Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings parents guide

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Parent Guide

With an unusually charming cast, this movie improves on the standard Marvel movie formula.

Overall B

In Theaters: Shang-Chi has been trained from infancy to be one of the most lethal assassins in the world. His father, Wenwu runs the notorious Ten Rings criminal syndicate, an organization that Shang-Chi thought he left behind when he moved to San Francisco. But the past has a way of catching up to you...

Release date September 3, 2021

Violence B-
Sexual Content A
Profanity C+
Substance Use B

Why is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and language.

Run Time: 92 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Although working as hotel valets may not be glamorous, Shaun (Simu Liu) and his best friend Katy (Awkwafina) enjoy the simplicity of the work – even if their friends and family feel they’re squandering their potential. But when Shaun gets mugged on a bus and loses a pendant that was given to him by his late mother, Shaun reveals a past more dangerous and complicated than Katy would have dreamed. Shaun is really Shang-Chi, the son of the dangerous Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), owner of the mythical Ten Rings which grant him not only phenomenal cosmic power, but also immortality. The thugs who mugged Shang-Chi were members of his father’s army, and Shang-Chi has reason to believe they’ll be going after his sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), who lives in Macau and has an identical pendant. And Katy isn’t about to let Shang-Chi go to the rescue alone…

I’m not going to spend a long time explaining how this fits into the MCU, since frankly, I don’t care. No matter how much Marvel tries to convince me that these are all parts of a whole, they still have to be able to stand on their own. I don’t care if this movie has catastrophic implications for the Marvel universe if it isn’t fun to watch in the first place.

And, surprisingly, it is. Yes, it still suffers from Marvel’s grotesque overreliance on computer-generated…well, everything. Yes, the plot is so unremarkable that you’d swear you’ve seen it before. But Simu Liu is remarkably charming, and I just love Awkwafina – even if her character is only here for comic relief and to ask the other characters leading questions so they can vomit exposition on the audience.

My biggest gripe with this movie is the editing. They’ve clearly done some serious stunt work, and half the time you can’t appreciate it because they can’t stop mucking about with the camera. If they could get out of their own way, the filmmakers might realize that these stunts speak for themselves, and you don’t need to strap the camera to some insanely complicated rig to make it look good. That’s not my only gripe – This movie is over two hours long. It would be perfectly fine at 90 minutes, and the extra 40 are just uncalled for.

Parents know more or less what to expect from Marvel these days. A little bit of profanity, some CGI-heavy martial arts violence, and that’s about it. Shang-Chi doesn’t even have the skintight latex bodysuits you get in other movies. But you don’t need me to tell you whether you’ll like it or not. Marvel movies are so similar that if you like one, you’ll like most of them. They don’t have to be good, just good enough – but this one is pretty fun.

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. Starring Simu Liu, Awkwafina, and Meng'er Zhang. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release September 3, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Rating & Content Info

Why is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings rated PG-13? Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of violence and action, and language.

Violence: There are frequent depictions of martial arts violence, which occasionally results in death. Individuals are also killed by having their souls sucked out by monsters.
Sexual Content: There is a brief use of a crude anatomical term.
Profanity:  There are five scatological profanities and a few mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults are briefly shown drinking socially.

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Parents' Guide

What does Shang-Chi learn about honesty? How does his past affect his relationships? How does Katy help him? How does Shang-Chi’s relationship with his father change throughout the movie? Which events influence that relationship?

Shang-Chi was not always the son of Xu Wenwu. Who was his father originally? What is the problem with that story? Why did Marvel move away from that depiction?

Home Video

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You can also find Chinese mythology in films like Ne Zha, New Gods: Nezha Reborn, and both versions of Disney’s Mulan (1998 and 2020). Although set in Japan rather than China, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins plays with a lot of the same ideas, albeit with fewer superpowers.