Fifth about The Seventh

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: the story of Destin Daniel Cretton’s entry to the cinematic universe is, for the most part, small scale; the origin story of the title hero is the story of his family. While that remains the case, it’s particularly engaging, as it also has a sense of being self-contained that is rarely seen in the MCU. Eventually, both of those aspects cease to be true, alas, and the whole thing gets a touch overlong. Still, the focus on Asian characters, aesthetics, and sensibilities is welcome (doubly so because the characters speak languages other than English when appropriate). Simu Liu, as the hero, has the physique to sell the action, and he is charming, but he is also quite bland during the emotional scenes. Awkwafina, his sidekick, can be grating during the comic relief, but those, while present, are few and far between. Meng’er Zhang and Michelle Yeoh are effective and physically convincing in their strong female roles. Tony Leung creates a great villain, a bad man who is nevertheless acting out of (misguided) love. The action works better the smaller the scale of the fight is; in some instances, however, the camerawork of Bill Pope and the editing get too dynamic, making the action harder to follow. The production design, by Sue Chan, and the costume design, by Kym Barrett, feel right for the setting.

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