Movies & TV / Reviews

How Important is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings?

September 4, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings is here! As of writing this Friday afternoon we’re getting an idea that this is yet another Marvel success going into Labor Day weekend. 

Friday projections for the Disney/Marvel’s Destin Daniel Cretton-directed movie is looking to be around $25 million, including Thursday’s $8.8M in previews. That would be the third-highest opening day during the Covid era after Black Widow‘s $39.5M and F9‘s $29.9M.
Projections for the three-day total looks to be in the $60 million range, with the potential to do in the mid- to high-$60 million over four days. For comparison, that would be 126% higher than the previous Labor Day weekend record opener, 2017’s Halloween.

What about the big picture for this movie?

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is important on a number of scales. It is the second movie in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will set the pace for the next NINE Marvel Phase Four movies that will come out between 2021 and 2023, those being Eternals; Spider-Man: No Way Home; Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness; Thor: Love and Thunder; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever; The Marvels; Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3; and Fantastic Four.

In a way, this will be a test in the audience’s attachment to the Marvel brand without an appearance by Captain America, Thor, or Iron Man. 

In case you didn’t know, Shang-Chi (aka Master of Kung Fu and Brother Hand) made his debut in the comic books back in 1973.  He was created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin, debuting in Special Marvel Edition #15 and starred in his own series until 1983. 

Legend of the Ten Rings has the honor of being the first movie based in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature an Asian lead and a majority Asian cast. “The turning point was really Shang-Chi and getting asked for the first time: ‘What do you want to see out there?’” Simu Liu, who plays Shang-Chi, told Postmedia in August 2021. “I’m very aware it’s a privilege where very, very few actors get to. For most actors, especially Canadian actors, it’s more about, ‘What will you hire me on?’ For many years of my acting career, that was first and foremost. The answer, inevitably, was Hong Kong Desk Cop No. 1 and Paramedic No. 3. Now we’re being asked questions like, ‘What are the three stories out there right now that you wish you could tell?’ There’s tremendous power and responsibility in that.”

Liu did an interview with Time in January 2021 and spoke about representation. “I loved comics as a kid, I loved superheroes, but I really didn’t see myself represented in that space,” he says. “I really hope with this movie, kids who are like me, who grew up similarly, can have that,” he added. “That’s really the power of representation: seeing yourself on screen and feeling like you’re a part of this world, which for Asian children who have grown up in the West hasn’t always been the case.”

He continued, “If I’ve learned anything, it’s that good things come to those who do. I’ve always, from day one, wondered if there was any more that I could do. If a door wasn’t open for me, I was going to build a door, or build a battering ram to barge my way in.”

A little bit of trivia for you: Margaret Loesch, former president and CEO of Marvel Productions, once shared that in the 1980s Stan Lee considered Brandon Lee for the role of Shang-Chi and met with the actor and his mother Linda Lee to discuss a potential movie or television series starring the character.

The importance of this movie reaches far. From setting the stage for Phase 4 to bringing Asian representation on a massive Marvel-sized scale, Shang-Chi looks more than up to the challenge of shifting the superhero dynamics on the big screen. 

As a long time comic book reader, I’ve been looking forward to this one as I have a number of issues of his series and I never really thought he’d get a movie focused on him. I thought he’d get a TV series and that would be it. Obviously Marvel feels strongly about the character, the story, the cast, and the finished product or else we wouldn’t be here. 

Have you seen it yet? Thoughts?

article topics :

Shang-Chi, Steve Gustafson