Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings introduces Wenwu, a recast of the Mandarin villain in the Marvel comics.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings introduced Shang-Chi, played by Simu Liu, as the new hero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, known as Kung Fu Master in the comics. In addition, the film resolves a major controversy in Iron Man 3 related to the Mandarin villain, who in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings appears reformulated with the name Wenwu and played by Tony Leung.
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In the film’s story, we follow Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), a young Chinese man who was raised by his father Wenwu (Tony Leung) in seclusion so that he could fully focus on being a martial arts master. However, when he has the chance to make contact with the rest of the world for the first time, he soon realizes that his father is not the humanitarian he claimed to be, having to rebel and chart his own path.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings resolves Iron Man 3 controversy
In the Marvel Film Universe, the Ten Rings were introduced as an international terrorist network in the first Iron Man (2008), which collaborated with Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) to kidnap Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Mandarin appeared in Iron Man 3, however, it was all cheating used by Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) to deceive the world, taking advantage of actor Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) to impersonate the antagonist. Thus, the character’s true origin was only shown during the events of Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings.
Originally, in the Marvel comics, Shang-Chi was the son of Fu Manchu. However, he came to be considered a racist oriental caricature, which made Marvel stop using the character and which eventually led to a change in theaters. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings introduces the true “Mandarin” in the MCU, but the character has been reworked to not use that name. He is Shang-Chi’s father, and goes by the name of Xu Wenwu, played by actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai. As in the comic book, he is the leader of the criminal organization Ten Rings, named after the ten powerful bracelets he wears on his wrists, which give him long life, super strength and several other powers.
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In a conversation with his son and daughter Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), Wenwu reveals that he never used the name “Mandarin”. According to him, Aldrich Killian and Trevor Slattery stole his iconography and used that name to sow fear in the West, as it looked sinister enough to cause panic in people. He finds the name an insult and was clearly frustrated by Killian and Slattery’s impersonation of him. Proof of this is that he keeps Trevor Slattery imprisoned, with Ben Kinglsey reprising his role in the film, until he is discovered by Shang-Chi, Xialing, and Katy (Awkwafina).
All of this reinforces that Shang-Chi’s Mandarin villain and the Legend of the Ten Rings is not what Marvel fans expected, as the screenwriter said. David Callaham and director Destin Daniel Cretton prior to the film’s release. “Our version of the character is not Mandarin in the way people expect him to be. Mandarin is a title that has been applied to him in the past by people who don’t understand his culture. But he’s a much deeper character than I think a lot of people would expect,” explained Callaham. Therefore, they presented a character much deeper than that known in the Marvel comics, being careful not to make him a racist stereotype.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings is on display in movie theaters in Brazil. Check out the complete Marvel movie review here at AdoroCinema!