The first teaser trailer for Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has arrived and boy does it pack a punch!
As a big East Asian cinema and wuxia fan, I am always nervous when America tries to replicate or recreate this very unique style of filmmaking. And while this trailer has a very Western-feel about it, there is more than enough to suggest that this might be one of those occasions when it is done right! I think the director and cast, being predominantly of Asian descent, is going to be a key factor in ensuring that the essence and ethos of the movie comes across on screen and resonates with both targeted and broader audiences alike, very similar to Black Panther. Obviously, Marvel could not have predicted the real-world events that has led to the #StopAsianHate movement, but I think this movie can play an important role and as well as acting as a real showcase for Asian and Asian-American talent. It just feels like it’s a film we need right now and if the trailer is anything to go by, this film looks certain to be a huge success!
Now, I have seen some criticism online that this type of Marvel movie just won’t appeal to audiences. First of all, if you stick Marvel in front of anything, you’ve got 50% of an audience already. That’s just a fact. Secondly, I remember the same things being said about Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and Black Panther. Now, commercially, critically and from a fan perspective, those films all shut down that notion with ease. So, let’s just stop this silliness already, ok?
While my knowledge of Shang-Chi is limited, I’ve only read a few runs, I did spot a few things and Easter Eggs in this trailer that I am familiar with. There are the villains Death Dealer and Razor Fist as well as the appearance of dragons, which have a significant role in the comics. It also appears that they have made a change with in terms of Shang-Chi’s father. They seem to have merged elements of his comic book father, I’m not saying his name, with the Mandarin. Now, the main reason I haven’t read that much Shang-Chi, and I didn’t mention his father’s name, is because I find the original stories to be very problematic and very much ‘of its time’ in regards to racial stereotyping. I’m glad to see that they will be righting these wrongs. In regards to the rings themselves, this is not the first time that the ten rings have been referenced in the MCU. Go back to the original Iron Man movie or Ant-Man and you’ll see them referenced. Obviously we had The Mandarin one-shot to explain that he has been present since the very beginning, so I expect this tie-in to be referenced to show those connections to the wider MCU.
In terms of the teaser trailer overall, I think it does a great job in hyping up these new MCU characters and I think it achieves that MCU-feel while still having that USP that will allow it to stand-out as its own thing at the same time.
If you haven’t done so already, you can check out the trailer below:
Five Things From The Trailer
A New Hero Rises
I can’t help but smile when thinking of the journey that Simu Liu has been on! From a single Tweet to becoming the first Asian lead in Marvel’s first Asian-led movie, with the future prospect of becoming an Avenger? It’s been a fairy tale story but, looking at this teaser, it’s one that looks to have been earned! As Shang-Chi does not wear a mask, to pull this off you needed someone who would be able to not only act well, but perform most of the choreography and stunt work themselves, and they found their guy with Liu! I’m so hyped and excited for him and to see the character on the big screen!
The REAL Mandarin
As I have already mentioned, The Mandarin has been setup in the MCU since the very first movie. While there has never been too much attention or importance placed on the character of the rings, I do like that this has always been around, even if it was originally just an Easter Egg. Casting Tony Leung as Wenwu is such a solid choice, as he was great in Internal Affairs, Hero and 2046. It’s crazy to think that this is first time ‘breaking into Hollywood’. His range is so good, that I am already eagerly anticipating another complex Marvel villain, similar to Zemo and Killmonger.
10 Rings to Rule Them All
I very much like the fact that these are more bands than traditional rings. The rings work in the comic, but I don’t think they would have worked on the big screen. We see the rings’ power in action briefly in a few scenes but they are clearly holding their full potential back and I hope they continue to do so in any future trailers, saving these moments for the film itself!
Now, when it comes to wuxia films, I love the cinematography style of Zhao Xiaoding, Venus Keung and Christopher Doyle. I was first drawn to East Asian cinema because of the very unique and stylised visuals. While I have said multiple times in this breakdown that it has a very MCU feel to it, this scene in particular fills me with great excitement. The cinematographer for this movie is Bill Pope, whose most notable work comes from The Matrix franchise. He’s got an incredible resume, which also includes Spider-Man 2, so he’s no stranger to the superhero world! This film looks incredible and I’m very excited to see how he, and director Destin Daniel Cretton, flex their artistic muscles with this movie.
I think casting Awkwafina as Katy is a great choice and even from this teaser you just get the feeling that Shang-Chi and Katy are just going to really complement each other and form a really enjoyable on-screen relationship. While this entire bus scene looks incredible, the teaser sting ended on the typical style of humour we come to expect from the MCU and it has a heavy Ant-Man vibe about it.
What did you make of our first look at Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings? Let us know in the comments!