MCU Breaks Hollywood Norms in “Shang-Chi” With Predominantly Asian Cast & Superhero

shang-chi

Marvel has taken the bold step of producing a predominantly Asian cast-led superhero film, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” The film is being highly anticipated and will release in theatres on Friday, September 3rd. However, it has not been announced yet when the film will be available on Disney Plus, but it’s expected to be on the platform by the mid of October.

The fact that MCU has broken the prevailing ideas of a Hollywood superhero, which usually is almost always a white actor, speaks volumes about the culture at MCU. However, the cast of the film, along with many other fans and critics, accredit this move to “Black Panther,” the late Chadwick Boseman, who was an African-American, the first person of colour to be cast as a superhero. He totally proved to be spectacular, making the “Black Panther” a global blockbuster.

The lead actor for Shang-Chi, Simu Liu, says,

When you see so much prejudice and hate going around you, we all want to meet that with an equal and opposing force of positivity and joy and celebration. And I very much think that that’s what this movie is.

Simu Liu also gave credit to Black Panther, stating,

I think ‘Black Panther’ paved the way for a movie like ‘Shang-Chi’ to exist. If that movie weren’t as incredible and as successful as it was, we would not be in a position where we have a movie with a… predominantly Asian cast. Shang-Chi features so many badass Asian heroes and heroines, each with their own perspective, each with their entry point to the story and their own set of motivations and dimensionality.

He added,

That’s what’s critically important. That’s what good representation is.

The story of the film revolves around the character, Shang-Chi, who is living a not-so-interesting, ordinary life as Shawn in San Francisco. But things change when he gets into a fight on the bus, the event gets to his head, and he decides to return home to Macao. Unfortunately, returning also meant that he would have to face his past and the terrorist Ten Rings organization.

Shang-Chi is allied by co-star Awkwafina, who plays the role of Katy, his close friend. While Hong Kong’s biggest name in the film industry, Tony Leung plays his father’s role.

The movie has gained a staggering 92% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes by critics. Such a high positive rating is not a piece of cake; very few movies receive such high praise.

The film’s director, Destin Daniel Cretton, commented about the film,

A movie like this would have blown my mind as a kid. To be able to watch characters like this who look like me and have personalities similar to my friends, and dress like me and listen to the same kind of music. And then watch them go on this crazy journey to take them to superhuman levels.

The cast of the film had a group chat recently where Liu stated,

When you see so much prejudice and hate going around you, we all want to meet that with an equal and opposing force of positivity and joy and celebration. And I very much think that that’s what this movie is.

The movie comes when hate crimes and Asian hate are on the rise all over the United States, especially considering the troubles caused by the Covid-19 and its variants. These hate crimes have initiated the #StopAsianHate movement on social media and other platforms.

Liu continued speaking about the movie, happily stating,

It’s a celebration of our culture, of our very varied perspectives across an entire spectrum of Asian characters, some of whom are from America, some of whom are from Asia, but all of whom embody a small piece of what it means to be Asian.

The MCU has made intentional efforts to fix up the hero’s past from the 1970 comic. In the original comic, Master of Kung Fu, Shang-Chi’s father was Fu Manchu, a racist stereotypical character; however, MCU has recently replaced it with Wenwu.

Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige has said,

Fu Manchu is not a character we own or would ever want to own.

Awkwafina also commented,

Anything that shines a light on groups that have not had their moment [is a positive], and I think in the superhero world, what it means for there to be a superhero like Shang-Chi, is important for kids to see a piece of themselves. We’re asking people to see our culture from a specific perspective that I think is universal in a lot of ways. So I think in that way, it does really lend itself to a conversation about openness and understanding.

Previously, Brie Larson’s character in Captain Marvel had become the strongest superhero in the MCU, but with Shang-Chi, Liu has become the most high-profile Marvel superhero to hit the big screen.

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Mohid Moosani

Moosani is a night owl who is either binge watching his favorite shows or scribbling on his notebook writing short stories. Often showing up late at work and gulping down 6-7 cups of coffee is his usual practice.

2 Responses to MCU Breaks Hollywood Norms in “Shang-Chi” With Predominantly Asian Cast & Superhero

  1. Michael says:

    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Excellent movie. Asian (Black Panther). I would watch it again, will buy it when it comes on Disney +. #shangchi

  2. Ferdinard Orumgbe says:

    Thanks for such an article. I can’t wait to watch the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. I’ve searched the internet seeking a guide to watch this movie, and i hope it comes for download soon.

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