Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the new arc of the superhero franchise following the epic conclusion that was “Avengers: Endgame,” technically has already begun. The streaming series that have started on Disney+, namely “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” are part of MCU Phase 4, and they became the first salvo because the primary components, the films, could not premiere because cinemas were closed by the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. Now, no less than four MCU Phase 4 films are expected to premiere this 2021. The second of these just got a trailer released this past Monday.
Comic Book Resources tells us that Marvel Studios has revealed the first trailer for “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” the second MCU Phase 4 film after “Black Widow” starring Scarlett Johannson. Simu Liu stars as Shang-Chi, first introduced on Marvel Comics in 1973 as the Master of Kung Fu. Trained in the martial arts and assassination since childhood, Shang-Chi would turn against the ambitions of his father, originally the caricature Chinese villain Fu Manchu before Marvel altered the backstory retroactively to make him an original character. This origin is featured in the trailer, but with ties to another stereotypically Oriental Marvel baddie originally opposed to Iron Man.
The trailer begins with Liu’s Shang-Chi in an Oriental-style home, reminiscing as he examines a Kung Fu training post with a visible punch mark. Following this are intercut scenes of a young Shang-Chi undergoing harsh training under a masked instructor, and an older him living a simple life as a manual worker in San Francisco, making friends and scraping enough to go by. All the while the sinister voice of Shang-Chi’s father Wenwu/Mandarin (Tony Leung) disparages his son’s lifestyle and bids him to return to his side with the malevolent secret society, the Ten Rings.
And of course being a Kung Fu superhero film, “Shang-Chi” delivers the goods with the main character fighting foes mundane, technological and supernatural. Through his misadventures he is accompanied by his co-worker Katy (Awkwafina) who finds the guts to help her friend even as out of her depth as she is. Director Destin Daniel Cretton delivers some pretty good personal interactions combined with slick Wire-Fu martial arts action and MCU CGI spectacle, where one will believe that a “normal” man with nothing but his Kung Fu mastery can stand toe to toe with super beings.
Also starring Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu (“Creed II”) and Ronny Chieng, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” premieres this September 3 after “Black Widow” which comes out July 9.
Image courtesy of Vanity Fair