As the Marvel Cinematic Universe proceeds further into its Phase 4 story arc, one might notice that the franchise’s more superhuman characters are in limited series on Disney+ while the films are headlined by “normal human” leads. While Wanda/Scarlet Witch and Vision as well as Loki were busy in their respective shows, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow went to action one last time (in a solo film that was actually a Phase 3-set prequel), and then Shang-Chi used his lifelong martial arts training to stand against the secret society led by his father who wore magical iron rings. True, there were dragons in the end of that movie but it was still primarily a Kung-Fu adventure.
But the premise seems more than enough as told by Comic Book Resources to secure for Marvel Studios’ “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” one of the most impressive box office runs this year. Bear in mind that this is still all happening in the middle of a global pandemic that could see some North American domestic and international markets close their theaters when the film is supposed to be releasing. Building from a September US Labor Day weekend premiere, “Shang-Chi” now has a US-Canada gross of $145.6 million and $112 million globally, for a $257.6 million total.
Speaking of the box office, its earnings have put this MCU blockbuster (in pandemic terms) as the Top 8 Best Movie of 2021 in the US, and the Top 6 US-Produced Movie worldwide. But the appeal of “Shang-Chi” was felt by critics too. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has the film at a 92% “fresh” rating from 269 total reviews. Metacritic was a bit tougher with 71 out of 100 from 51 critics, but still “generally favorable.” This is the new best-reviewed MCU installment thus far.
“Shang-Chi” stars Simu Liu as the titular character, a martial arts expert trying to escape the influence of his father Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), leader of the Ten Rings society who has lived millennia thanks to the power of the eponymous Ten Rings. The Ten Rings were initially seen in the very first MCU movie, 2008’s “Iron Man,” with this film being the first time its leadership has taken center stage. Other cast members include Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh and Sir Ben Kingsley. “Shang-Chi” is still playing in cinemas globally, where available if not closed by COVID.
Image from Box Office Mojo