Breakdown and Analysis
- Part of the problem of being part of an existing IP is not doing the groundwork for the specific film, like Shang Chi. KT felt the emotional resonance was assumed without the audience being aware of his motivations.
- We discuss the twist in which Shang-Chi knew all along and his motivations change after the twist. Oti, when viewed from Wenwu’s point of view, made sense because Shang-Chi is not ready.
- The premise was set for siblings fighting against their father. Shang-Chi’s character arc was to be the strength that the family needed. He chose to bear the burdens of his family to find a middle ground which resulted in a standoff with his dad. KT did not care for the petulance with Shang-Chi. Always blaming his life on his father. Oti raises the point that Wenwu has lived for centuries and wonders why Shang-Chi didn’t do anything – in his limited power – to help his mother.
- We don’t buy that after witnessing his mother die at a young age, went on to have a well adjusted life, even without the twist of him also killing a man at that formative age. KT surmises this may be attributed to the Marvel brand and general rating of the film, but is still not pleased by it. KT references Taika Waititi’s Boy in being able to successfully address heavy themes without fully portraying them on screen.
- Oti points out that his mother met his father at his ‘peak evil’, so Shang-Chi was naive in channeling his anger the way he did. Wenwu has been out here dropping bodies.
- Shang-Chi wasn’t from his father, he was running from himself. Sentiments shared from our Residential Daddy, Oti. He placed his father as the ‘big bad’. He projected all his mistakes onto his father instead of looking within.
- We cover a popular topic in our household, Power Hierarchy. We get that Shang-Chi is the protagonist in need of a triumphant moment, however this dilutes the power of his opposition. Wenwu has been around for thousands of years however Shang-Chi was able to defeat him. He was able to take ownership of the Rings fairly easily. KT doesn’t buy that Shang-Chi is at the level where he can helm the power of half of them. Oti shares frustrations over Shang-Chi being reactive in every circumstance.
- We express incredulousness of the importance of the dragon being introduced in the last few scenes. There was enough room for lore but it was never woven throughout.
- KT takes qualm with films being made in the 2020s where the protagonist is far less interesting than their ‘right hand man’. Specifically being that Xialing had a far more compelling backstory than her brother. KT compared Zuko and Azula in Avatar the last Airbender. Xialing was conscious of their situation but owned who she was. Oti was hoping to see more of Xialing.
- Trevor was an unnecessary character as well as Razor Fist. They didn’t add value to the film and could have achieved comedic relief through Katy and Morris.
- We were conflicted on how we felt about Katy. Oti jokes that all those that can’t, use a bow and arrow. Everyone needs to do a job but if you aren’t skilled, there is a bow and arrow for you. KT does not believe the arrow was strong enough to make the fatal shot. Katy became the vessel for American/Western commentary. Anytime something would happen, Katy would bring this particular lens to the situation. We are in a universe where fantasy exists but the moment Wenwu demonstrates the maze, Katy was confused by it. This story is not rooted in reality so it is befuddling why there is a strong sense of disbelief.
- Oti compares Shang-Chi to Kendall from Succession. KT builds on the classism aspect, in that Shang-Chi might have been more laser focused on revenge if he had less.
- A lot of the aspects are unearned in this film. Shang-Chi acquiring the 10 rings, Katy being a part of the crew and the Dragon saving the day.
- KT found it hard to take this film as a superhero film. Perhaps because it felt like it was leveraging existing lore, however so does Thor. There weren’t many moments for Superhero flavoured tropes. It didn’t feel like a superhero film and not strong enough as a Chinese lore narrative. Oti disagrees, bringing the example of Shang-Chi fighting on the bus. However, once we focus on Shang-Chi’s character, it feels less so.
Unrelated but vital points
- KT turns the first impressions into a Ronny Chieng appreciation episode.
- Marvel doesn’t do it for KT, however she is never going to yuck anyone’s yum. Although, she is keen on Mahershala’s Blade.
- Oti is due for his monthly dose of Mother’s milk.
- KT is starting a petition for Ronny Chieng as Shang-Chi in the inevitable sequel.