The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has done something that has never been done before: the introduction of the first Asian superhero on the silver screen. As someone who was born in the ’90s, we grew up watching and idolizing the likes of Jackie Chan and Jet Li for showing off top-tier martial arts choreography in films not just in local productions but extending to Hollywood as well. I couldn’t help but feel a hint of nostalgia watching how Simu Liu, portraying the title character Shang-Chi, executed those moves perfectly. Director Destin Daniel Cretton directed the 25th film in the MCU and said: “I never had a superhero who I could identify with when I was a kid, and to be able to have an option for a new generation of kids who look like me or who have a similar background as me, that’s very special.” Awkwafina, who plays Katy, Shang-Chi’s best friend also added: “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,”
“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.”Awkwafina
2020 has been a challenging year especially for Asians and Asian Americans living in foreign countries as they have been the constant subject of discrimination and hate crimes ever since the coronavirus wreak havoc in different parts of the world. Movements have been made on social media with the hashtag #StopAsianHate in a call to end worldwide violence. The film helped promote Asian empowerment despite the trials.
Crazy Rich Asians. Parasite. Those are just some of the Asian-led films that broke ground in the Hollywood scene. This year, we have Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. They didn’t spare any budget in going all out in terms of casting legendary names in Asian cinema such as Michelle Yeoh, playing Shang-Chi’s aunt and mentor Ying Nan, and Tony Leung Chiu-wai, notably playing the antagonist Xu Wenwu alias The Mandarin. The film was also praised for its visual effects and the exploration and representation of Asian culture. This just goes to show how such films can easily measure up to some of the masterpieces Hollywood has produced over the years.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now showing in a theatre near you.