Marvel: ‘Shang-Chi’ Before it’s Theatrical Release

Promotional image of Simu Liu as Shang-Chi from ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’. Copyright goes to Marvel Studios and the Walt Disney Company.

Hey! Hallie here!

As a Marvel fan, I think it’s really important to address what’s going on with this movie at the moment. As it’s release date gets closer it feels like everything is getting more tense. And rightfully so. This isn’t just a film taking one of the first steps into trying to balance a theatrical release with a streaming release. This film also has the heavy burden on its shoulders of trying to prove to Hollywood that movies with BIPOC casts, creatives, and crews are necessary for the future of the industry. Of course, this film isn’t the only one that has to do this. Unfortunately, as of now it feels like every film with major BIPOC involvement gets put under extra scrutiny. It says a lot that after the major triumph that was ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, ‘Shang-Chi’ is STILL being put under this scrutiny. There’s so much worth supporting here, so much that’s worth getting a bit stressed about, and so much that was mishandled along the way. Before I get into all of that I want to stress that I AM NOT ASIAN OR ASIAN AMERICAN. I’m a white girl. My opinions on this are far less important than the opinions of the Asian community. My only goal here is to raise awareness to this situation.

‘Shang-Chi’s Marketing :

This is being talked about the most between fans. This is also, in all honesty, my major purpose for this post. I want to make sure everyone hears about ‘Shang-Chi’ as much as possible right now because Disney’s marketing has been absolutely awful. It feels like Simu Liu and his social media have been doing most of the work to get people to see this film. That is never okay. An actor should not have to put themselves in charge of marketing because of the horrible job the company has been doing. When ‘Black Widow’ was releasing on Disney+, I got an add for it every single time I went to any of my social media accounts. I don’t even have cable anymore and I still managed to see enough television ads for the movie to wear me out. I have seen practically nothing for Shang-Chi. Even the trailer didn’t get nearly as much hype as I expected. Every single Marvel show on Disney+ was promoted so much more than Shang-Chi, that I received wave after wave of promotional content to bury any hype for the film. Including the really dumb Captain Carter Twitter flub. It was Simu-Liu’s tweets, about how overjoyed he was to join Marvel and how happy he was to attend the Avengers Campus opening in the Disney Parks, that kept reminding me how exciting this movie’s release is. I’m just going to say it. It feels racially motivated. And that’s because there’s not really another explanation for it. So here’s your reminder to talk about this movie as much as possible! ‘Shang-Chi’ looks awesome and the trailer is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. GO WATCH IT WHEN IT COMES OUT.

Disney CEO Comments:

Here’s the other thing that’s being talked about a lot right now. While speaking about the 45 day theatrical release ‘Shang-Chi’ will have before releasing on Disney+, Disney CEO Bob Chapek called the movie an “interesting experiment”. I won’t comment on whether or not this is “just a misunderstanding” or “extremely malicious” because that isn’t my place to say. What I will say is, either way you view it, it was inappropriate. Even if you view this as a misunderstanding, calling the first Asian-led Marvel movie an “interesting experiment” in any context is remarkably idiotic. Simu Liu was right to come out in defense of this beautiful movie and all of the amazing people who worked on it. It deserves to be viewed as much more than just an “interesting experiment”. Yes, many people are interested to see what delaying placing this movie on Disney+ will do, but none of that reflects the hard work that was put into this movie or the immense importance of what this movie is. It deserves more respect and thoughtfulness from everyone, let alone a Disney CEO.

Unfair Expectations:

I already talked a bit about the unfair scrutiny BIPOC-led movies get. Hollywood always seems to be waiting for one of these films to fail so they can get back to their normal performative casting and refusal to tell BIPOC stories. The Asian-American community is definitely one of the groups that has been experiencing a major lack of representation in Hollywood. And ‘Shang-Chi’s efforts to fight against this issue are being met with the same amount of push back you’d expect from Hollywood. That alone is a lot of pressure. But ‘Shang-Chi’ is also expected to do well when most movies are still struggling in the box office. Theaters have taken a major hit during the pandemic. And cases are back on the rise because of the recent variant. Yet Shang-Chi is expected to overcome all of this to prove itself and hopefully prove an audience desire to keep going to the movies. None of this is fair. It feels like too much. But if you can and if it’s safe, support this movie. It deserves to destroy the expectations being placed on it and demand its seat at the Marvel table.

There’s a lot more aspects to talk about here. Like the recent hesitancy to support Awkwafina from the Black community. This hesitancy is valid, but it doesn’t excuse turning your back on this movie. There are so many other people who put their heart and soul into this movie. Simu-Liu himself deserves to be supported and respected just for the amount of joy he brings everyone daily. And the sheer amount of amazing people working alongside him is nothing to scoff at. The amount of young kids who deserve this representation and much more to come, the amount of people who are already emotional over what seeing a superhero like Shang-Chi on the big screen really means, all of that holds the most importance. Simu Liu, when talking about how honored he was to be a part of this movie, spoke about how much he looks forward to the day that movies like this will stop being firsts and start being normal. This is why you need to go see ‘Shang-Chi’. Go see this movie because it looks awesome, but also go see it so that we can tell everyone that we need more movies like this in the future. Let’s get hyped! It’s first reviews are excellent and it deserves the hype!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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