Twenty years ago, as J.R.R. Tolkien book purists waged an online war with folks excited for Peter Jackson’s then-upcoming adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings, who would have guessed that someday Jackson’s movies would have purists of their own? Sadly, with the recent revamp of Tolkien fan-forums like TheOneRing.com, it’s rather difficult these days to find exact discussions and posts from, say, September 19th, 2001, but I can assure you that the arguments on those fan-forums back then played out much like the arguments happening nowadays over the contents of Amazon’s new series.
But the tables have turned. Amazon hasn’t done much marketing for The Lord Of The Rings just yet, but what little they have done has been designed to appeal to fans of Tolkien’s books…specifically his lesser-known, posthumously-published books. That screenshot they posted last month had all of Silmarillion twitter freaking out and urgently debating the light-source in the image (long story). But I can imagine it left some hardcore fans of Peter Jackson’s movies who haven’t necessarily read The Lord Of The Rings, much less The Silmarillion, a little confused or even underwhelmed.
I definitely don’t think Amazon helped remedy this problem by announcing that The Lord Of The Rings would be moving production on season two to the United Kingdom shortly thereafter. For fans of Peter Jackson’s movies (specifically fans who haven’t read the books, but also kind of everyone), that was another blow. New Zealand and Middle-earth have become intertwined in the public consciousness to the point where they’re nearly synonymous, for better or worse. Fans introduced to Tolkien’s vibrant fantasy world through the movies were disappointed, and it’s understandable why, even though there are upsides to filming in the UK (one being that it was Tolkien’s home-country).
All of that brings us to today’s news, which fell upon my ears like the echo of all the joys I’d ever known (bonus points if you know which chapter of The Lord Of The Rings I’m paraphrasing there). Howard Shore, the composer for both of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth trilogies, is in talks to return to the world he helped define through his phenomenal music. It hasn’t been finalized just yet, according to Deadline, but the odds seem pretty good that Shore will get to craft new soundscapes, themes, and iconic leitmotifs for the Second Age of Middle-earth.
It’s the kind of news that makes everyone happy, or at least nearly everyone. Howard Shore is a genius, and his Oscar-winning score for The Lord Of The Rings is widely regarded as one of the greatest in film history. If he boards Amazon’s series, we can be certain that the kingdoms of Númenor, Lindon, Eregion, and Khazad-dûm at its height will each have their own rich and distinctive sound, and that Shore will choose from among the most unique vocal talents of our time to back up his work with original songs (I’m just gonna namedrop Tolkien-inspired singer/songwriter Oonagh here and hope that someone at Amazon reads my blog-posts).
But best of all (at least from a business perspective), this news makes fans of Peter Jackson’s movies happy. And getting them onboard with the series is going to be crucial for Amazon if they want to have a hit. I’m not advocating for Howard Shore to simply copy-and-paste his Fellowship and Shire themes into the soundtrack for Amazon’s The Lord Of The Rings (although I’d love to hear echoes of those and other themes at appropriate moments), but I think Peter Jackson fans want a sense of continuity between the movies and the series, and this is a great way to achieve that.
And what’s even more interesting about all of this is that according to Fellowship Of Fans, Howard Shore will be joined on the series by another great composer – Bear McCreary. McCreary’s name might be less well-known to some folks, but the Emmy Award and BAFTA Award winning composer has established his own very unique style over the past decade or so, working across several different mediums and genres, on TV shows like Black Sails, Outlander, The Walking Dead, and my own personal favorite, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., dozens of films including the Cloverfield sci-fi/horror franchise, and the two most recent God Of War video games inspired by Norse mythology.
Assuming that all of this comes to pass, I foresee a lot of Emmy Awards in Howard Shore and Bear McCreary’s futures, and I can’t wait to hear some of their work soon. Who knows? Maybe…just maybe…a first trailer or teaser is already being edited together, and Amazon wants Shore’s music to really sell it for general audiences. I know that would sell it for me.
What do you think? Which composer’s work are you most excited to hear in The Lord Of The Rings? Share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!
I appreciate that the premise of What If…? would suggest that anything is possible if you simply let a timeline spiral out of control, but let’s be honest: there is no timeline out there where I don’t start this review by penning some kind of heartfelt tribute to Clark Gregg’s Phil Coulson. Once an Agent, always an Agent.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Coulson on our screens. The finale of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. was only last year, bringing a (temporary?) end to the adventures of Coulson and his crew after seven incredible seasons…but technically the original Phil Coulson died at the end of season five, and was then replaced by a Life Model Decoy with all of Coulson’s memories, so you could say the last time that we’ve really seen Coulson – like, the OG Coulson – was in Captain Marvel, where he showed up briefly in sequences set during the 1990’s. Until today, that had been his last appearance in the MCU proper (since Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is still considered to be on the fringes of MCU canon).
But the MCU keeps finding creative new ways to bring Coulson back, and at this point it’s getting mighty suspicious given all the recent rumors about Clark Gregg boarding the Secret Invasion Disney+ series (he skillfully avoided an interviewer’s question on the topic just the other day, using the kind of vague language that usually means the interviewee is wary of revealing too much). The MCU proper hasn’t ever addressed his first resurrection, the one that launched him from an untimely end in Avengers to a fresh start on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., so all of his post-Avengers appearances in the MCU have been flashbacks, but things are starting to look up.
And who could resist bringing Coulson back into the MCU proper, after watching his performance here and seeing how his character continues to connect with fans? What If…? itself didn’t trend on Twitter this morning: but Coulson did, and even cracked into the top ten trends. Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans like myself were just happy to see him again, and MCU fans who don’t watch the “non-canon” TV shows were enthused because they barely got to know Coulson in the movies. Clark Gregg, meanwhile, is at the top of his game in What If…?, delivering rapid-fire humor and characteristic charm.
One of the great things about Coulson’s character is that he’s constantly evolving. He’s died and been resurrected so many times he makes it look like an Olympic sport, but every time he’s been brought back to life Gregg finds something new to bring to his performance. Today’s episode of What If…?, for instance, highlights an unexpected story element that Gregg apparently had a lot of fun with – Coulson having a crush on Thor (this has led to a lot of confusion online because some fans jumped to the conclusion that he was gay. I can easily believe that Coulson is bisexual or pansexual, but I will not be accepting any erasure of his slow-burn romance with Melinda May).
Anyway, Coulson’s ability to cheat death time and time again is a quirky bit of meta-context to have going into this episode, which is centered around the subject of death, rebirth, and the encouraging thought that some hopes and dreams can never really die….even if all but one of the original Avengers are murdered in a string of killings that range from unsettling but family-friendly (like Thor being impaled by a rogue arrow) to downright freakish (I’m sorry, did The Hulk just inflate and spontaneously combust?). And in What If…?, the dead stay dead.
Based on the events of that fateful week between Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor, today’s episode envisions an alternate timeline where a serial killer haunts S.H.I.E.L.D., specifically targeting each of the candidates on Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)’s Avengers Initiative shortlist for mysterious reasons. This timeline’s Nexus Event is the sudden murder of Tony Stark (voiced by Mick Wingert).
Or at least, so you’re led to believe throughout most of the episode. The big twist is that this timeline had actually branched much earlier, but where the episode falls apart as a good whodunnit mystery is that the twist (which could have been really well-done) relies on so much information that is nowhere discernible through any previous clues that it just comes out of left field, and feels totally unearned and frustrating because how was anyone supposed to guess that in this universe Hope Van Dyne of all people was recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. and killed on a mission, or that her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) went off the deep end because of it?
It’s no fun to try and play along with a mystery where the answer is designed to be totally random, but at least the lead-up to the twist is thrilling and suspenseful – largely thanks to Lake Bell voicing Black Widow with a nearly-perfect blend of the wry humor sported by Widow in her earliest MCU appearances and the nuance and depth that only crept in later. She still dies by the end, but at least that fate is shared by all of her teammates so she doesn’t feel quite as singled out in What If…?. The lack of Scarlett Johansson’s voice is noticeable, but Bell is an experienced voice-actor with a lot of flexibility and range, so it’s not egregious.
More than ScarJo, what’s missing from Bell’s Black Widow performance is a great animated action sequence that really puts you back in that 2010 headspace when Black Widow was still a lethal spy and assassin who used her wits to get the upper hand in a fight. She does break out of the back of an armored van, but we barely get to see her in action there. And her final one-on-one fight with Hank Pym in a darkly-lit library is eerie and intense, but not exactly flattering to the Widow given that she’s not able to land a single punch or kick on Pym before dying (and yet somehow in the Black Widow movie, she’s able to survive a fall from the stratosphere).
A more evenly-balanced fight ensues at the end of the episode, when Hank Pym suits up in the Yellowjacket armor to duel Nick Fury over his daughter’s grave, only to get more than he bargained for when he realizes that Nick Fury is actually Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in disguise. Out of context that probably sounds even weirder than Hank Pym turning into a serial killer (to be honest, that character regression totally tracks; it’s just poorly-handled), but the fight is well-established, allows for an interesting clash of science and magic, and highlights three characters who have never been very action-oriented in live-action.
But Fury’s alliance with Loki quickly disintegrates when the God of Mischief decides to stick around on earth and simply…take over. With no Avengers ready to challenge him, his conquest is swift and decisive, and it could have ended the episode on a really sour note were it not for another twist: Fury calls in Captain Marvel (voiced by Alexandra Daniels) as back-up. And just as things are getting really interesting, that’s where the episode ends abruptly.
Now, I know last week’s episode kind of did the same thing, but that was left a little more open to interpretation. The threat of Ego didn’t necessarily feel urgent. This plays like the first half of a two-parter, and I’m left wondering where’s the second half where Nick Fury and his new Avengers take on Loki and the entire Asgardian army. You can’t just tease the possibility of war between gods and mortals, and then not follow through with that! My desperate hope is that the episode of What If…? that was reportedly moved from season one to season two because of time-constraints is the one that picks up this story thread again.
As is, this is a decent episode; nothing more. Seeing Coulson again made me happy, but honestly I think the people most likely to get a kick out of this episode are the three or four die-hard fans of The Incredible Hulk. Not only does What If…? recreate an iconic moment from the much-maligned Universal movie with Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner supplanting Edward Norton’s version, but the character of Betty Ross shows up for the first time in official MCU canon. Much to my dismay, Ross is not voiced by Liv Tyler (Stephanie Panisello takes the role instead), but hopefully this clears the last hurdle that prevented Tyler from returning in the She-Hulk series; her character’s disputed canonicity.
Ah, well. Perhaps, taking a page out of Coulson’s book, this storyline could pop up again somewhere down the line when we least expect it, and we might even get to see Nick Fury’s new Avengers in a future episode or season of What If…?, with Captain Marvel, Captain America, Betty Ross, and/or whoever else makes the cut. Never say never, am I right?
My main question coming into What If…?, and the only one this premiere episode actually had to answer, is what the framing device around each episode would be. After all, What If…? isn’t your typical Marvel Disney+ show – and not only because it’s the studio’s first animated series, but because it’s also an anthology of sorts. Each episode is largely self-contained, and each follows a different timeline in the vast Marvel Multiverse, where a single change to the canon we know can create a wholly different world and history.
My questions were mostly regarding the logistics of this bold creative choice. Would we be plunged straight into the action of a whole new universe each week, much like with WandaVision? Would each episode lead into the next, even if they were self-contained and separate? How prevalent would Jeffrey Wright’s The Watcher actually be as a narrator, and how helpful would he be as a guide to the Multiverse? The answers: no, not really, and…*vague hand gesture*
Don’t get me wrong: The Watcher has an important role, especially for general audiences. Even if you haven’t seen the finale of Loki and don’t actually know what the Multiverse is, The Watcher gives you all the information you need to know upfront – which is to say, very little, yet just enough to get a general understanding of what’s going on. The Watcher bookends the first episode with a little narration at the beginning that very swiftly and deftly picks out the nexus event in this alternate timeline that leads to Peggy Carter (voiced by her original actress, Hayley Atwell) becoming Captain Carter, and then a brief closing monologue about how he never interferes in the timeline.
Sadly, The Watcher doesn’t show up at all between those two points – which makes him a lot less interesting as a character. I get that he can’t, or won’t, interfere with the timelines he watches over even though they’re already in chaos thanks to Loki and Sylvie, but it would have been nice if he at least took a more active role as a narrator, giving us some colorful commentary on the action of each episode. He certainly has strong feelings and opinions on things. I would like to hear more from him.
And I almost feel as though that kind of commentary would have helped to save this episode from turning into the choppily-edited, massively-abridged, unfocused highlight reel of Captain Carter’s life and career that it very quickly becomes.
You know the little Marvel: Legends recaps that Marvel’s been releasing in front of each of their shows that focus on a returning character’s greatest moments in the MCU? This episode plays like a recap, except that each of the “greatest moments” in this case seems to have been selected not for what they say about Captain Carter as a character, certainly not for what they illuminate about the differences between her and Steve Rogers (Josh Keaton), but for how they reference, parallel, or directly overlap with Steve’s own adventures as Captain America in The First Avenger – thereby robbing Captain Carter of much of her individuality and independence.
In terms of runtime, this episode also feels like a highlight reel at a lean twenty-nine minutes (not including credits) – and rather than work with that time limitation and design this episode with the style and aesthetic of a 1940’s news reel, which would have been really clever and fun, this episode just feels breathless and hectic. Everyone is delivering their dialogue at breakneck speed, sometimes barely even pausing between lines to a point that becomes seriously grating on the ear – again, as though it’s being edited on the assumption that the stuff in between the dialogue isn’t important.
There’s nothing I would call a unique character moment, because there’s barely any space to fit a character moment in here at all – so the episode relies on recycling beats from The First Avenger, but with Steve and Peggy’s roles swapped. Just like in the universe we left behind, they still fall in love, one of them still ends up sacrificing themselves to save the world and returns seventy years later, and they even make the exact same promise to share a dance one day, except that here it just comes out of the blue and feels totally unearned. Dominic Cooper’s Howard Stark comes closest to having a character moment, and it’s literally just one line about a weekend with Hedy Lamarr.
So what do we get instead? A lot of plot. In fact, the entire plot of The First Avenger – a two-hour and four-minute long movie – condensed into just less than half an hour. And that’s because this episode basically follows The First Avenger beat-by-beat, without really diving into the unique consequences of Peggy Carter specifically not only becoming the first Super-Soldier, but quite forcefully seizing the serum after an incident in Doctor Erskine (Stanley Tucci)’s laboratory that forces her to take the lead.
The nexus event that’s supposed to precipitate everything is Peggy refusing to leave the laboratory floor during the experiment on Rogers. But What If…? recreates the scene with a couple of other noticeable alterations that you’d think might also mess up the timeline, including the addition of John Flynn (Bradley Whitford) – an obscure character from Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter – and the fact that everyone else is on the laboratory floor along with Peggy, which makes this feel like less of an empowering feminist moment and more like a joint decision by all the Strategic Science Reserve top brass. The date of the Red Skull (Ross Marquand)’s raid on Tønsberg is also pushed back, and somehow despite having the Tesseract in his possession for a far shorter period he’s suddenly able to summon monsters from other dimensions?
But from that point on, the basic structure of the story remains unchanged. A string of awesome action sequences prevent the episode from ever becoming downright boring, but it’s not exactly entertaining either once you realize that Peggy is no longer getting to make her own decisions, she’s just running through a checklist of all the things Steve did that she now has to repeat. Rescuing Bucky and the other guys of the 107th, and forming the Howling Commandos? Check. Losing her best friend during a mission in the Swiss Alps that involves ziplining onto a Nazi bullet train? Check. Storming a HYDRA fortress, and supposedly dying in a heroic self-sacrifice? Also check.
And that really annoys me because there’s so much more this episode could have played with, even in its slim runtime! Peggy is a much more forceful presence than Steve Rogers, both in the main timeline and this one, so it makes sense that she’d get onto the front lines a lot faster than Steve, without going through the awkward middle stage of being sent around the US on a military propaganda tour, but we could have explored more of how Peggy being a woman affects the way she’s expected to behave as Captain Carter, and how she defies the expectations of her in her own way.
For instance, perhaps the SSR and the US military wouldn’t have felt comfortable about flaunting her as they did with Steve – after all, she doesn’t perform her first heroic deed in public in this timeline, so there’s no pressure on them to do so. We could have dived into the covert side of the SSR, with Peggy being used only on secretive stealth-missions while the SSR fast-tracks an effort to find her replacement behind her back. They basically find one in Steve Rogers, ironically. He becomes a kind of proto-Iron Man alongside Captain Carter, donning a flying metal suit called the HYDRA Stomper. But the episode is too busy working in their romance to explore any conflict there.
It would also have been interesting to see how Peggy embodies the marriage of British brawn with American (and technically German) science, and how that affects the political situation in her universe. She might have been hailed as a symbolic representation of the alliance between the US and the UK, and both countries might have fought over her behind the scenes. What If…? certainly emphasizes her Britishness in a way the movies didn’t, with Captain Carter wearing the Union Jack on both her suit and vibranium shield, all while still working for the US. But this odd detail is somehow never mentioned, and What If…? doesn’t so much as toy with the idea of calling her Captain Britain.
And what about the effect it has on her enemies? In The First Avenger, I always got the sense that the Red Skull’s loathing of the US, which even led to him trying to bomb New York, was derived from his intense personal grudge against Steve Rogers. But in What If…?, his grudge is with Peggy Carter – and though the episode barely touches on their dynamic because time restraints, I can’t help but wonder if he’d have launched a full-scale attack on her country of England instead of targeting Steve Rogers’ hometown? I’d have loved to have seen some twist on the Battle of Britain.
Speaking of battles, let’s touch on one of my favorite things about the episode – the action. Animation has always been a great medium for action-heavy stories, because in animation you’re free to play fast and loose with logic and the laws of physics in ways that live-action can’t consistently replicate, even if you are willing to endanger the lives of countless stunt doubles and pay for massive amounts of CGI. Think of how Ahsoka Tano moves in The Clone Wars and in Star Wars: Rebels, with the kind of fluidity and flexibility that make her fight scenes mesmerizing to watch – that’s how Captain Carter moves in What If…?. She flies, she twirls, she high-kicks Nazis, we love to see it.
But that’s what makes it so disappointing that we don’t get to see more of her as a character – or even just anything that feels like a direct consequence of Peggy Carter, specifically, becoming a Super-Soldier. The very structure of What If…? would seem to allow for more character-driven storytelling, even necessitate it. Characters making decisions they’re not supposed to is how we end up with alternate timelines in the MCU. But Peggy is stuck doing everything Steve did, the only real twist being that she looks a hell of a lot cooler (wearing flawless victory curls in the heat of battle is a whole mood), and fights better too. Oh yeah, and the Red Skull gets crushed to death by a cosmic Cthulhu that I’m stubbornly choosing to believe is Hive from Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., but that really doesn’t have anything to do with Peggy.
Yet that, I’m afraid, is how many of the episodes of What If…? that simply revolve around one character taking up another’s mantle will ultimately play out – as if the plot beats are more important than the characters and their individual actions, as if it doesn’t really matter who’s the first Avenger because they’re still going to have to do all the same things as Steve Rogers and end up in the same place eventually. I hope that once we get into episodes with more unique concepts, we’ll see more character-driven storytelling and perhaps have a chance to slow down a bit and actually explore all these new corners of the Multiverse that we just kind of rushed through in this premiere.
Simu Liu was apparently either playing coy or choosing his words very carefully when he told NBC News that Marvel’s Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings would not feature one of the character’s iconic opponents from the comics, the dragon known to most fans as “Fin Fang Foom” – a name which Liu cited as being among the original comics’ more “questionable elements”. And I believe that Liu was telling the truth about Fin Fang Foom not being in the new movie…but he never said there wouldn’t be a dragon. In fact, Funko Pop leaks from a few months ago basically already revealed that there would be a dragon in Shang-Chi, but the new trailer confirms it outright.
Most fans are still referring to the dragon as Fin Fang Foom, but I’m pretty certain that name will never be used in the film, and I can understand why. The dragon doesn’t seem to have a new name just yet, but like the original character they’re an underwater leviathan, probably located under the island of Madripoor as in the comics. Luckily, audiences were just introduced to Madripoor in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, and I think most of us will jump at the chance to return to the island and dip into its treasure trove of obscure references and Easter eggs, this time with a movie-sized budget to support bigger action sequences. One has to hope we’ll see the dragon rise from the ocean and wreak havoc in the capital of Madripoor, but I may be getting ahead of myself.
Another big reveal, which completely overshadowed the literal dragon for reasons unbeknownst to me, was the long-awaited return of Abomination – a character last seen in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, a movie most consider to be on the fringes of MCU canon. Abomination was expected to return, with Tim Roth reprising the role, in next year’s She-Hulk Disney+ series, but apparently we’ll catch up with him a lot sooner, given that he most definitely shows up in the stinger of this Shang-Chi trailer, with a slight but significant refinement of his original look that finally gives him his comic-accurate fins. Personally, I couldn’t care less about Abomination, except insofar as the explanation for his reappearance could finally decide the fate of the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. canon.
You see, Abomination’s first and last onscreen appearance may have been in The Incredible Hulk, but the last time he was namedropped was actually in Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. season one, when Coulson mentioned that he was being kept in a cryo-cell in a S.H.I.E.L.D. base in Barrow, Alaska. All I need is for Abomination to mention being locked up in Alaska at one point, and I’ll be ecstatic. It would be so simple, so incredibly easy, for the MCU to at the very least acknowledge that Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s first and second seasons existed with a single offhand comment, that if they don’t, I’ll be deeply disappointed. Not bringing back the S.H.I.E.L.D. team would also be a missed opportunity, given that Shang-Chi‘s Simu Liu and S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Chloe Bennet already have an adorable friendship, and that Ming-Na Wen has arguably never been more popular, while the character she originated on S.H.I.E.L.D., Melinda May, recently returned to the pages of Marvel Comics.
Sorry for the rant. While we might not see either of those awesome Asian-American women or their incredible characters interact with Shang-Chi, there’s a decent chance we’ll see Benedict Wong reprise his role as Wong, the powerful sorcerer whom we’ve only seen up to this point assisting Doctor Strange. The Shang-Chi trailer reveals at least one sorcerer battling Abomination in some kind of cage-fight, and, well, everyone on Twitter has decided it’s Wong. It could also be a totally random sorcerer, given that pretty much anyone is capable of mastering the mystic arts in the MCU (it’s one of the few superpowers you don’t have to inherit or be abducted by aliens to obtain).
On that note, a huge reveal that a lot of MCU stans just totally ignored was the appearance of legendary actress Michelle Yeoh, who is playing a mentor figure to Shang-Chi by the name of Jiang Nan – and who tells Shang-Chi that, whether he likes it or not, he is “the legacy” of his family; including his notorious father, the criminal mastermind Wenwu (another character better known to comic readers by an outdated nickname, The Mandarin). I expect much of this film to revolve around themes of legacy and choosing one’s own destiny, hopefully with a found-family trope thrown in for good measure. You know I love a found-family, and can it please involve Razor-Fist? I know he’s trying to kill Shang-Chi, but he’s just so wonderfully ridiculous.
And honestly, anything is better than Shang-Chi’s biological family, based on what we learn from this trailer about Wenwu’s atrocious parenting skills. Little is being said of Shang-Chi’s mother, who is presumably either dead or in hiding, but Wenwu is the film’s primary antagonist – and I hope for Shang-Chi’s sake that Jiang Nan is right, and that he isn’t defined by his father’s cruelty and malice. Wenwu is a great warrior, certainly, but being gifted with immortal life and a set of ancient alien artifacts – the titular Ten Rings – has made him ruthless and possessive. Shang-Chi going after the Rings will be the breaking-point in their already tenuous relationship, leading Wenwu to turn on his son and challenge him to a classic Third Act CGI Showdown™.
Okay, that’s a little harsh. I happen to like quite a few of the MCU’s Third Act CGI Showdowns™, and this one seems to revolve around a clever manipulation of the Ten Rings, which levitate eerily between the two characters as they harness the Rings’ energy like rope in a game of tug-of-war. I just kind of wish the energy was…I don’t know, invisible or something, so the battle could be a bit more visually interesting than characters throwing multi-colored CGI at each other, especially after that was one of the main criticisms of WandaVision‘s finale. But who knows? This might not even be the final fight between the two, and we are only seeing a fraction of it anyway. As long as there are proper martial arts fight scenes in a movie about Marvel Comics’ greatest martial artist, I’ll take whatever this is.
To be honest, this trailer felt more like a teaser than the actual teaser put out back in April, but it still makes me very excited for Shang-Chi, largely because the visuals and cinematography look stunningly beautiful, the cast is excellent, the fight choreography is promising, and there’s a dragon now. How could I not be excited, when there’s a dragon?