It’s only the first teaser trailer, but Shang-Chi is showing promising signs that Marvel’s first-ever Asian led superhero movie knows exactly what it’s doing.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most popular movie franchise in modern movie history. Ever since the first Iron Man came out in 2008, each entry in the MCU has gotten bigger and better while breaking records along the way. Yet, there is something Marvel has been lacking, and that is with Asian representation. But after 24 movies in the MCU, the time has come for an Asian-led Marvel movie and we got our first look at it with the release of Shang-Chi’s teaser trailer on Monday. It’s only the first look but we’re already excited for the movie. Here are 6 things Shang-Chi has gotten right so far.
It has an Asian lead
While this is quite obvious, it still is amazing to see an Asian be the lead of an MCU film. 24 films have been released in the MCU before Shang-Chi, and not a single one featured an Asian lead. At best, they are relegated to side characters. But now, Asians finally have an Asian superhero to look up to with Simu Liu playing Shang-Chi.
It has a stacked Asian cast
The movie just doesn’t have an Asian lead, it also has a stacked Asian supporting cast. Awkwafina is going to play Katy, Shang-Chi’s best friend in America, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung is playing Wenwu, Shang-Chi’s father, and Michelle Yeoh is going to be Jiang Nah. As we get closer to the movie’s release date of September 2021, we will get more details of the Asian cast.
It has Asian representation behind the camera as well
The Asian representation also extends behind the camera. Shang-Chi’s director is Destin Daniel Cretton, who is of Japanese descent. His previous work includes Just Mercy (2019) and the underrated Short Term 12 (2013). One of the film’s scriptwriters is Dave Callaham who is of Chinese descent. His previous writing credits include Godzilla (2014), Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), and Wonder Woman 1984 (2020).
It has Asians playing Asian characters
If you are wondering why this is here, it is important to know that Hollywood has a long history of non-Asian actors playing Asian characters like in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when a white actor played a Japanese man. The MCU is guilty of this as well. In the lore of Doctor Strange, The Ancient One is a Tibetan monk, but in the movies, the character is played by Tilda Swinton, a white British actress.
It aims to tell a more accurate story of the Asian experience
When the Shang-Chi comics first started in the 70s, they were filled with racists stereotypes of Asians. So, for the movie, the filmmakers decided to update the story for a more accurate portrayal of Asians. Speaking to EW, Simu Liu said that “…when we first started to map out who this character was and what his journey was going to be over the course of the film, we were all very sensitive to not have it go into stereotypical territory.” The movie’s director adds that he “wanted to tell a story about Asian identity that felt as lived-in and authentic as possible.”
It features Asian artists in the soundtrack
While not many details have been confirmed about Shang-Chi’s soundtrack, the teaser trailer offers a glimpse of what songs could be featured in the movie. If you pay close attention, you can hear the voice of GOT7 member Jackson Wang in the track that accompanies the trailer. 88 Rising also shared the trailer on their Instagram, possibly hinting at more things to come. In any case, we can’t wait to see which other Asian artists will be on the soundtrack.