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Marvel's Shang-Chi


JohnC
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I really liked this. As usual, all the good bits are the director's, and any flaws can be attributed to Disney's size 12s stomping all over sections of the plot and production. 

 

Was disappointed that neither the director or screenwriter are of Chinese extraction, which leaves me with a slightly hollow feeling when it comes to the use of iconography. Great it had such a Chinese-centric cast though, and lots of dialogue in Cantonese. 

 

Most importantly, the plot hinged on relationships much more than almost any MCU film to date. And while the pay-offs may have been a bit simplistic and under-cooked, it had heart and humour. If Black Widow's familial stuff rang hollow, this one was the opposite and I can't wait to see more of Shang-Chi and Katy's relationship. 

 

Shame they didn't make the character gay (as that seemed like the most appropriate fit) but that was never going to happen. 

 

 

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Yep, really enjoyed this! Was a pleasant surprise after the utterly crap Black Widow. Sure, it's another origin story, but it's a bloody good one, and one I look forward to seeing again! Of all the existing Marvel characters to make an appearance, I was not expecting ... (WARNING! Also contains ending spoilers)

 

Spoiler

... fucking Trevor! But it fucking worked! They dealt with that stinking pile of shite from IM3 brilliantly. 

 

Also, the monster at the end reminded me a lot of Oryx from Destiny! :D

 

Interesting seeing non-hulk Banner in the mid-credits scene, makes me question when this took place in the timeline - pre Endgame?

 

Looking forward to where this all goes now with Marvel and the new crew of heroes from forthcoming films. Shang-Chi is a reluctant hero, would make a great story to turn him into the reluctant leader of the next band of heroes. I don't care if that's cliched. :P

 

9 hours ago, Treble said:

Shame they didn't make the character gay (as that seemed like the most appropriate fit) but that was never going to happen. 

This is interesting, because while you say they didn't make him gay, it could also be said they didn't make him hetero - there was no love interest to speak of in this movie, no woman sneaking a kiss or chats about finding/waiting for "the right partner". For me there was zero sexual tension between Katy and Shang-Chi; their relationship was clearly one of pure friendship (the film even has Shang-Chi explicitly state this). Who's to say what the future holds?

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Saw this last night (IMAX, probably 30-40 people in there so loads of room) and it was really good fun.
Some of my favourite marvel films are the ones where I know nothing about the characters and story and this didn't disappoint.

Really good fight scenes and more character driven than many of them. A solid 8/10 film.

 

At a tangent, there's a lot of different films and TV series in Phase 4, and it's not so obvious how it might come together.

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6 hours ago, Steely said:

Re Post Credits:

  Hide contents

Had to be post endgame, because of the sling.

 

But...

Spoiler

... post Endgame he was smart hulk, and I thought that was permanent....

 

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Spoiler

Course it was post Endgame as there were countless references to the “blip”. Captain Marvel there, too, using the technology they used to keep in touch with everybody (and the world back to normal so it’s not during Endgame). We’ll just have to wait and see why he was back to being Bruce.

 

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15 minutes ago, redballoon said:
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Course it was post Endgame as there were countless references to the “blip”. Captain Marvel there, too, using the technology they used to keep in touch with everybody (and the world back to normal so it’s not during Endgame). We’ll just have to wait and see why he was back to being Bruce.

 


 

Spoiler

I expect because it’ll be cheaper on the she-hulk tv series budget than having a fully CGI hulk

 

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14 hours ago, Mortis said:


 

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I expect because it’ll be cheaper on the she-hulk tv series budget than having a fully CGI hulk

 

 

Actually, that might be how she gets her powers. Some sort of energy transfer between the two, not that different to her origin in the comics.

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On 19/09/2021 at 18:38, Thor said:

This is interesting, because while you say they didn't make him gay, it could also be said they didn't make him hetero - there was no love interest to speak of in this movie, no woman sneaking a kiss or chats about finding/waiting for "the right partner". For me there was zero sexual tension between Katy and Shang-Chi; their relationship was clearly one of pure friendship (the film even has Shang-Chi explicitly state this). Who's to say what the future holds?

 

They clearly flagged Katy as interested when he took his shirt off and "we're just friends" is a trope as old as time itself. I am glad they didn't shoe horn in a romantic plot as this was way too busy already. However it will be zero surprise if they go that route in the sequel.

 

I enjoyed this, but as is the way the characters needed more time and the action less, particularly the final sequence. 

 

I would like a proper Iron Fist now they can actually show the fight with a dragon and not just talk about it.

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Finally made it to a cinema for the first time since... I can't even remember what I saw last in the before times.

 

I really enjoyed this.

 

Spoiler

Some of the wire-enabled action was beautiful. When they approached the building covered in bamboo scaffolding, you knew what was coming.

 

Loved the mythological creatures. I'm far from an expert, but I've been a bit of a fan of some of these Asian creatures, though mostly from a Japanese perspective, but they're all over that area of Asia. Dragon, nine-tailed fox, etc. I want to live with some shishi (the lion things) now. I wondered if Avatar's Appa was partly based on the creature Maurice/Morris(?) is, but it doesn't seem to be.

 

As soon as I heard that shouting in the compound jail, I bloody knew Trevor was there!

 

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Just got back from watching this with the kids. What an absolute treat. A real unexpected joy. 
Some really top Kung fu action in there 

Spoiler

My palms were like sweating like taps during that scaffolding sequence. 


I was a bit surprised to see 

Spoiler

Bruce though, they kind of made it seem like banner-hulk was a permanent state. 

 

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Really enjoyed this, I think they nailed a lot of the stuff in there, and the minor quibbles I had dont detract too much.

 

The main reason I wanted to see it was that I looooooove martial arts movies and was really interested in seeing how they'd do a hero who is all about the fighting on the big screen.  I was interested in Iron Fist for the same reason, and they bodged that up (season two was a bit better for fights, but the first give the Mortal Kombat TV show a run for its money in terrible fight scenes).  Marvel films often end up getting decent choreography in for the fights that then gets lost in the edit/directing.  Winter Soldier is the best example I can think of, where they've shown us behind the scenes footage of Stan and Evans doing that super quick knife fight themselves and it looking great, but the edit is cut to convey the scene being frentic, so you dont get to see it as clearly as you could.  I was concerned that a director with no experience of action films at all would make similar choices, even with Brad Allen (who is incredibly talented, or was - RIP) on board.

 

However, they did really well with the fights - Allen was on the Jackie Chan stunt team early in his career, and you can see some of that rubbing off in how well they're structured so that things happen that make sense to, and the fights arent just 2 people wailing around with little purpose, you can see what people are trying to do and actions lead to reactions, and because of that the fights are more interesting.  The actual skill on display is top notch as well, and they hold on things long enough for you to be able to clearly tell whats going on, while still making them fast paced where they needed to.  The pace and tempo of a few of the fights very much reminded me of Crouching Tigers fights, in a good way.

 

Story wise I liked it too - I enjoyed the characters and thought it handled the relationships between them well, so by the time they went into the "grander" cgi stuff at the end I was actually caring about what happened.

 

I think the main issue I would say though is that it didnt feel like it really did much until the end credits were revealed.  I mean the stakes were high, yet they didnt really feel it, coupled with (spoilers regarding the state of how the character is left at the end)

Spoiler

its unique for an origin story in that it doesnt really lead to set the character up to continue much.  Like, every other hero film, it sets them up as something - the sorcerer supreme, the solider out of time, the guardians of the galaxy off on adventures, and so on.  Wheras this, Wong turns up and says the rings did something and he should expect his life to change, but they dont hint at how, and hes not now a superhero with a mission to do anything, he almost seems about to return to his normal life.

 

Other than that, deffo in the top 10 somewhere, but probably not top 5 for Marvel films.

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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, Garwoofoo said:

This is out today on Disney+. Looking forward to watching it over the weekend.

Don't sit on this anyone cos it's a bloody great Marvel film and one of the best origins they have done. 

 

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10 minutes ago, Chindie said:

at last.

 

It only came out about six weeks ago!

 

Must admit I am loving this new approach, I still don't feel comfortable sitting in a cinema with a bunch of coughing covidiots so I'm very happy to wait a matter of weeks and enjoy big new movies in the comfort of my own home while they still feel fresh.

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1 hour ago, Garwoofoo said:

 

It only came out about six weeks ago!

 

Must admit I am loving this new approach, I still don't feel comfortable sitting in a cinema with a bunch of coughing covidiots so I'm very happy to wait a matter of weeks and enjoy big new movies in the comfort of my own home while they still feel fresh.

So far I've been 3 times since they reopened. 

 

Always barely anyone in there. No one sat close and only me coughing with my smokers cough. 

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Very much enjoyed that. Have a few issues with it, but the whole thing is a very fun and noticeably different take on the MCU and is a bit of fresh air in the series.

 

The good

Spoiler

Tony Leung is superb as a slightly more nuanced villain (he's evil, truly evil, but his motivation even as an evil man is understandable and one you can empathise with). Simu Liu is immense in a role requiring both great physical ability and having to be the front man of the whole thing. Akwafina does a great job as the comic relief manages to not be annoying... Everyone's great.

 

The action is (mostly) great. The bus fight is one of the best action set pieces on the entire franchise, the scaffold scene is very well done. The action does get worse as the film pushes to the conclusion but it's still inventive and intriguing.

 

They redeemed Trevor.

 

It's a unique take on the origin story for once - it's not just Iron Man again.

The weaker stuff

Spoiler

There's some really off CGI throughout. There's some moments that are absolutely top end blockbuster fare, but there's some really weak stuff as well - pretty much the entire final act whenever there's a human on screen there's a bizarrely (for these days) palpable feeling that it's green screened out of its arse, there's absolutely no feeling of these characters being in that world. It's also got a few moments of old school weightless CGI. This all stands out all the more when there's some stuff that is flawless.

 

The score is a bit nothing-y until the climax.

 

The end does a feel a bit like the writers got to it on a Friday afternoon and ran out of paper so just quickly scribbled 'and then they win' in the last line.

 

But, as said, really good fun.

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I continue to be surprised just how out of step with the forum I am on this, because I found in painfully average (at best), pretty boring and unengaging at worst and I disagree completely with all of this:

 

1 hour ago, Chindie said:

The good

  Reveal hidden contents

Tony Leung is superb as a slightly more nuanced villain (he's evil, truly evil, but his motivation even as an evil man is understandable and one you can empathise with). Simu Liu is immense in a role requiring both great physical ability and having to be the front man of the whole thing. Akwafina does a great job as the comic relief manages to not be annoying... Everyone's great.

 

The action is (mostly) great. The bus fight is one of the best action set pieces on the entire franchise, the scaffold scene is very well done. The action does get worse as the film pushes to the conclusion but it's still inventive and intriguing.

 

They redeemed Trevor.

 

It's a unique take on the origin story for once - it's not just Iron Man again.

 

 

In fairness, I've never had any particular love of martial arts in films because they always seem to err more on the style over substance approach, with overlong, drawn-out fights and a real lack of physicality in strikes. It is more about a balletic action, which I get, but I just don't find it engaging. Much of this is certainly true of fist-fights more traditionally seen in Hollywood (and man, Marvel heroes punching each other is also boring), but as I say, with martial arts it does lack that sense of any heft behind a strike or kick.

 

Without rehashing the thoughts I posted at the time about this, I did think both leads had a good chemistry (though I didn't rate Tony Leung's performance, again unlike most in here) and it certainly had some funny moments, but the actual story was very bland and the whole final act was not only a CGI-fest, but bad CGI and very, very boring too.

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I think you've been watching the wrong martial arts films. Try The Raid for fully bone crunching beautiful flow.

 

The choreography is often an end in itself, and much of the pleasure is watching the dance unfold. It's why a lot of martial arts films have simple stories, as the whole point of the artistry of most of them is in the action.

 

Shang Chi is a cut above the usual martial arts scenes for Marvel films, but it can't hold a candle to the best examples in the genre.

 

Martial arts films have most in common with slapstick comedy, as the setup and payoff is entirely to service the "gags".

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On 19/09/2021 at 15:39, Treble said:

I really liked this. As usual, all the good bits are the director's, and any flaws can be attributed to Disney's size 12s stomping all over sections of the plot and production. 

 

Was disappointed that neither the director or screenwriter are of Chinese extraction, which leaves me with a slightly hollow feeling when it comes to the use of iconography. Great it had such a Chinese-centric cast though, and lots of dialogue in Cantonese. 

 

Most importantly, the plot hinged on relationships much more than almost any MCU film to date. And while the pay-offs may have been a bit simplistic and under-cooked, it had heart and humour. If Black Widow's familial stuff rang hollow, this one was the opposite and I can't wait to see more of Shang-Chi and Katy's relationship. 

 

Shame they didn't make the character gay (as that seemed like the most appropriate fit) but that was never going to happen. 

 

 


Don’t let the name fool you, Dave Callahan has a Chinese mother.

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23 minutes ago, Benny said:

I think you've been watching the wrong martial arts films. Try The Raid for fully bone crunching beautiful flow.

 

The choreography is often an end in itself, and much of the pleasure is watching the dance unfold. It's why a lot of martial arts films have simple stories, as the whole point of the artistry of most of them is in the action.

 

Shang Chi is a cut above the usual martial arts scenes for Marvel films, but it can't hold a candle to the best examples in the genre.

 

Martial arts films have most in common with slapstick comedy, as the setup and payoff is entirely to service the "gags".

Isn't the Raid quite violent though? I watched the bus scene from Nobody again last night and it has physicality, an actual sense of danger, clear action and a nice flow to it - I wonder if a PG-13 version would still work? 

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3 minutes ago, Gabe said:

Isn't the Raid quite violent though? I watched the bus scene from Nobody again last night and it has physicality, an actual sense of danger, clear action and a nice flow to it - I wonder if a PG-13 version would still work? 

 

I mean it stands to reason that the more realistic and impactful you make people punching each other, the more it's not going to be very PG-13. It's why a lot of early Jackie Chan films still have 15 or 18 ratings I think.

 

But I think wanting "impact" comes from the desire for it to feel like a fight, but a lot of the time it's supposed to basically be a dance. It's why I like martial arts movies for many reasons that I could also apply to musicals.

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6 hours ago, Gabe said:

I continue to be surprised just how out of step with the forum I am on this, because I found in painfully average (at best), pretty boring and unengaging at worst and I disagree completely with all of this:

 

 

In fairness, I've never had any particular love of martial arts in films because they always seem to err more on the style over substance approach, with overlong, drawn-out fights and a real lack of physicality in strikes. It is more about a balletic action, which I get, but I just don't find it engaging. Much of this is certainly true of fist-fights more traditionally seen in Hollywood (and man, Marvel heroes punching each other is also boring), but as I say, with martial arts it does lack that sense of any heft behind a strike or kick.

 

Without rehashing the thoughts I posted at the time about this, I did think both leads had a good chemistry (though I didn't rate Tony Leung's performance, again unlike most in here) and it certainly had some funny moments, but the actual story was very bland and the whole final act was not only a CGI-fest, but bad CGI and very, very boring too.

 

Well you might be in luck- since the second half of this movie had barely anything to do with martial arts, and the after credits scene implies that that will also be the case for future appearances.

 

I find that aspect a shame really. The MCU is currently very short on any street level fist fights.

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