In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, actor Simu Liu’s title character is a kind of Michael Corleone of the superpowered underworld: Just when he thought he was out, he is pulled back in again.
That’s at least one way to look at Marvel’s upcoming martial arts blockbuster, as it becomes very clear in the trailer above that Tony Leung’s Wenwu/The Mandarin — Shang-Chi’s birth father — is, however complex, not necessarily a good guy. Not many fathers, even in superherodom, ever say something to their sons like, “I told my men they wouldn’t be able to kill you if they tried. Glad I was right.”
There wouldn’t be much of a movie if they succeeded, either.
Here’s the Marvel synopsis for Shang-Chi — it’s a case study in summarizing the story and not giving away much of anything: “Shang-Chi must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization.”
The Wikipedia entry about the Marvel story is pretty informative, but there have been -- as is often the case with Marvel -- some substantial changes made to certain characters to sidestep problematic racial stereotypes in the original saga.
In late 2020 Marvel had pushed the opening of the movie to July of 2021 due to coronavirus pandemic measures, but its final premiere date was moved again. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, starring Liu, Leung, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu and Ronny Chieng hits theaters with a flying spin kick on September 3, 2021.