The first Shang-Chi reactions are in – and the movie is "integral" to the MCU’s future

Simu Liu in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the second Marvel Phase 4 movie, has had its world premiere. You know what that means? It’s time for the first taste of the critical response to the martial arts superhero movie – which some are calling one of the best origin stories ever told in the MCU.

ComicBook’s Brandon Davis was unequivocal in his praise: "This movie hits all that Marvel does well (pacing, humor, character) and adds action like we’ve never seen from the MCU before."

Crucially, he also mentions that Shang-Chi is "integral" to Phase 4. Make of that what you will but, for those of us clamoring for another taste of the connected universe moving forward, it’s an intriguing beat.

It may be a short list, but critic Scott Menzel confidently calls Shang-Chi "the best superhero film of 2021 so far" while adding it features the "best martial arts I’ve seen in a long time." Wendy Lee Szany echoes those thoughts: "Even fight scene/action sequence is better than the last," she says.

Drew Taylor also makes a note of the action, describing it as some of the best seen in the MCU so far. Most tellingly, however, he draws attention to Simu Liu’s lead role. Shang-Chi, according to Taylor, is your "new favorite Avenger." That’s a hot take we can get behind. Collider’s Steven Weintraub is also aboard the Simu Liu train, saying he’s "perfectly cast."

Fandom’s Eric Goldman is also high on Shang-Chi, but is slightly more reserved in some respects: "Shang-Chi has some pacing issues - there’s a bit of a start/stop feel to it at times and slow parts," he said.

Shang-Chi is set to release exclusively in theaters on September 3. For more on the MCU's future, check out all the new Marvel TV shows coming your way.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.