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Marvel's Shang-Chi


JohnC
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31 minutes ago, Fierce Poodle said:

I thought Maverick had been postponed till next year? Plus it looks like a load of old cat shit.

Maybe it has been.

 

It'll be great.  The original isn't a classic you know.

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I got that lovin' feelin'*

 

I really enjoyed the movie and came out on quite a high, but I probably need time to separate that from the fact that it's the first time I've been to the cinema since Rise of Skywalker, and it's a brand spanking new place 10 minutes walk from me, and I've been utterly fucking miserable for a while and maybe I needed to see some likeable people doing heroic stuff.

 

Regardless, I loved the characters and performers. I thought Simu Liu effortlessly stepped into being a charismatic and likeable hero. Awkwafina continues to be absolutely brilliant, and it's always great to see Leung and Yeoh. I thought Zhang did a good job with something of a third wheel part. The movie is also quite beautiful to look at. Chinese design kind of lends itself to looking great, but I thought it was shot really well from the start. The action is solid and satisfyingly physical, with nary a rubbery CG person in sight. Things escalate to a place unimaginable from the opening scenes, but I think the film does a good job of carrying you there.

 

Spoiler

I don't think they're setting up the sister to be a future bad guy, I just thought they were showing her stepping up her fight club business. If I'm wrong they've drastically miscalculated and undone everything she experienced during the movie. I guess we'll see. Trevor returning initially threatened to break the movie in two (especially his explanation for how he got there), but I found myself going along with that too. Hopefully he stays in the village and lives out his days in peace.

 

There's a bit of sluggish pacing around the middle, but other than that I couldn't find anything I really disliked about it.

 

*Though there was a trailer for Top Gun stating a 2021 release. Oops.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Sabreman said:

I got that lovin' feelin'*

 

I really enjoyed the movie and came out on quite a high, but I probably need time to separate that from the fact that it's the first time I've been to the cinema since Rise of Skywalker, and it's a brand spanking new place 10 minutes walk from me, and I've been utterly fucking miserable for a while and maybe I needed to see some likeable people doing heroic stuff.

 

Regardless, I loved the characters and performers. I thought Simu Liu effortlessly stepped into being a charismatic and likeable hero. Awkwafina continues to be absolutely brilliant, and it's always great to see Leung and Yeoh. I thought Zhang did a good job with something of a third wheel part. The movie is also quite beautiful to look at. Chinese design kind of lends itself to looking great, but I thought it was shot really well from the start. The action is solid and satisfyingly physical, with nary a rubbery CG person in sight. Things escalate to a place unimaginable from the opening scenes, but I think the film does a good job of carrying you there.

 

  Hide contents

I don't think they're setting up the sister to be a future bad guy, I just thought they were showing her stepping up her fight club business. If I'm wrong they've drastically miscalculated and undone everything she experienced during the movie. I guess we'll see. Trevor returning initially threatened to break the movie in two (especially his explanation for how he got there), but I found myself going along with that too. Hopefully he stays in the village and lives out his days in peace.

 

There's a bit of sluggish pacing around the middle, but other than that I couldn't find anything I really disliked about it.

 

*Though there was a trailer for Top Gun stating a 2021 release. Oops.

 

 

 

Our Top Gun trailer said 2020! As if it was in the future!

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On 06/09/2021 at 10:41, Gabe said:

@Sabremanre: your spoiler, I think the film wasn't really clear on what that scene was meant to represent. Perhaps that's by design so we are kept guessing, but who knows.

 

 

Spoiler

I thought the point was she had men and women fighting together, and with all the graffiti around the walls it was a lighter brighter future. 

 

 

I absolutely loved this. The whole father son thing hit me right in the feels, the resumption of which was perfect I thought. 

I'm not an aficionado of

King foo fight movies other than crouching tiger and its ilk. So I don't know if this is tamed down or unfaithful. The scene with fight in the forest was beautiful, balletic and I saw two people falling in love. It wasn't marvels usual bang crash quip cgi fest, it was visually stunning, told a solid story and damn it made me care about all the characters. 

 

Spoiler

Disney+ (and possibly YouTube) have a short film the explains how Trevor gets there. It's well worth it if you can watch it 

 

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6 minutes ago, RK1D said:

I'm really on the fence about going to see this... seems like mixed reviews in here. Is it suitable for a (nearly) 10 year old? Anything I should be aware of? 

 

Some swearing ("shit", "bullshit") and the usual violence.

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Enjoyed that! Tony Leung was great, one of the best MCU villains in terms of adding a layer of sympathy to his character.

 

But although normally I lap up all that CGI-driven spectacle at the end of action blockbusters, here I felt a massive gap in how engaged I was with the hand-to-hand combat, compared to the really disconnected and murky-looking

Spoiler

dragon-riding/waterspout/monster horde

bits.

 


Also, I'm disappointed that

Spoiler

there was no Michelle Yeoh vs Tony Leung fight. :( Boo at that missed opportunity! It felt as if there should have been at least one person guarding the seal on that side of the lake, and if that was Yeoh's character, that would have saved her from being restricted to fighting anonymous goons and monsters.

 

I've watched three of Michelle Yeoh's pre-Tomorrow Never Dies martial arts films this year. Let's see if I can spot broad similarities they each have with Shang-Chi: Magnificent Warriors (a climax based around defending a village!), Tai-Chi Master (flowing motions can be used to defeat harder-hitting fighting styles!), and Wing Chun (um, I can't really think of anything, except maybe the fact a character returns after years away!).

 

Regarding one character:

 

Spoiler

I remained unspoiled and had no idea Trevor Slattery was going to be in the film. But as soon as he appeared, my reaction was: "Please don't overdo it, please don't mess it up, after how great he was in Iron Man 3." His first scene was fine (cute little Porg-esque CG critter notwithstanding), but then it turned out he was tagging along for an adventure driving through the jungle, which brought back worrying memories of John Hurt in Indiana Jones 4. Fortunately his presence was justified with the Planet of the Apes joke. I don't like making assumptions about the production process, but every single shot of him after that came across like reshoots - isolated shots ready to be be edited in anywhere. But then, that might be preferable to having him directly involved throughout?

 

Potential What If...? connections:

 

Spoiler

I noticed that Bryan Andrews (who has been directing What If...?) got a "thanks" credit. That suggests to me that there was some form of co-ordination between production of this film and that of What If. I thought we might be about to see a link during the moments when Shang-Chi showed glimpses of tentacles on the Dweller-in-Darkness behind the seal, because What If...? has featured extra-dimensional octopus arms reaching through portals at least twice, which prompted fan speculation about Shuma-Gorath. But then we saw the full creature and it was more bat-like than octopus-like.

 

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5 hours ago, Protocol Penguin said:

Seeing this later at super-off-peak time in a cinema that should be virtually empty. Wish me luck. I hope the film is less “meh” and workmanlike than Black Widow.

 

The 11 a.m. showing that I saw had about 15-20 other people in there, a bit busier than when I saw both Black Widow and The Suicide Squad at similar times of day. (Of those, BW had been out the longest by the time I saw it: about two weeks.)

 

I was far enough away from anyone else in the auditorium that I felt reasonably comfortable, but I wouldn't yet feel ready to go to any screenings with crowds much busier than this.

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On 08/09/2021 at 11:14, Protocol Penguin said:

Seeing this later at super-off-peak time in a cinema that should be virtually empty. Wish me luck. I hope the film is less “meh” and workmanlike than Black Widow.

Hmmm… Good bits, but also mediocre bits, and crap bits, and the first action scene was arguably the best one. Two central characters were practically cardboard cutouts. Structure and pacing could’ve been better too – didn’t need to run over two hours. Mid-tier MCU, on balance, but could’ve been so much more. There was just something ‘off’ about how it all came together that I shouldn’t have expected from the 25th film in a series with such a decent hit-to-miss ratio. Despite the misgivings… Overall I liked the film.

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On 06/09/2021 at 00:10, Sabreman said:

 

 

  Hide contents

I don't think they're setting up the sister to be a future bad guy, I just thought they were showing her stepping up her fight club business. If I'm wrong they've drastically miscalculated and undone everything she experienced during the

movie. 

 

 

 

 

Spoiler

I think at the end Shiang said his sister was 'shutting down her father's empire' ? Which didn't seem to be the case. 

 

Earlier in the movie she said that if 'her father wouldn't let her in his empire, she'd create her own' so I definitely think she saw an opportunity here - I dunno if she'll be a future big baddie but definitely chaotic neutral.

 

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Saw this tonight,  really liked it, general thoughts spoilered:

 

Spoiler

Was surprised to see Trevor show up but really enjoyed his scenes 

 

Bus fight was very good 

 

Thought Katy would really annoy me at first but quickly changed my opinion on that 

 

If the sister has gone bad that's a bit of a crappy way to go and would undo her story, but maybe it was a good organisation now, and at least it wasn't Elaine from Seinfeld showing up again which I was totally expecting 

 

Really don't get the Wong/Abomination stuff,  assume that'll be explained later maybe? 

 

The dragon was cool but the final battle with the batsquid got too messy and dodgy cgi looking 

 

Secret mystical realm occupied by martial artists and a dragon? It's what Iron Fist should have been! Was kinda hoping for some kind of cameo/mention to that series. 

 

Could the beacon in the Rings be linked to Eternals? I have zero knowledge of them but the trailer was shown beforehand. 

 

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8 hours ago, RK1D said:

I'm really on the fence about going to see this... seems like mixed reviews in here. Is it suitable for a (nearly) 10 year old? Anything I should be aware of? 


It’s far better than you’d have any reasonable right to expect. Treat yourself. 

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Been to see this today & thoroughly enjoyed it. Knew nothing of the character or much about it at all really, other than it was a Kung Fu Marvel movie.

 

The: 

Spoiler

Fight on the bus early on was brilliant.  Also the mixture of pathos and humour really worked.  A slightly more nuanced villain to boot, all helped to overcome the usual Marvel CGI Fest at the end.
 

I came away possibly for the first time ever thinking that I might like to visit China some day.


 

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1 hour ago, yakumo said:

As an Asian seeing an entire superhero movie about Asians was kind of surprisingly emotional for me.

I can't even imagine. 

 

Representation really matters and bollocks to anyone who thinks otherwise. 

 

What I can confirm is this film was fucking great. 

 

I loved it. 

 

Marvel gone and done it again. 

Probably my fave Marvel origin since The first Avenger. 

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5 hours ago, Waggo said:

Been to see this today & thoroughly enjoyed it. Knew nothing of the character or much about it at all really, other than it was a Kung Fu Marvel movie.

 

The: 

  Hide contents

Fight on the bus early on was brilliant.  Also the mixture of pathos and humour really worked.  A slightly more nuanced villain to boot, all helped to overcome the usual Marvel CGI Fest at the end.
 

I came away possibly for the first time ever thinking that I might like to visit China some day.


 

Re: the big bad

Spoiler

I thought his arc was poor; man does loads of bad stuff for hundreds of years, falls in love whilst trying to do more bad stuff, wife dies as a result of his bad stuff, does more bad stuff, realises he was wrong, smiles at son, dies.

 

His life was murder, destruction, oppression. I fail to see any redemption for him and couldn't buy into it at all.

 

Also, unrelated to him, I thought the cgi-fest was a really dull, blurry mess - in fact the whole sequence when they got to the village I felt needed some better pacing. 

The more I reflect on this the less I think of it.

 

With that said, I agree entirely with @cassidyabout representation - I can't imagine what that feels like as a white guy but, like Black Panther I hope it helps open the universe to more diversity and inclusion and if it does, I'll regard it as a triumph no matter my opinion of the film. 

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Also saw this and thought it was pretty good, heavily carried by Simu and Awkwafina's charisma, it actually does the whole reuniting with family thing much better than the just-came-out Black Widow (which had the feel of being chopped up by script revisions until it was incredibly barebones). The !Mandarin stuff is unnecessarily fanservicey though.

 

It's kind of crazy how much they have to throw in to set up a new character these days though, I mean compare the finale of this

 

Spoiler

multiple armies clashing! Loads of CGI creatures! Riding on dragons! Surprise Cthulu beasties!

 

with the first Iron Man, which was just two guys in suits fighting on a freeway.

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I liked what Film Crit Hulk wrote about the film: 10 Things I Liked About SHANG-CHI

 

https://www.patreon.com/posts/10-things-i-chi-55892465

 

He's mostly in praise of it, like this bit about what he thought of the flashback structure:

 

Quote

3. Functional Flashback Structure - I worry that sometimes people think my stance on writing is that “flashbacks = bad,” which is so not the case. It’s more that flashbacks are generally difficult to pull off and frequently get messed up. They not only can severely hurt narrative momentum (they’re giant “no, buts!” if you think about it), but if lacking in critical purpose to the moments on screen, they just feel purposeless, too. Which is why I was so happy that I could watch Shang-Chi and a few sequences in I was like “oh neat, they get it.” Because the flashbacks always have this evolution of information that informs the character’s internal struggle in the current action. Perhaps the best example of this is

Spoiler

when it goes back to the moment where sister got left behind, then comes back to the present and she knocks his ass out.

It may seem obvious when I point it out, but you’d be amazed how many movies think flashbacks are just “filling in background information” or “telling a concurrent story” without having it inform what you’re seeing. Without the direct correlation, it’s constant distraction. But this is the kind of stuff that’s alive with purpose and helps inform the shape of the arc. It’s not even filled with big twists or anything, just a number of moments that give real context to the story and the feelings between one other characters (like halfway through really seeing him be a happy dad playing DDR is so important to their arc).

 

This bit is his most extensive criticism, and a suggestion for improvement:

 

Quote

8. The Quibbles Aren’t Killers -

Spoiler

For example, the first act has a whole lot of shoe-leather with the postcard that essentially amounts to the dad just getting the two kids in the same place. But, hey, we’re on board for that same goal. Honestly, there’s really only two big “bumps” where I feel like the narrative goes off a bit [spoilers and such from here on].

 

One is the halfway point where Daddy has lured them back and this whole plan to go to the mystical village so they can bring mom back. This goal is real for him, but he’s clearly trying to charm them and convince them. The problem is the movie just has him immediately be like “we’ll burn them if they don’t!” And Shang and his sister Xu righteously say no way and get thrown in the dungeon or whatever. Which means it quickly has to reset and they have their whole weird getaway with our Jester Trevor AKA old Mandarin (I really can’t believe how long he was in the movie). There’s just something very MCU about all this to me? Because Kingsley’s character is funny, yet superfluous, yet they can sort of charm their way through the awkwardness of the paper thin forest sequence, which is all about getting us from point A to point B and the only thing they can put in the way is artificial difficulty. Because yes, we need to get the kids to the village so they can learn the stakes for the third act.

 

But the problem is how much this leaves on the table. Because this should all be the “seduction” sequence with dad. It should be him telling them he’s changed and really showing them that they had a bond once upon a time. I mean, it’s Tony Leung for Pete’s sake. He can really sell the danger of them falling over to his charms - while still having that undercurrent of genuine connection and establishing how much they all loved mom. But then they would of course get to the village and he’d go violent when someone says no and you play the betrayal of the fact he hasn’t changed at all. But instead, the choice here just plays into that constant way that Marvel / Disney / whoever always seems so damn afraid to break your heart. Instead daddy is just immeidately like “I’ll do murder!” so the good folks can never get seduced in the first place. I feel like we’ve seen this villain beat so many times from them where the movie just 1) makes it way too easy for the heroes to be morally superior and 2) makes for a huge wasted opportunity because putting genuine connection in this sequence would make that that final beat of Daddy diving to saving Shang all the more cathartic. Speaking of which, this brings us to why the big climactic dragon battle doesn’t work. No,  not because it’s a big CGI sequence…

 

The problem is that once Tony Leung dies the movie is over.

 

Yes, people are technically still in danger. but that’s not actually what we care about. We care about the evolution of relationships and you want that moment of catharsis between them to come in the same catharsis of the final action beats. I mean, we have the early beat there anyway, right? Daddy dives out of the way to save him and then gets soul gobbled. But how much more cathartic is it, if suddenly they get the team up moment first? You see them working together, flipping the rings back and forth, kicking ass as a family, and THEN you get that moment of loss which hits all the more hard because now there’s something actually to lose. And it can make that point where all hope nearly seems lost hit all the more hard. Better yet, you make the final beat tie into Daddy willingly giving all ten rings to Shang - because that’s the arc, right? The one thing he could never ultimately do is give them up, and here he would do just that. And thus go from the selfish to the selfless act. And I honestly don’t think it robs Shang’s character of anything, because it allows that sacrifice to immediately fuel whatever super cool action thing he does right after. If anything, it would make it all a part of the same dramatic moment where all four relationships central could come together at once. Again, these are just little shifts in timing, but they would allow that central relationship w/ Daddy to be the cornerstone of the climax. As small as the shift is, it’s only really a shame that one comes at the end of the movie and kinda lets the air out. Still, the beats work for most of the movie so they’ve already been won over for the most part?

 

 

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@Nick RI disagree entirely with Film Crit Hulk's quibbles there, for the reasons I mentioned in my previous post.

 

Spoiler

Again, he's been truly awful for hundreds of years and yet we're meant to feel something for his 15 minutes of fame? It just felt completely unearned to me and, as a consequence, I had no emotional connection to the moment (nor their relationship at all).

 

But then the film seems quite happy to look over his previous - and numerous - acts of evil just and weirdly positions him as deserving some redemption.

 

I know it's a vastly different thing, but it made me think of the reaction 13 Reasons Why got in the third season when the writers tried to put a sympathetic bent on the bad boy (whose name I've completely forgotten). I think most people on here hated it (as did a lot of the press and various survivor groups) because he didn't deserve sympathy no matter what good little things he tried to do post the event.

 

I'm sure that's a terrible connection to make for lots of reasons, but at the same time people I've read comments from people that found it touching/powerful/good here. Go figure.

 

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Finished work early today and caught an afternoon showing.

It was alright?  I think I just need movies to do more to surprise me these days.

Spoiler

Got major Bahamut vibes at the end - anyone into Final Fantasy will know.

 

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