Why Hollywood Needs More Movies like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

If avid viewers were to be given a dollar for each time they are able to catch a newly released super hero flick, the world would probably have a whole lot more millionaires. The superhero fiction genre has taken on a life of its own, and has gained a solid following through the years. It has pretty much solidified itself as a multi-million dollar making machine already. Major Hollywood producers who have jumped onto the money train are making the most out of their investment by consistently releasing a steady stream of superhero content, which in turn are quickly being devoured by comic book aficionados. Gone are the days when people would willingly waste time by lining up at the cinemas to get tickets for the latest superhero movie.

Nowadays, anyone with a stable internet connection can easily stream the latest releases in the comforts of their own homes. One media franchise giant that continues to create waves in the industry is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Their big-ticket releases are latched onto the famous comic book characters published by Marvel Comics that has been around for more than 5 decades already.  At present, the MCU has covered all bases, from films and television series, to various types of literature. The franchise is currently categorized into phases, with the first three phases collectively known as, “The Infinity Saga”. This includes Hollywood blockbusters, such as The Avengers, the Iron Man movies, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, and Spider-Man: Far Away From Home. The films in the fourth phase began with Black Widow.

What is the Movie About?

Viewers awaiting their next adventure can tune into the upcoming film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which is also part of the MCU’s fourth phase. It is the 25th film to premiere in the MCU, and is based on the Marvel comic book character, Shang-Chi, who is also called the “Master of Kung Fu” and “Brother Hand”. In the comic books, Shang-Chi is known to derive his skills from the Chinese martial art of wushu. Fans who grew up reading the comics can expect the same powerful action scenes to be carried over to the movie. Chinese-Canadian actor, Simu Liu (Kim’s Convenience), leads the cast, as he portrays Shang-Chi, who is described to be a skilled martial artist who was trained at an early  age by his father, Wenwu, to be an assassin under the notorious underground Ten Rings organization. Shang-Chi chose to take the high road, and decided to pursue a normal life in San Francisco. The conflict happens when he is forced to confront the dark past he thought he has already ran away from. Some other notable cast members to look forward to include Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8) as Katy, Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians) as Jiang Nan, Benedict Wong (Avengers: Infinity War) as Wong, Fala Chen (Tales from the Dark 2) as Jiang Li, Florian Munteanu (Creed II) as Razor Fist, and Tony Leung (In the Mood for Love) as Wenwu.

Why the New Movie is A Breath of Fresh Air

It’s feels so refreshing to finally see a superhero of Asian descent make his big debut. It’s high time that the movie industry fully breaks down the wall of stereotypes, and opens it up to a melting pot of different cultures. As the saying goes, the more the merrier. This major milestone in the superhero genre does not come without issues though. Recently, a comment was made by Disney CEO, Bob Chapek, who said that the upcoming MCU movie was an “experiment” for the company. This did not sit well with Liu, who took it to social media by posting a message on Twitter in response to the Chapek’s damning statement. In the tweet, he slams back by saying that Asians, like himself, are the underdogs and ceiling breakers rather than a mere “experiment”, and also likened them to be, “a celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year.”

This mic drop of a response only goes to show that loaded comments, just like the one by Chapek, do not go unnoticed anymore. The Asian community, among others, has learned how to stand up for their rights, and speak up against condemning statements. There’s been a cultural shift in the Hollywood landscape, from the #MeToo movement, to women demanding for equal pay as their male counterparts, and now, a conscious effort to acknowledge representations in roles. The road ahead is not an easy path. There are still loads of work to be done and conversations to have, but this is a good start. It’s about time that we learn to root for the underdogs, and celebrate the beauty of diversity.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings first premiered in Los Angeles last August 16, 2021, and will finally hitting theaters on September 3, 2021. The movie is also expected to be available for streaming on Disney+ 45 days after its theatrical release.

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