Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Turnaround, Aug 20, 2021.

  1. maccafan

    maccafan Senior Member

    In some cases that's true, for instance, Captain America and Iron Man. I believe in giving credit where due, but take for instance Thor and more recently the so-called Eternals. They didn't respect the source material at all turning Thor into a total joke and the totally unnecessary PC changes to the Eternals is a total disrespect to Kirby's legacy!
    I totally agree, doesn't seem like too much to ask, just do the comic and characters accurately!
     
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  2. shark shaped fin

    shark shaped fin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sort of my point. I backed it up with just as much evidence as you have for virtue-signaling in reviews.

    Anyway sincerely no offense, I just really don’t jibe with the use of that specific phrase, all too often used as a way people other than yourself can obliquely dismiss minority artists or movements by attacking those who praise or support them, suggesting the praisers or supporters are not being sincere in their beliefs but merely wanting to score points for being a good person. I think predicting a film’s possibly good reviews before it’s even released will be perhaps based on its diversity and not entertainment merit shows at a certain cynicism I don’t really share. I prefer to optimistically believe this film might be excellent due to the cast (Tony Leung in particular) and usual MCU quality control, which almost always promises a good time. I even thought The Dark World was decent enough.
     
  3. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Not all, just enough of them to bump its tomato rating up 5 or 10 points. So under 50 of the 525 reviews.

    I had a list of 10 or so reviews that mentioned it I posted somewhere 5 years ago. No idea where that was now. This article at least mentions it came up as a divisive issue in reviews:

    A 'spectacular trip', or a 'tasteless' co-opting of Auschwitz? What the critics thought of X-Men: Apocalypse

    Critics were particularly divided over the film’s discussion of the holocaust. The Hollywood Reporter was “appalled”; Inverse found it "shocking and deeply uncomfortable... wildly unnecessary". But the Guardian defended the scenes set in Auschwitz: “In a movie with less artless and forthright vehemence, and one with greater pretensions to middlebrow good taste, this could hardly have worked, but [Bryan] Singer brings it off here.”
     
  4. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so

    Good question. I think the answer is they no longer have rights to the Fu Manchu material.
     
  5. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Zheng Zu (Earth-616)
    • Fu Manchu was originally created by British pulp novelist Sax Rohmer (real name Arthur Sarsfield Ward) and was the eponymous antagonist in several novels and anthologies published between 1913 and 1959. Fu Manchu's greatest adversaries were Sir Denis Nayland Smith and Doctor Petrie (also creations of Sax Rohmer). Fu's infamous son, Shang-Chi, is a character unique to the Marvel Universe and has no pulp era counterpart. As Marvel Comics Entertainment no longer maintains the license to use Fu Manchu as a character; he is seldom referenced in comics but does occasionally appear under an assumed name. His daughter, Fah Lo Suee, is also Rohmer's creation, which is also called by other names. The Marvel Comics version of Fu Manchu was first developed by Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart.
     
  6. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Regardless of whether you meant all critics or just two or three of them, you haven't cited any evidence to support your assertion that any of them wrote favorable reviews specifically because of a desire to be politically correct. You are making an assumption that their reviews were influenced by bias, without any direct evidence. My point remains that that's no different than someone else making an assumption (sans evidence) that a review was influenced by racism. In either case it's possible, but absent evidence it's not something that can be claimed with certainty as you've done.

    Just because say critic Todd McCarthy says he was "somewhat appalled" by the use of the Holocaust in one scene in the movie, it does not inevitably follow that his overall unfavorable review of the film was primarily a result of his disapproval of that one scene. Particularly when he cites lots of other reasons for not liking the film, finding it "narratively jumbled" and "bloated" with too many characters. Again, you're making an assumption that he (and other critics who expressed disapproval of that scene) are letting bias skew their view of the film, and you have no evidence of that assumption.
     
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  7. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    They do not have the rights to characters who originated in the Sax Rohmer novels (most notably Fu Manchu and Sir Denis Nayland Smith). But they've also chosen not to use any of the supporting characters they do own the rights to, such as Leiko Wu, Black Jack Tarr, and Clive Reston. And they've changed Shang Chi's personality and background, as well as discarded the "Bruce Lee meets James Bond" milieu that made the Moench/Gulacy series so memorable. Why aren't they being faithful to the original comic? I think because they are more interested in making sort of a formula Marvel Universe film than in doing something unique, and because they don't really respect the source material. Such is often the case with Hollywood adaptations of comics.
     
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  8. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so

    Yes, they are missing an opportunity to have something like a 'seventies "Pennyworth"--which is a very interesting and entertaining show.
     
  9. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    The evidence is that Black Panther is more highly rated by critics than in all fan or audience surveys I've seen, several of which I linked to. So to begin with, someone would need to show me any comparable statistics that back up the idea that reviews of a movie were influenced by racism.

    The evidence is clear that they considered the use of Auschwitz in the film a highly negative aspect. The idea that it would be perceived that way didn't occur to me at all when I watched the film. I suspect that it didn't occur to the vast majority of the general audience. And my point was that the large number of critics who cited that shows that the critic community has some viewpoints that are not representative of the general public at large.
     
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  10. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I think it would be interesting if they tried something that had a completely different tone and feel. But the films have a "house style" and they don't want to deviate from that. Taking a risk or breaking new ground is not what these films are about. But it's funny, because in the 70s Marvel superhero comics definitely had a "house style" too, and the Shang Chi series deviated notably from it and succeeded.

    Beyond issues of tone and feel, it's weird that they've elected not to use the supporting cast at all, when they were a huge part of what made the old series interesting. And that they've made the Shang Chi character so different. Aside from his name, abilities, and the fact that his father is a criminal mastermind, not much seems to be retained from the old series.
     
  11. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    We're going around in circles here, but that isn't evidence. Even if it's true that critics as a whole rated BP more highly than fans or generic audience members, you do not know why they rated it more highly. You are making an assumption that it is because they want to appear politically correct. You have no proof of that.

    I could just as easily reverse your argument, and say that the reason fan and audience surveys rate the film lower than critics is because some of the people taking part in those fan/audience surveys are being influenced by racism. There is no evidence of this assumption, just as there is no evidence of yours. They both rely on speculation about biases.
     
  12. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I've seen the flaws of the film delineated clearly enough by enough people that I know it ranks where it does among fans and viewers as the result of a sincere analysis.
     
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  13. Andy Smith

    Andy Smith You fill up my senses, Like a gallon of Magnet..

    I think they might fall at the fence on this one. Marvel have the financial clout to have negotiated a deal for Fu Manchu and the rest. It would have made sound financial sense for all concerned. What the world doesn't need is another kung-fu/Sleeping Tiger-style movie and that's what the clips look like. I might be wildly wrong and time will tell, but it feels like a missed opportunity to do justice to a storyline that Shang-Chi fans have loved for decades. The trailer with the magical rings just looked like a computer game set up.
    My, I sound like Mr Grumpus this morning, don't I?
     
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  14. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Aha, so opinions you agree with are sincere and unbiased, and opinions with which you disagree are a product of bias or insincerity? That's a pretty common rhetorical strategy. Since you can't prove an opinion wrong, the next best thing is to try to devalue it by suggesting it is insincere.

    Point is, you have no way of knowing how sincere any opinion is, or how influenced by biases or external factors it might be. If you're going to toss out the notion that some critics are motivated by political correctness, you can't dismiss the notion that some viewers' opinions might be motivated by prejudice or racism. At least not if you want to be intellectually consistent.
     
  15. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    They didn't even need to get the rights to Fu Manchu. The supporting characters and storylines they do own would be good enough without him. Imagine a film based on the Mordillo Island storyline... that would have been amazing. It is really bizarre, because it's hard to think of a comic that isn't more cinematic right out of the box than the classic Master of Kung Fu series. They would hardly need to do anything to adapt it successfully. I think it comes down to those in charge being risk averse and wanting things to fit a formula that is familiar to audiences. It really is a missed opportunity, turning something as unique as that series into a generic Marvel film. And I agree, the Crouching Tiger style slow-mo fight scenes are really passe' and frankly, make the fight scenes boring. One thing a Bruce Lee film never was is boring.

    Oh well. I'm not the target audience for this film, obviously.
     
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  16. maccafan

    maccafan Senior Member

    Have to say, it's getting great reviews and from regular moviegoers.
     
  17. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    No one can prove an opinion wrong or right. You're asking me to prove that my opinion is right, which I obviously can't do. We're not dealing with an exact science. Ultimately, there is a difference in what kinds of things you should say about a person without evidence. Saying that I think a person is overpraising a movie because they believe its message is virtuous is one thing. Saying that I think a person is racist is something else. The former is just an opinion. The latter is a libelous statement.
     
  18. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    I was looking at pictures of Chinese male actors, just something I like to do, and there were several that would look far better playing him. In the comics he's pretty hot, and was based on Bruce Lee, but the actor they have got just looks kinda boring. I think the Chinese said he was 'ugly' - I don't know about that but it's poor casting.
     
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  19. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    No, it's fair.

    TBH my take is that nobody asked or wanted for a Guardians movie and everyone was wondering why they were making it. But it turned out amazing. I don't like gender and race and sexuality swapping just for the sake of it to tick some box but apart from that I don't mind what they use or who they use as long as they make a great film. I doubt Shang Chi is the next Guardians though.

    It's funny as Marvel kind of wasted the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 and so because they don't have Fu Manchu they have basically created a new Mandarin for this film with the 10 rings which are wrist rings now instead of finger rings, but they have kind of wasted another attempt at the Mandarin as he could be a major villain.
     
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  20. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    The Mandarin always looked cool with the mustache and beard. He looks boring here without them. I agree, this Shang-Chi actor looks bland, and older than his actual age. It definitely sounds like he's not considered good-looking or a sex symbol in China. I also think the actual rings seem much more iconic, dramatic and visually interesting than floating bracelets. As a viewer, I can relate to a ring, not a floating disc.
     
  21. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Up to this point, you've been asserting it's a fact supported by evidence, not an opinion. So I was asking to see the evidence.

    At any rate, I agree you can't prove an opinion. Ultimately my goal here was to point out the inconsistency in what you were doing: stating your own opinion as fact while simultaneously criticizing someone else for stating their opinion as fact.

    They both are opinions, unless you have evidence to prove them. I agree that it's more severe (and potentially libelous) to accuse someone of racism. Regardless of severity, it doesn't change my overall point, that it's inconsistent and hypocritical to decry one instance of accusing a person of bias (without evidence) while simultaneously making your own accusation of bias without evidence.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2021
  22. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I wasn't familiar with Simu Liu prior to his being cast in this. But based on watching the trailers (which admittedly is only a limited sample) he seems to have no charisma or star quality about him. He seems very flat and bland, like a Lazenby in a role that really needs a Connery.

    Based on this article, he lobbied hard for the role. If that was a factor in his casting, they seem to have made a mistake.
     
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  23. Veltri

    Veltri ♪♫♫♪♪♫♫♪

    Location:
    Canada
    I saw this tonight and it's really good!
    Refreshingly different than the usual MCU but benefits from the big budget in different ways.
    Great fight scenes and well fleshed out secondary characters.
    Worth seeing for sure.
     
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  24. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Well... in this case Marvel Comics is part of Marvel Entertainment... and that's all owned by Disney. So the fact that they're not closely sticking to the original 1970s storylines is sort of like Warner Bros. not making a Superman or Batman movie like the original 1940s or 1950s characters. I think as long as the spirit of the character is authentic and makes sense, then there isn't really a problem there. I think it's still a unique movie, even if it's not the unique movie you personally want to see.

    They do have to toe the line with a 2021 production in terms of not insulting Asian people and not invoking the cliches and stereotypes that were permitted in the 1970s. I have seem some Asian critics taking them to task for even including The Mandarin in the movie, so they had to be very careful with what they did and how they did it. My take is, hey, at least it's not as bad as the Iron Fist TV show, so there is that.

    But the reviews have been mixed. The NY Times review said in part:

    The last act of the film, which devolves into a fight-fest with magical glowing bangles, demonic monsters and oodles of C.G.I., is the most tedious, and this first Asian M.C.U. film left me with a disconcerting thought: Was this meant to be the next “Black Panther”? The dragon, the ninja army, the “Crouching Tiger”-style magical kung fu (along with Michelle Yeoh, in a small role): The film uses the superficial markers of Asian culture and filmmaking without presenting anything unique in its Marvel take on that tradition. Increasingly, as the M.C.U. finally attempts to diversify its roster, it risks delivering more mediocre, trope-heavy token-hero films. I hope I’m wrong, because Shang-Chi — and the female heroes, queer heroes and heroes of color who will hopefully follow — deserve a lot more.

    ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ Review: House of Hidden Dragons
     
  25. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Complaints about the third act seem to be the most common complaint I'm hearing from fans. A lot saying the movie is "not as good," or gets worse or weaker in the third act. The average critic score on RT is 7.6, which is about right in the middle of the other MCU films.

    I saw these articles yesterday and it made me wonder if this is why the movie changed Mandarin's 10 rings into big floating cheerios. They may have thought China would never take the movie because they saw the rings as effeminate. The comics have never changed the fact that the 10 rings are actual rings.

    China Wants ‘Sissy Idols’ and ‘Effeminate Men’ Scrubbed From Entertainment Industry

    China Bans “Effeminate Men” From TV As Part Of Cultural Crackdown – Deadline

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    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021

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