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Director Shang-Chi Praises Awkwafina’s Skills

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton praises Awkwafina’s exceptional comedic (and dramatic) skill. Taking place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Shang-Chi introduces audiences to its eponymous Master of Kung Fu. After picking up with “Shaun” in San Francisco working as a valet alongside his best friend, Katy, the film follows the former as he’s forced to confront his true identity as the son of Wenwu, the leader of the Ten Rings. In addition to starring Simu Liu as Marvel Studios’ first Asian lead, Shang-Chi features a predominantly Asian cast including Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Meng’ er Zhang, Tony Leung, Benedict Wong, and Awkwafina.

Following various delays due to COVID-19, Cretton’s Shang-Chi was released in theaters on September 3rd, broke box office records, and continues to exceed expectations. The film has been praised for its cultural influence, action sequences, heart, and humor—the latter of which is thanks in no small part to Awkwafina. The Chinese-American actress/rapper came to fame when her song “My Vag” went viral in 2012. She’s since played supporting roles in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Ocean’s 8, Crazy Rich Asians, Jumanji: The Next Level, and an acclaimed leading role in 2019’s The Farewell. Awkwafina is at the height of her game as Katy Chen, the lifelong best friend of Shang-Chi who, despite lacking combat experience or magical bracelets, plays as valuable a role in the MCU film as any superhero.

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Awkafina’s Katy is a source of Shang-Chi’s best jokes, whether she’s singing karaoke and taking sports cars for joyrides or criticizing the “Shaun” name change and, again, singing karaoke with Shang-Chi and Wong. That being said, she’s easily one of the MCU’s best comic relief characters as she’s heartfelt, grounded, and has an actual arc. Like her friend, who’s struggling with his identity and future, Katy expresses feeling aimless in life. After following Shang-Chi to Macau and then Ta-Lo, Katy picks up archery, which makes her a pivotal player in the fight against the Dweller-in-Darkness, and not as a gag.

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Humor is a cornerstone of the MCU, often cutting the tension while reminding the audience that these superheroes are actual people. However, Marvel films have recently received criticism for an overabundance of jokes that may upset the balance of drama and comedy. Cretton’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings allows Awkwafina to shine in a film that masterfully manages its characters and tone. Katy basically becomes an Avenger with Shang-Chi at the end of the film and there’s sure to be more of her in Phase 4.

Shang-Chi’s Planet of the Apes Joke Is Perfect Iron Man 3 Payoff

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings brings back the divisive character Trevor Slattery from Iron Man 3, but through a monologue about Planet of the Apes, the film justifies the ridiculousness of his characterization. The villainous Mandarin first made an appearance in Tony Stark’s third solo outing, played with suitable menace in early scenes by Sir Ben Kingsley. However, it was then revealed at the end of the second act that the terrorist mastermind was in actuality a fake character, performed by washed-up, drug-addicted actor, Trevor Slattery.

Presented as comic relief for the rest of the film, the reimagining of Iron Man’s most famous comics nemesis was considered by some to be a bait-and-switch tactic and a betrayal. Marvel retconned Iron Man 3’s Mandarin twist through the short film All Hail the King, which found a member of the Ten Rings breaking him out of prison to answer to the real Mandarin for his unflattering impersonation. Shang-Chi reveals this was Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), who fans and critics have embraced as a better representation of the real Mandarin — even if it’s still far from comic-book accurate.Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings brings back the divisive character Trevor Slattery from Iron Man 3, but through a monologue about Planet of the Apes, the film justifies the ridiculousness of his characterization. The villainous Mandarin first made an appearance in Tony Stark’s third solo outing, played with suitable menace in early scenes by Sir Ben Kingsley. However, it was then revealed at the end of the second act that the terrorist mastermind was in actuality a fake character, performed by washed-up, drug-addicted actor, Trevor Slattery.

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Presented as comic relief for the rest of the film, the reimagining of Iron Man’s most famous comics nemesis was considered by some to be a bait-and-switch tactic and a betrayal. Marvel retconned Iron Man 3’s Mandarin twist through the short film All Hail the King, which found a member of the Ten Rings breaking him out of prison to answer to the real Mandarin for his unflattering impersonation. Shang-Chi reveals this was Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), who fans and critics have embraced as a better representation of the real Mandarin — even if it’s still far from comic-book accurate.

Shang-Chi and company find Trevor still held prisoner in Wenwu’s compound, and together break out in search of mythical village Ta Lo. While waiting for the path to Ta Lo to open, Trevor reminisces to his new companions how he was inspired to pursue acting after seeing the original 1968 Planet of the Apes as a child with his mother. Confused over how monkeys could learn to ride horses, his mother explained to him that they were just acting. Trevor mistakenly took this to mean that the director managed to get monkeys to pretend they were riding horses and that, if they could train monkeys to perform like that, after all, why couldn’t he learn?

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