Shang-Chi

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"Honor is not in the Weapon. It is in the Man"
For those who have seen the trailers, there is a character known as the Death Dealer. He's the masked ninja with the ponytail seen during Shang-Chi's training. The actor who plays the Death Dealer is Andy Le, who has gained a following on YouTube with his team Martial Club. Le also performed all of his own stunts in the film. Here's his action reel


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"How tall is King Kong ?"
Since Fu Manchu was not an original Marvel Comics character, I don't really have a problem with him being replaced by the Mandarin (an Iron Man enemy who first appeared in Tales of Suspense #50 in 1964).
Not that I care about this movie at all (I'm really not into martial arts flicks), but I'm very relieved that Fu Manchu is out.

Not because of the racism (although Fu Manchu is a hilariously racist character in Sax Rohmer's hilariously racist universe), but because Fu Manchu is its own thing, its own world, with its own charm (which ridiculously dated orientalist colonial racism is an element of). We already had Marvel going all Disney before Disney, appropriating themselves outside characters (Thor, Hercules, etc), distorting them and incorporating them in their own universe. So, seeing a Marvel Fu Manchu would feel, to me, like suddenly having Sherlock Holmes as a Marvel character with a green cape and a magnifying eye. Or having the Frankenstein monster popularized as, well, Frankenstein.

Thing is, I'm quite fond of Fu Manchu, as a western fantasy about the (oh so mysterious and sneakily threatening) Far East. And if its unacceptable racism is what protected it from being marvelized or disneyed, I see it as a strange stroke of luck.

That being said, I really liked the Mandarin twist in that Iron Man movie, and I'd be sorry of they walked back on that. Not that it'd matter immensely.
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10 years of excellence in denim
Anybody see this? It broke the Labor Day record, but I don’t know anyone that has seen it or is talking about it other than websites.

I think it’s a sign I’m probably falling out of the demographic.



I saw this. It was okay.

I appreciated the handful of small ways it felt different from other MCU films, but those were, well, small. Obviously some of the fight choreography was very cool and very fun. It was nice to not have to roll my eyes into the back of my head when people started kicking, punching, and grappling like I sometimes do in other action films because I have no reason to expect it's going to look any better or different than all the other examples of it I've seen. But a lot of it still did. Obviously the bus and scaffolding fights were a bit more inventive.

Without giving too much away, some of the creature design stuff was quite cool. Some of it felt out of place, too, and the characters felt really, really thin, but there's some genuinely spectacular visuals in there and, again, at least it felt different. I say this a lot, but you can kinda see the better film hiding inside this one.




Gave it the same rating, Yoda.

It did some things differently and the whole look in terms of locations, costume and production design etc made it stand out a bit. But it was still too by the numbers superhero movie for me.

Surprisingly, considering the ratings going around, I liked Eternals more than I liked Shang-Chi…



I'm a little concerned about the quality of the MCU. It hasn't fallen off a cliff or anything, but everything is just 20% worse. I'm thinking more of the shows on Disney+, to be fair, even though one might reasonably expect a drop off there, but they're also putting a lot of time and money into them, so maybe not.

It's hard to put my finger on, but it's definitely a trend. Like obvious laugh lines that aren't as funny. Lines obviously meant to be quoted that aren't as quotable. They have the cadence of the better MCU films but the execution is off. It's like they've got the B team working on all the latest stuff, which I guess maybe they do in many cases. There's so many of these, and only so many really talented people to work on them, let alone finding the right talent married to the right material (James Gunn's great for Guardians of the Galaxy but he wouldn't be right for Captain America).

Might just be a blip. But it also might be that there's enough of this stuff out there that we increasingly have to distinguish between the big event films that get the AAA treatment and attention that almost all MCU films were getting in the earlygoing, and the ones that are a bit more rote.



That elusive hide-and-seek cow is at it again
I'm a little concerned about the quality of the MCU. It hasn't fallen off a cliff or anything, but everything is just 20% worse.

I'm guessing by that line you've not yet seen The Eternals. That one was rough.


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I mostly enjoyed Sheng-Chi. It may have been the differences that kept my interest, I'm not sure. The comic relief surprise helped and seemed fitting enough. Action was better than I expected while other bits felt kind of generic. It was around the same surprised enjoyment I had with Real Steel and Ant Man.



I'm guessing by that line you've not yet seen The Eternals. That one was rough.
Yeah, not yet. I've heard it's not great. But also, even if it's not great, it seems like it's at least different enough that it might not be part of the "same but just worse across the board" thing. I'm down for interesting failures now and then. It's the decline into mediocrity that you worry about.



10 years of excellence in denim
When I think of the “Infinity” phase, I go to all these characters that were somewhat part of a cultural folklore.*

Growing up with the s_____y plastic masks held on by a piece of elastic and 2 staples. The throwaway Marvel trinket bought to shut up a petulant child.

There was a passive(?) familiarity, an equity built in with those characters. Now, I just have little interest, short of a crazy character like Moon Knight. Even then, I’m not watching a series.

It seems as a whole to be tiresome. Like, let it breathe. Then again, I can’t explain how Batman is evergreen. Have you seen that trailer?



A system of cells interlinked
Saw this recently. Really felt like a "MCU does an Yi-Mou Zhang Movie" to me. Some of the scenes with Maggie Cheung were lifted almost wholesale from films like Hero. For the most part, didn't really feel like a Marvel movie, which doesn't really bother me, because I think we could all use a break from run-of-the-mill MCU art this point.

Concerning Awkwafina: As with anything else I have seen her in, she is both annoying and somehow one of the best parts of the movie. It's this weird thing where, while she is in a scene, I am thinking "dang, this chick is annoying," but when she is absent from the proceedings, I am think "bring back the funny chick!"

Overall, I liked this, but like some others in the thread, I think the quality of the MCU in general has taken a hit.

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Concerning Awkwafina: As with anything else I have seen her in, she is both annoying and somehow one of the best parts of the movie. It's this weird thing where, while she is in a scene, I am thinking "dang, this chick is annoying," but when she is absent from the proceedings, I am think "bring back the funny chick!"
As they say, familiarity breeds contempt, while absence makes the heart grow fonder.