FILM REVIEW | Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Watching the latest Marvel movie is always a huge deal for fans.

That's why it was so disappointing for MCU die-hards in Sydney when Black Widow was released under lockdown conditions.

Watching the long-awaited solo adventure debut of Scarlett Johansson's iconic hero just wasn't the same from the lounge or the bed.

Luckily, Sydneysiders got the opportunity to view the newest MCU entry, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, in cinemas as lockdown restrictions were eased last week and movie theatres reopened.

The film introduced us to a brand new hero in Shang-Chi (played brilliantly by Simu Liu), and a whole new mythology in the Ten Rings and mystical realm of Ta Lo.

Shang-Chi was filmed in NSW last year by celebrated director Destin Daniel Cretton, responsible for the truly great films Short Term 12 and Just Mercy.

The film introduces us to the titular hero living a regular life in San Francisco, working as a valet alongside his best friend Katy (Crazy Rich Asians' Awkwafina, continuing her trend of stealing every scene she's in).

Seemingly out of nowhere, Shang-Chi is accosted on a bus and has to fight his way through a swathe of nefarious baddies in a thrilling scene why finds Katy behind the wheel of the rampaging bus à la Speed.

We learn that Shang-Chi is not who Katy thought he was, but is in fact the son of a man who's hundreds of years old, and who has wielded the power of 10 mysterious, magical rings.

Action-packed: Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi alongside Awkwafina's Katy in Marvel's latest outing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, now in cinemas, rated M. Picture: Marvel

Action-packed: Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi alongside Awkwafina's Katy in Marvel's latest outing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, now in cinemas, rated M. Picture: Marvel

His father, Wenwu (played by legendary Hong Kong actor Tony Leung of Chungking Express), commands a powerful and ruthless army which Shang-Chi was destined to be a part of until he ran away in his early teens.

Wenwu is determined to find the elusive magical homeland of his late wife, Shang-Chi's mother - something his son is working to prevent.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is far from Marvel's best work, but does not have the benefit of existing characters who are familiar to the audience already from an earlier appearance in the MCU, like Black Panther and Spider-Man.

It feels quite removed from the rest of the MCU in its unique mythology and its climactic battle is something of a let-down for people who aren't fans of giant beast fights.

On the plus side though, both Shang-Chi and Katy are thoroughly enjoyable characters who will be a joy to see interacting with other members of the MCU.

Benedict Wong's appearance as his Doctor Strange character Wong is very welcome, as are some of the adorable creatures we're introduced to in Ta Lo.

On the whole, Shang-Chi is an alright Marvel movie which has laid the path for its main character to shine in future outings.

Rating: 6.5/10