On April 19, just in time for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the trailer for “Shang-Chi,” the first Marvel superhero starring an Asian protagonist debuted, and so far it is exceeding expectations. Analysis videos, such as the one done by New Rockstars, are flooding the internet as buzz grows around this film.
Having an Asian superhero is significant because Asians and Asian Americans are historically not represented in Hollywood, especially in American superhero film studio franchises such as Marvel and DC.
This movie is also important because of the recent rise in Asian hate crimes being committed in America and a lack of Asian heritage being represented in the media. An Asian Marvel superhero is long overdue.
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe always loves to do, this trailer is filled with subtle but significant details and amazing cinematography. Hopefully, this movie also has its own original soundtrack, similar to “Black Panther,” and it seems like it will because of the original song made by Jackson Wang for the trailer.
The trailer starts with the introduction of our main character Shang Chi (Simu Liu), who was given ten years to live a normal modest life by his father, the Mandarin (Leung Chiu-wai). We are shown a clever misdirect of a luxury car driving up, expecting Shang Chi to come out of it like other Marvel superheroes have, only to see that he is the valet.
We then flashback to Shang-Chi’s past where we see him training under his father, the infamous Mandarin, and an MI6 (British Secret Intelligence Service) assassin, the “Death Dealer”, who works for the Mandarin. We also see a preview of the ten rings, magical objects that each contain the soul of a great ancient warrior.
It seems like in this adaptation of the comic book, Shang Chi is going to find out his father is a crime lord and fight against him. We can infer this from the scenes of him and his father fighting, and the scenes where his father’s associates attempt to capture him to bring him back home.
As the music intensifies, Shang Chi is brought back to his father’s secret lair in a helicopter, similar to how Wakanda was introduced, and we are shown “Razor Fist” (Florian Munteanu), a super villain who also works for the Mandarin.
We are then shown intricate fight scenes that reflect a Chinese style of fight cinematography called “Wuxia”, where traditional Chinese martial arts heroes fight in beautiful scenery.
The trailer ends with a crowd pleasing double jump kick that takes out two bad guys, and then Shang Chi and his friend Katy (Awkwafina) destroy some nice cars trying to save people in a bus. Throughout the trailer there are hints of Asian culture, such as jade necklaces, Chinese temples, and foo dogs (Chinese guardian lions).
Overall, I am very excited for this movie and hope that it absolutely exceeds my expectations.