Ready, set, high-octane martial arts action: The first trailer for “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is here.
Days ahead of schedule, Marvel unveiled a peek at its first blockbuster featuring an Asian superhero — and an Asian-fronted filmmaking crew behind the camera — with Simu Liu suiting up as the titular crime-fighter.
The trailer sees Liu’s Shang-Chi confront his past and battle the villainous Ten Rings organization, which was first name-dropped in the original “Iron Man” movie over a decade ago.
But before all the kicks fly and punches land, the hero is living a relatively low-key existence in San Francisco alongside his friend Katy (Awkwafina, stealing every scene per usual). His father, Wenwu, played by legendary Hong Kong star Tony Leung, had trained him as a child “so the most dangerous people in the world couldn’t kill you.” Soon enough, he comes calling after a 10-year absence.
That’s when the trailer quite literally kicks into high gear with an array of eye-popping, combat-heavy action sequences unlike anything we’ve seen in past Marvel films, as Shang-Chi seems to embrace his destiny.
“The most exciting thing about stepping into this character was that his backstory has never been told before,” Liu told Entertainment Weekly about the role. “We know so many different versions of Batman’s origin story, how his parents were murdered when he was very young. We know Peter Parker, who was bitten by a radioactive spider, and he loses his uncle. Shang-Chi’s story is very much unknown to most of the world, so we had a lot of freedom and creative liberty to make it the way that we wanted to.”
The actor, who’s perhaps best known for his role on the Canadian sitcom “Kim’s Convenience,” also revealed the film’s poster in honor of his birthday on Monday, but was completely unaware that the trailer was on its way as well.
But Marvel had other plans in store, dropping the trailer without warning, prompting a stream of appropriately enthusiastic tweets from Liu.
The actor famously lobbied to play an Asian superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in tweets dating back to 2014. The studio heard his call and cast him in the role five years later, with Liu making his first official appearance at San Diego Comic-Con.
In a 2019 interview with HuffPost, Liu said that he viewed the role as “an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world following years of stereotypes and caricatures and tired tropes.”
“I think seeing yourself represented in that way can have a profound impact on how you view your place in society, your cultural identity and what you are capable of achieving,” he added. “I’m honored that I played a small part in this fight, and I’m ready to bear that torch if and when it is asked of me.”
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” also stars Michelle Yeoh, Ronny Chieng, Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang and Florian Munteanu.
After a series of COVID-related delays, the film finally hits theaters Sept. 3, 2021.