Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings sets new box office records


Photo courtesy of Jasin Boland.

Elements of Chinese culture are woven in throughout the set design, however all of the wooden “carvings” seen throughout the film were actually made of foam.

     Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was a box office hit on its opening weekend. It crushed the previous Labor Day weekend record-holder, “Halloween,” with $71.4 million in domestic ticket sales over the holiday weekend.

     “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is Marvel’s second-largest grossing movie release during the pandemic, coming in behind “Black Widow.” As opposed to being released in theaters and on Disney+ simultaneously like “Black Widow,” “Shang-Chi is currently only available in theaters. It will play exclusively in theatres for 45 days until becoming available for streaming on Disney+.

     “I think since there are now more theaters open and more people are going to them, it is nice to be able to go to a theater again instead of watching new releases at home like we have had to do for the past year,” senior Cora Thompson said. “I was worried theaters would start going out of business in favor of streaming services, but getting big name movies back into theaters is a good way to ensure they stay open.”

     In 2018, after Marvel made it known publicly that work on Shang-Chi had begun, actor Simu Liu jokingly tweeted at Marvel, saying, “OK @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi.” Little did he know, months later he would be casted into the leading role of Shang-Chi.

     “I mean I thought his performance was pretty good.” senior Daniel Mitchell said.

     Other big names such as Awkwafina appeared in the film. She played the role of Katy, Shang-Chi’s quick-witted, longtime best friend.

     “I’m always a little hesitant when I see Awkwafina in a movie because I usually find her characters to be too heavily relied upon as a source of comedic relief, and they generally just aren’t my favorite, but I actually really liked her in this movie because she was a more well rounded character that brought more than humor to the table,” Thompson said.

     As the Marvel Cinematic Universe enters its next phase, a plethora of origin stories for new superheroes have arrived.

“I thought that [the movie] was just as good or even better [than other origin films].” Mitchell said.

    Shang-Chi is the first Asian-led Marvel movie, and elements of Chinese culture are incorporated throughout the film, whether it be in architecture or the portrayal of Asian diaspora.

     “I am not Chinese, so I can’t speak to the accuracy of the representation of the culture, but I can say that watching this movie made me want to learn more about Chinese legends and culture because it seemed so vibrant and interesting,” Thompson said. “I felt like this movie did not feel the need to push parts of Chinese culture that Americans know to an exaggerated extent like we sometimes see in media, and it was refreshing.” 

     The official plot synopsis reads, “Shang-Chi must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization.” The Ten Rings organization made its first appearance in “Iron Man”, and later on in “Iron Man 3” and “Ant Man and the Wasp.” The movie explores the history of the so-called “terrorist organization” and its role in the modern day Marvel Cinematic Universe.

     “This movie is obviously something I think fans of Marvel should watch because it will tie in to past and future movies as everything in the MCU does, but at the same time this movie would be just as good if I had never seen a single other Marvel movie because it doesn’t require knowledge of the MCU to enjoy,” Thompson said. “I thought all the characters were really enjoyable and well developed, and the fight scenes were incredible, as expected with Marvel movies.”