with her husband (who she met in Guest Relations) and their two rescue dogs, Kronk and Cruella de Vil (Ella for short!)

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3 Replies to “5 Reasons I Loved Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’”

  1. Yes, yes this is what MCU fans have felt like for the past thirteen years 😂
    Marvellous (ahem) review Molly! I agree with everything you said and it’s a gorgeous film! So glad as it’s the first time I’ve been to the cinema since the pandemic.
    I loved that Katy was more than just a comic relief – I thought that’s all she was going to be but actually she’s pretty badass! And the lack of romance between her and Shang made my heart very happy.
    I’m hoping that the rings’ beacon is something to do with fighting Kang, this could be our first (movie) nod to the big new baddie.

  2. Awesome and sooooo much fun! Like you I just recently watched all the Marvel films and shows! Was my first time seeing a new Marvel movie in the theaters while being caught up!!!!!

  3. DING DONG, MOLLY! A solid review of a great film… you got the mail on the head with all five of your favorite things in the film. I would only add a sixth and that is the care the film took in it’s rendering of Asian lore and culture. From the creature design to the sets to the fight choreography and costumes…. so much detail so beautifully and reverently delivered!