Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the first of the studio's films to centre on an Asian superhero. After a long, long wait, the title character finally takes centre stage in his own trailer, which promises to fuse Doctor Strange-esque psychedelia with a major dose of kung-fu. Who doesn't love that pitch?
Simu Liu portrays the eponymous Shang-Chi, trained from a young age by his father to be combat-ready and prepared for everything a harsh world can throw at him. However, a deadly threat is coming in the form of nefarious crime lord The Mandarin. That's pretty much it as far as plot is concerned – this is really all about the action sequences.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton (best known for indie dramas such as Short Term 12) is looking to exploit Liu's abilities with plenty of eye-catching hand-to-hand fight sequences (look out for the one on a crowded bus), and the supporting cast features several luminaries from Hong Kon cinema. This includes Tony Leung (famed for Wong Kar-Wai's lusciously beautiful In the Mood for Love) as the dreaded Mandarin.
The twist is that The Mandarin is Shang-Chi's father, a significant deviation from the Marvel comics. In the original source material, Shang-Chi's dad was martial arts master Fu Manchu. The change to the film's storyline promises an intriguing variation on the typical hero/villain battle with the title character defying his father's wishes to stand by his side.
But it's not all doom and gloom. Scene-stealer par excellence Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians; The Farewell) is on hand as Shang-Chi's bus-driving (and destroying) sidekick. It sounds like we'll need all the laughs we can get when the world is in such danger.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is due for release in UK and Ireland cinemas on 3rd September 2021. Excited? Let us know @Cineworld.