After a year off, Marvel’s content train is full steam ahead in 2021 and the latest movie to hit screens is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Shang-Chi introduces a brand new character into the MCU and is a significant step for Asian representation in superhero films. If the trailer and reviews are anything to go by it will also be a damn good time.
Here’s an easy guide with everything you need to know before watching the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in Australia.
Who is Shang-Chi?
Shang-Chi is a martial arts master and superhero from Marvel comics.
The character hasn’t had much crossover with other notable Marvel heroes throughout his comic history, occasionally showing up to help the Avengers or appearing in the Secret Wars storyline, but he’s about to become huge in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings tells the superhero origin story of Shang-Chi. He was trained from a young age to be an assassin by his father but eventually defected and left his family to seek a new life in the USA.
As his past starts to catch up with him Shang-Chi must face the mysterious Ten Rings organisation.
Shang-Chi’s superpowers mainly lie in his incredible fighting skills. He excels at a range of hand-to-hand combat and weapon fighting styles. The character has also gained superhuman abilities from his use of the ten rings which each gift him a different elemental or psionic power.
We’ll have to wait and see how Shang-Chi’s powers are translated to the film adaptation.
What about the Ten Rings?
The Ten Rings and its leader, the Mandarin, may seem familiar to MCU fans.
The Ten Rings is a terrorist organisation that seeks to destroy world peace. It’s appeared sporadically in the Marvel timeline, most notably in Iron Man, where the group captures Tony and holds him for ransom.
The Mandarin also showed up in Iron Man 3, where he was played by Ben Kingsley. However, this turned out to be a twist with the Mandarin being a fake character used to hide the actions of the real villain of the story, Aldrich Killian.
Marvel fans can rest assured that the real Mandarin will appear in Shang-Chi in a more comic-accurate portrayal.
Who’s in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings?
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings features a groundbreaking and diverse Asian cast.
In the lead role as Shang-Chi is Simu Liu (Kim’s Convenience). He’s joined by a stellar cast that includes Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, Ronny Chieng and Tony Leung as Shang-Chi’s father, Wenwu.
The film is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12). Shang-Chi was filmed right here in Australia at Fox Studios in Sydney, so Aussies may recognise some of its locations.
Marvel has released a trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and really looks unlike anything else in the MCU.
The trailer shows off some stunning martial arts sequences and some epic fantasy elements (a dragon!?). If you look closely you’ll even see Abomination from The Incredible Hulk facing off with Doctor Strange’s Wong.
Disney has gone and dropped a second trailer for the upcoming film, showing off some of the banter we can expect from Awkwafina and Simu Liu. You can check that one out here.
Which Marvel movies do you need to watch first?
Shang-Chi is an origin story, so you’re probably fine to go into the film blind.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton has confirmed the film is set in the “present-day” MCU timeline and takes place post-Avengers: Endgame, so it may help to be aware of those events.
If you’d also like to do your research on the Ten Rings, these are the Marvel films the group has shown up in:
- Iron Man (2008)
- Iron Man 3 (2013)
- Ant-Man (2015)
Disney has also recently added the Marvel one-shot All Hail The King to Disney+ which tells the story of Trevor Slattery (aka the fake Mandarin from Iron Man 3) after his arrest and may help fill give some context before watching Shang-Chi.
What are the reviews saying?
Now that Shang-Chi has successfully premiered around the world, reviews have appeared online.
Long story short, they’re all overwhelmingly positive and full of praise for the MCU’s newest Avenger.
#ShangChi is awesome. This movie hits all that Marvel does well (pacing, humor, character) and adds action like we’ve never seen from the MCU before! ????????????????
Lots of people are about to have a new favorite Marvel hero.
Darker than expected. Loads of fun. Integral to MCU Phase 4!???? pic.twitter.com/YI3jkwLuq6
— BD (@BrandonDavisBD) August 17, 2021
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings earns the title of the best superhero film of 2021 so far. The action scenes are simply spectacular, especially the train & skyscraper scene. Best martial arts I’ve seen in a long time. Simu Liu & Awkwafina are terrific. #ShangChi pic.twitter.com/M0EEMJqKu3
— Scott Menzel (@ScottDMenzel) August 17, 2021
#ShangChi is fantastic. It's full of INCREDIBLE, beautifully choreographed fight scenes and full of badass women. Get ready to know Simu Liu's name if you don't already. Marvel has another hit on its hands. pic.twitter.com/3efV1kzJ7O
— Kirsten (@KirstenAcuna) August 17, 2021
Will Shang-Chi be on Disney+?
Unlike Black Widow, Shang-Chi did not get a simultaneous streaming release on Disney+, despite many markets around the world unable to attend cinemas due to the pandemic.
While it’s unfortunate (particularly for us Aussies!) there is a silver lining because Shang-Chi will be on Disney+ soon.
It was initially believed that Shang-Chi would arrive on Disney+ 45 days after its cinema release, which would place it sometime in mid-October.
However, Disney CEO Bob Chapek later confirmed that Shang-Chi would be released for streaming on Disney+ on Friday, November 12, to coincide with Disney+ day.
Shang-Chi: Australian release date
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is available to watch in Australian cinemas from September 2.
Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT have a revised theatrical release date of September 16, pending the lockdown situation. Regardless of when lockdown lifts you can still expect to see Shang-Chi in cinemas.
If you’re out of lockdown for Shang-Chi’s release, please go and enjoy it in cinemas! For those in lockdown here’s hoping those days until the Disney+ release (or cinemas re-open) go quickly.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.