The 25th Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has finally hit theatres, and it’s been worth the wait. A wonderful blend of wuxia and Jackie Chan-style action movies, Shang-Chi is a blockbuster that literally kicks ass. Even more impressive, though, director Destin Daniel Cretton (who co-wrote the film) manages to effortlessly interweave a compelling story about parental pressure and expectation into the narrative.
Starring Simu Liu as the titular master of kung fu, when we first meet our hero, he lives under the pseudonym Shaun and works as a valet. Shaun spends his days parking cars, hanging out with his friend Katy (Awkwafina), and his evenings getting drunk while singing Karaoke. While Shaun’s having fun, his friends worry he’s not living up to his potential.
His peaceful life is shattered, however when one day while commuting to work he’s attacked by the Ten Rings and his double life is revealed. Forced to flee his home Shang-Chi – with Katy coming along for the ride – must travel the world and reunite with his estranged sister Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) to stop their father from finally discovering their dead mother, Jiang Li’s (Fala Chen) legendary village Ta Lo where the gods are rumoured to live among humans. Warning spoilers ahead!
What happens in the Shang-Chi ending?
Unfortunately for Shang-Chi and Xialing despite their best efforts, they’re unable to stop Wenwu from finding out how to reach Ta Lo. Captured by their misguided father, Wenwu reveals to his children that he believes the people of Ta Lo are keeping Jiang-Lui’s spirit trapped in the village behind a mystical gate. All he needs to do is use the power of his rings – ancient artefacts that grant him incredible power and immortality – to shatter the gate and he, Shang-Chi, Xialing, and Jiang Li can be a family again.
Shocked at their father’s madness, Wenwu’s children refuse to help him and he imprisons them in a dungeon. Thankfully though they’re not alone, in the dungeon with them is Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley), the man who pretended to be the Mandarin in Iron Man 3. Trevor reveals to them a strange creature named Maurice that Wenwu captured years ago that can lead them to Ta Lo if they can escape the dungeon.
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Unsurprisingly the children of the world’s most dangerous man who’ve trained from birth to be deadly warriors have no trouble escaping their prison, freeing Trevor, Maurice, and Katy in the process and escaping to Ta Lo. They manage to beat their father there and are introduced to their aunt Jiang Nan (Michelle Yeoh) who reveals the truth about the gate that Wenwu is so desperate to break.
Centuries ago the people of Ta Lo and the protector, an ancient dragon, sealed an unspeakable evil behind that gate. The creature, known as the Dweller in Darkness, has spent the last millennia trying to find someone powerful enough to open the gate and free it from its prison so it can consume the souls of mortals once again.
Shang Chi and his gang are, unsurprisingly, not so keen on the apocalypse happening and thus begins a training montage. Katy trains with the bow, Xialing with a (knife on-chain), and Shang-Chi learns his mother’s martial art style that she used to defeat Wenwu years ago. Soon after, though, Wenwu and his army arrive, and a battle for the fate of the world breaks out.
While Shang-Chi struggles in a fight with his father, getting knocked into a lake and allowing Wenwu the time he needs to start opening the gate, an encounter with the protector dragon changes his fortune. Bursting from the water and riding the dragon Shang-Chi once again battles his dad, and this time using the skills he learned from his aunt, he manages to steal his father’s rings and turn them on him. Not wanting to kill his dear old dad Shang-Chi instead tries to reason with Wenwu, but it’s too late. The damage has been done to the gate, and the Dweller in Darkness bursts forth with its army of soul-stealing squid monsters.
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Faced with absolute destruction, the Ten Rings and the villagers of Ta Lo unite to battle the soul stealers, but it’s too late for Wenwu. The immortal warlord has his soul ripped from his body but not before he transfers ownership of the rings to his son. Enraged, Shang-Chi then battles the beast, and with some help from his sister, Katy (who fires a well-timed arrow at the Dweller’s neck), and the protector dragon, they manage to destroy it once and for all.
The film then ends with Shang-Chi and Xialing reconciling and mourning their father, but taking solace in the fact he’s where he wanted to be, with their mother. The final scene then shows Katy and Shang-Chi back in San Francisco, where they reunite with some friends and tell them their adventure. Their friends, of course, don’t believe them or at least they didn’t until Wong (of Doctor Stranger fame) walks through a portal and says they need to talk about the Wenwu’s rings.
What happens in the Shang-Chi post-credit scene?
Shang-Chi doesn’t have one post-credit sting; it’s got two. The first, which plays after the mid-roll credits, picks up where the film left off. Katy and Shang-Chi join Wong in the library of Kamar-Taj, where he examines the Wenwu’s rings and explains that they’re unlike anything else on Earth.
It’s then revealed that Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) have called in using the hologram tech Black Widow used to conference call the Avengers in Endgame. The pair back up Wong’s comments about the rings saying they’ve no idea what they are or where they came from, before revealing they know one thing they’re signalling someone or something.
Captain Marvel excuses herself after this revelation, and Bruce welcomes Katy and Shang-Chi to “the chaos”. Following their call, Wong suggests that the pair rest up because the course of their lives will never be the same again. Shang-Chi and Katy agree before suggesting a better idea, and they take Wong to Karaoke.
After the actual credits, we get the final stinger. Xialing, who Shang-Chi believed was dismantling the Ten Rings organisation, is seen in her father’s old fortress having established a new version of the deadly terrorist organisation. As she sits in her father’s old throne, we suddenly cut to a card that says “The Ten Rings will return… “ suggesting the group’s role in the MCU is far from over.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in theatres now.