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by yo go re

So let's get this out of the way up front: it's pronounced "SHONG-chee," like the name "Sean," not "SHANG-chee," like it looks. That's straight from SEE-moo Lee-ew.

Trained since childhood by the mysterious Ten Rings Organization, Shang-Chi must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn back into his father's web.

Right now, we know literally nothing about what Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be about. People are assuming it has something to do with The Mandarin, but during the last Secret Wars crossover, one of the "Battleworld" tie-in books - Master of Kung Fu - saw the Marvel Universe reimagined as a kung-fu epic, with the "ten rings" being a reference not to jewelry, but to the place(s) where fights took place. A big martial arts tournament to determine who would rule? Yeah, we could see that being the plot of the movie! If nothing else, we know the MCU loves misdirection.

Shang-Chi is played by Simu Liu, aka Jung on Kim's Convenience. Since Mr. Kim (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) was in Star Wars, all we need now is for Kimchee to be a Disney Princess and that one Canadian sitcom will have hit the hat-trick. The likeness looks really good, and seeing Simu geek out about getting to be a toy has been fully wholesome.

Shang's traditional colors are red and black, and the movie is keeping that alive. His shirt and pants both have fine, molded textures, rather than being magically smooth, and the shirt also has a detailed raised pattern of piping on the chest and arms. We'd say that Kym Barrett is angling for a Best Costume Design Oscar, but we mean it as a compliment, while it sounds like a slight. This is a very cool-looking shirt, and Hasbro's unknown sculptors did a great job with it.

The legs are sculpted with a permanent slight bend. Is that some kind of martial arts thing? Keeping the knees flexed? He's still got all the usual joints - swivel/hinge ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, a swivel waist, hinged chest, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a barbell-jointed head - it's just that the legs aren't fully straight when the joints are all the way forward. Don't you know you're supposed to lock your knees, Shang? How do you expect to stand up straight! Like Sarge said, "put your groin into it!"

This Shang-Chi doesn't get as many hands as the last one did, but he does get a few: two clawing, two... pinching? and two that can hold the included staff. The staff is silver with brown wraps on the ends, and have bumps that we'd normally take to be pegs to plug into something, but there's no "something" to go with them here. Huh?

Mr. Hyde is this series' Build-A-Figure, and Shang-Chi gets the left leg.

I admit, even as I'm writing all this, my brain keeps going "SHANG-chee" instead of "SHONG-chee," but maybe that will change once the movie opens in a few months and we hear people say it out loud over and over. Until then, we've got an impressive-looking figure to tide us over.

-- 05/17/21

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