“Shang-Chi” 2nd Trailer Has A Dragon, And I’m Obsessed

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.

Shang-Chi
The Ten Rings | ign.com

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.

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Abomination | comicbook.com

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.

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Xialing, Shang-Chi, and Katy | vitalthrills.com

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?

Trailer Rating: 7.9/10

“Shang-Chi” 1st Trailer Introduces Marvel’s Newest Hero

Birthday presents are cool and all, but how many people get an entire Marvel movie trailer released in honor of their birthday? Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings star Simu Liu became one of the lucky few to receive that distinction this morning, as Marvel surprised him – and all of us – with a first trailer for the hotly-anticipated next installment of the MCU after Black Widow: after initially revealing a poster for the upcoming movie that, while quite beautiful, wouldn’t have given us much to talk about beyond the fact that Simu Liu’s official costume is stunning.

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Shang-Chi | collider.com

But we’ve been promised a lot of martial arts epics by Hollywood that have more often than not failed to match the visual splendor and shock-and-awe factor of action films produced in China, South Korea, and Japan. I can’t say for certain if Shang-Chi will be able to break that trend based on just a single trailer, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t optimistic – because the trailer has got the visual splendor in spades (cinematographer Bill Pope is new to the MCU, but not to action-heavy blockbusters, with the visually stunning Alita: Battle Angel being one of his most notable credits), and the wuxia elements left me both shocked and awed…possibly because, for the longest time, I was convinced Marvel would go in a much grittier direction with the character.

The first minute of trailer footage still had me worried that would be the case – but then Shang-Chi battles a magical, flowery-hat wearing, wind spirit, in a bamboo grove (and the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon parallels are so strong, I have to believe it’s Michelle Yeoh behind that green mask)…and from there, the trailer cuts to a flashback sequence, with an entire army of gravity-defying warriors fighting alongside giant lions and bats. The Mandarin (here using the name Wenwu) uses his titular Ten Rings to create magic weapons and conjure tidal waves. There’s a villain named Razor-Fist, played by Florian Munteanu, whose arms turn into glowing blades. Awkwafina drives a bus over a row of cars like this is Fast And Furious. It’s kind of zany, but that’s undeniably also part of the winning formula for genuine wuxia films.

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Shang-Chi vs Death Dealer | metro.co.uk

From what we can glean of the story, it’s clear that Shang-Chi was The Mandarin’s adopted son and one of his most powerful disciples as a child. But after letting Shang-Chi go off on his own and forget (or try to forget) his martial arts training for ten years, The Mandarin suddenly shows up again in his son’s life now that he’s an adult, with a whole bunch of threats and taunts about how he’s gone from being the right-hand man of the most dangerous and feared crime-lord in the world to working as a hotel valet and using his spare time to sing a karaoke rendition of A Whole New World (gotta love the corporate synergy there) with Awkwafina.

But Shang-Chi gets pulled back into his life of crime, and…well, I have no idea what happens next. There were rumors at one point that the film’s plot would revolve around a martial arts tournament with the prize being the Ten Rings themselves, and we see glimpses of what that might look like with Shang-Chi dueling Meng’er Zhang’s character in some kind of nightclub/crime den, but my theory (based on Zhang and Munteanu’s villains being clearly visible disembarking from The Mandarin’s helicopter behind Shang-Chi in one shot) is that The Mandarin will send them all on a globe-trotting treasure-hunt to the death. That allows for more diversity to the locations and fight-scenes than just a single building (even one with such beautiful bisexual lighting).

And speaking of diversity, one thing I really want to talk about is the fact that this film is a milestone for Asian and Asian-American representation onscreen. Building off the amazing work of Chloe Bennet and Ming-Na Wen on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi will be the first Asian-American superhero to exist inside the peripheries of the MCU proper, and the first to get his own solo movie – and that is definitely worth celebrating. There’s no need to pit these characters against each other or hate on any of them, particularly since (if their adorable Twitter interactions are any indication) it seems like Liu would love for Bennet’s Quake to cross over into the MCU at long last.

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Wenwu and Shang-Chi | finance.yahoo.com

And on that note, happy birthday to Shang-Chi himself, Simu Liu! He seems like one of the most humble, down-to-earth people working in the MCU today, but he’s going to literally fly onto our screens this September, and I couldn’t be happier for him.

Trailer Rating: 8.9/10

Michelle Yeoh May Have Just Joined “Shang-Chi” Cast!

It looks like Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings has just picked up a star whose addition to the cast should make all martial-arts or wuxia fans take notice – legendary Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh is supposedly circling a role in the superhero film.

Michelle Yeoh May Have Just Joined "Shang-Chi" Cast! 1
themarysue.com

Yeoh, the star of classic action films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (and its much-maligned but honestly fantastic sequel) and Tomorrow Never Dies, as well as the recent hit comedy Crazy Rich Asians, the TV series Star Trek: Discovery, and all four upcoming Avatar sequels, is regarded by many as one of the Asian film scene’s most respected and acclaimed onscreen talents, so it’s no surprise that she would want a role in Shang-Chi, which is hoping to become a huge hit with both Chinese and American audiences – the fact that the film is also going to include a number of intense, epic action sequences (which Yeoh excels at doing) probably doesn’t hurt either. This will not be Yeoh’s first time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as she portrayed intergalactic pirate Aleta Ogord in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 for roughly 0.1 seconds, but it seems unlikely she’s reprising that role here, as the character of Ogord probably wouldn’t have a very good reason to come to earth and interact with Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu – though it would be interesting if she did. That will make Yeoh one of a steadily growing number of actors who now play two different characters in the MCU – we can expect that number to keep growing, as Marvel continues to make up for its regrettable early trend of taking great actors, sticking them in a movie for a momentary, meaningless cameo, and then never using them again.

As for who Yeoh will be playing in this film, that’s being kept secret: with Hong Kong film star Tony Leung playing long-awaited villainous mastermind The Mandarin, and Asian-American comedian Awkwafina possibly playing his daughter Fah Lo Suee, it makes sense that Yeoh could be playing another member of this scarily efficient crime family – or she might be playing Shang-Chi’s mother (who, in the extremely antiquated and, let’s be honest, downright racist comics, is a white American woman genetically selected to be the partner of the supervillain Fu Manchu). Or she might be both: after all, it’s still somewhat unclear whether Shang-Chi will actually be part of The Mandarin’s family, or adopted, or someone else entirely. They’ve clearly got a connection, but it’s too early to determine if or how Michelle Yeoh’s character ties into that equation.

Whoever she’s playing, let’s just keep our fingers crossed that she gets to do some high-flying sword fighting and fancy footwork in this film.

How do you feel about Yeoh’s casting? Are you excited for her new role in Shang-Chi, or upset that she’s breaking MCU continuity to get there? Share your thoughts, theories and opinions in the comments below!

“Last Christmas” Second Trailer!

Another trailer has dropped for Last Christmas, so it’s time to revisit the glittery, glitzy Christmas wonderland that director Paul Feig has created, where everybody is singing George Michael and dancing around beautifully-lit London in unnaturally well-tailored outfits: and this time, we’ve got a clearer idea of what our two love-struck protagonists are up to, and what sort of – oh, who am I kidding, let’s get to the good stuff.

Our holiday heroine’s love interest, Tom (Henry Golding), has been rumored to be a ghost/hallucination/guardian angel since the first trailer dropped, with more keen-eyed viewers than me picking up on numerous details that suggested he was, at the very least, an unusual kind of fellow. I was skeptical at the time, but since then (especially since this trailer) a lot has changed…let’s take a look at the evidence.

Throughout this latest trailer, there is a heavy emphasis on the song that inspired both the film’s title, and, supposedly, its plot: but whereas George Michael’s original song refers to Christmas heartbreak, there’s no hint of anything but true love in the film – so what if the inspiration is rather more indirect? Maybe “I gave you my heart” isn’t meant metaphorically, but…physically. In this trailer, our heroine, Kate (Emilia Clarke) narrates about how, last Christmas, she was very sick, and was rushed to a hospital for treatment: what happened there is still conveniently mysterious, but it clearly affected Kate’s life in a bad way – since then, she’s taken to drinking, and has become a moody, selfish person. But now, with another Christmas just around the corner, Kate’s life is suddenly changed by a man named Tom who just randomly shows up one day at her workplace and then runs into her everywhere else she goes – now, one reading of this would be “stalker alert”, but Tom appears to be a decent guy: as in, so decent he literally doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. Does that mean he’s an angel sent to guide Kate into the next chapter of her life? Does it mean he’s the ghost of the heart donor who saved Kate’s life last Christmas by giving her his heart?

Well, not necessarily, no; it could just mean he’s a rom-com protagonist without a whole lot of depth to his character. But the situation has become a lot more intense with these new reveals.

Also, take a look at the title: the heart over the letter “i” is literally beating. At this point, I’ll be hugely disappointed if Tom doesn’t turn out to be a visitor from heaven. Another theory suggests that Tom is actually back for revenge on the woman who’s squandering the heart he gave her, which is…interesting.

And as for the rest of the trailer, it’s pretty good: there’s perhaps a bit too much stuff rehashed from the first teaser, such as the meeting with the doctor, the incident with the hawk, and the “Lazy the Elf” exchange with Michelle Yeoh’s character. Emma Thompson gets a chance to shine, as the nurturing Russian woman who cares for Kate and sings her to sleep at night – something which Kate likens to waterboarding.

So what do you think? Will Tom turn out to be a ghost, an angel, or something else entirely? How does George Michael’s music tie into the film’s plot? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Trailer Rating: 8/10