Point-Counterpoint: Shang-Chi

by JENNA UTERSTAEDT '25 & ELLIE VOELKERDING '25

Jenna Uterstaedt and Ellie Voelkerding went to see Marvel’s new movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on Monday, September 6. They had opposing views of the movie. Ellie liked the movie, and Jenna did not enjoy the movie as much as the other Marvel movies.


There are some spoilers in this article.

Ellie: I liked the movie because it had a diverse range of characters, and it showed many different situations, such as having a normal life and fighting on a public bus. The characters were not fully developed, but they faced many challenges throughout the movie, including Shang-Chi fighting against his own father and against dragon-like demons. Jenna, what did you think about the characters and their development/story?


Jenna: Honestly, the characters were hard to root for throughout the movie because of the lack of character development. I thought it was unnatural and strange that the main character, Shang-Chi, was less evolved and expanded than many supporting characters, especially “his best friend” Katy. Even one of the main villains, Shang-Chi’s father, was unclear and dry. To fully understand the impact of the deterioration of the father on the children you need to have a full grasp on all the characters and their views. I did think the use of comedy helped us see a more human aspect of a superhero but it wasn’t enough to build Shang-Chi’s character. How do you think comedy added to the movie?

Ellie: Comedy played a large role in the developing plot of the story. Each time the story became more serious, there was a scene based entirely on comedy. Marvel also incorporated some of their previous movies into the movie, including the Mandarin from Iron Man 3, who was a main comedic character. Throughout the movie, Marvel also dropped Easter egg hints about the next movies and shows. How do you think Shang-Chi will incorporate into the larger story of the Marvel Universe, Jenna?

Jenna: Well, as you know, Chadwick Boseman, who starred in the Black Panther franchise, sadly passed away last year, leaving Marvel fans curious on how they would continue the legacy. As I watched Shang-Chi I pondered the fact that maybe the movie was setting up Shang-Chi to be the replacement for Black Panther. Maybe even a new Avenger? I find this very believable but I'm not sure how much he would add to the team. Considering we know little about his personality I don’t know how he would change the team's dynamic or how he would get involved with the Avengers. One character that I would love to see more of is Shang-Chi’s sister, Xialing. I love their relationship and wonder if Marvel would invest in future movies including her. What did you think of side characters like Xialing and Katy? And what can you see Marvel doing with them in the future?

Ellie: I don't necessarily think that Marvel is trying to make Shang-Chi a replacement for Black Panther. If they even change it, I believe that Black Panther’s sister, Shuri, will become the queen of Wakanda and an Avenger. I do think that Shang-Chi will become an Avenger because he will bring new thoughts and techniques to the team, and their opponents won’t be able to predict what kind of battle there will be. Back to your question, I thought that Xialing and Katy were strong female characters who embodied the Ursuline characteristics, such as the recognition of the dignity of the gifts of women. They were very independent and are good role models for other young women striving to be independent. Both Xialing and Katy knew how to provide and protect themselves without anyone else’s help. I believe that based on the two end credit scenes both Xialing and Katy will be in future Marvel movies. I predict that Marvel will make Shang-Chi a trilogy and Xialing will play a much larger role. I also believe that if Shang-Chi does become an Avenger, Katy will play a large role in his life and the process of becoming an Avenger. What did you think about the pace of the movie?

Jenna: I strongly agree that Xialing and Katy are a good representation of powerful women and they really do help balance out Shang-Chi. I will say the pace of the movie seemed weak and too fast or slow at parts. At the beginning of the movie we got to see the life Shang-Chi has made for himself and a glimpse into his and Katy's friendship and it left me wanting more of the pre-action content. Then as the bus fight scene unfolds, the next scenes move fast and add more confusing battles and new conflicts along the way. You meet some new and old Marvel characters but it still seems very fast paced, almost dizzying and is easy to get lost in the different scenes and concepts. Then as you’re nearing the end of the movie, suddenly a new sort of representation of evil pops out instead of the villain type character we have been dealing with the whole movie. It’s very confusing for the end scene not to be Shang-Chi and Xialing fighting their father and maybe even helping him out of his struggle. Instead the writers and directors placed a new monster for a typical end-of-movie fight scene. Now, it was very fascinating to watch the well done effects and such but it showed, in my opinion, a lack of creativity and courage to tackle a more emotionally poignant ending. Wrapping it up, what do you think of the ending?

Ellie: I personally enjoyed the pace of the movie because I often get bored during movies when they are slow and take a long time to set up. However, it did seem a little fast at the beginning. The pace of the movie evened out towards the end. I was surprised at the ending when the monster became the villain. I agree with you that the final fight should have been Shang-Chi and Xialing fighting their father, but I think that they were trying to set up more upheaval of the character’s lives for future movies. Placing a larger monster adds to the factor of shock in the movie and shows that they have potential if they were to ever become Avengers. I found it heartwarming that Shang-Chi reconciled with his father and they united against a common enemy during the final battle. I personally thought it was odd that Marvel killed both of the villains because their characters don’t normally defeat the villain in one movie, so there is no possible way for Shang-Chi to have a semi-possible relation between the villains if it gets a sequel unless someone restarts the Ten Rings and they rise from the ruins. Based on the end-credit scene, it felt like Xialing was starting to train a new generation of the Ten Rings. The question is will the new Ten Rings be good or evil? Will Xialing use her trauma to become a villain, or will she use her trauma to become a better person? We hope to learn the answers to these questions during Marvel movies in the following years.

Jenna & Ellie: Overall the movie had its ups and downs, but we are curious to see what Marvel decides to do with Shang-Chi and other characters in the future. We are Jenna Uterstaedt and Ellie Voelkerding and this was our debate/review of the new Marvel movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.