Director Destin Daniel Cretton skillfully connects Shang-Chi’s personal stakes with the larger MCU by way of an emotionally complex devil, a stellar direct with superb chemistry, and incredible activity cycles. The visuals of a mystical nature like Ta Lo could appear more uniform, and the lack of lore – apparently withheld for future MCU reveals – is annoying. But these drawbacks aren’t glaring, as the rest of the movie has so much to offer. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings carefully avoids the usual Asian-versus-Asian-American racial promises of dealing with grief and assuming responsibility by forgiving generational sins and claiming a future where predestination and hand-picked can coexist. The cinema opens in theaters on September 3, 2021.

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