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Wenwu

Shang-Chi
by yo go re

He likes it when you call him Big Poppa.

Shang-Chi's father Wenwu is the feared leader of the Ten Rings Organization, which has lurked in the shadows of the MCU since the very beginning.

It's weird that the toy's bio, meant to be an in-universe explanation of the character, specifically mentions the Marvel Cinematic Universe, isn't it? If, for instance, a Mortal Kombat character talks about Mortal Kombat, that's okay, because it's the name of the tournement they're participating in, but if a Street Fighter II character talked about Street Fighter II, it would just be weird, right? We don't know who first discovered water, but we know it wasn't a fish: you have to be outside something before you can recognize its existence.

Wenwu is played by Tony Leung, who you may know from Hero with Jet Li, from John Woo's Hard Boiled, or from playing the Leonardo DiCaprio role in Infernal Affairs, the movie Scorsese remade as The Departed. Like Robert Downey Jr, he was considered a young heartthrob in the '80s, but unlike RDJ, he didn't have a huge slump in the middle of his career and need to have a comeback.

The costume is a really cool black outfit with blue accents and a gray skirt with the most intricate paint apps we've seen since King T'Chaka's dashiki. The blue pad on the shoulder matches with an angular layer on the shirt, and a rectangular loincloth hangs from his belt. There are deep textures all over, meaning this mold will probably never be used for anyone else. Also unlikely to be reused? The forearms, which each have five... metal... bands of some sort... around them. If only there were a phrase for that! Judging by the roleplay toys available, those nine-plus-one circlets will be able to fire energy blasts, but on the toy they're just sculpted. Anyone who's ever had to wear something around their forearms like that will know that unless they're fused to your body somehow, they'd slide off after just a couple minutes.

The long skirt gets in the way of the leg articulation a bit, which is unavoidable - plastic just doesn't move like cloth, but cloth doesn't look as real at this scale as plastic. Wenwu has all the usual joints (head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, chest, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles), and most of them are totally unencumbered, you'll just have to be choosy about what you want his lower legs to be doing. Come on, Wenwu, don't you know the rule? "Be hot and high kick." You're only passing on half of that.

Wenwu's only non-attached weapon is a hooked sword, because if you could fire blasts from your armbands, why would you waste time using both halves of a paired weapon? Maybe tomorrow he'll use one nunchuck. He has two hands capable of holding the sword, as well as a pair of fists and a pair posed for a two-finger claw strike.

This series has Mr. Hyde as its Build-A-Figure, and Wenwu gets the right arm and the cane.

If the bio isn't wrong and Wenwu really is Shang-Chi's father, then he's the third guy to have the job: Shang-Chi was originally a spin-off character from Marvel's licensed Fu Manchu comic; after they no longer had the license, they just had to refer to his dad in vague terms, and eventually declared that his father's real name was Zheng Zu. The Battleworld book was the first time he had any connection to the Mandarin, even an oblique one, so it will be interesting to see how the movie writes a new history for them.

-- 05/18/21


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