The MCU welcomes another new superhero into the fold this week as Shang-Chi makes his long-awaited debut in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Simu Liu takes the lead role as the martial arts expert in a film that also promises to finally shed more light on the terrorist Ten Rings organisation - first encountered in the debut MCU movie Iron Man some 13 years ago.
Ahead of the film's general release this Friday, scroll on to find out what some of the top movie critics had to say about Marvel's latest addition.
Martial arts blockbuster kickstarts Marvel's next phase: "Like so many MCU movies, Shang-Chi slightly overbakes its action-packed climax, but Cretton peppers the overwhelming visual effects with some sneaky sprinkles of levity. It all adds up to a smart and satisfying superhero romp that suggests Marvel is nowhere near ready to relinquish its hold on the genre."
Marvel's best solo film in years: "With the international scope of a James Bond film, a charismatic lead and a tender balance of cinematic homage and genre requirements, Shang-Chi announces another ground-breaking figure to the Marvel universe. Here's hoping that we don't have to wait too long for Shang-Chi's next adventure."
Marvel's martial-arts action-fest is spirited fare: "This is an action-adventure fantasy in which the stylised, anti-gravity qinggong fighting styles of wuxia fiction are effectively brought into alignment with Avenger-type superpowers. It's an entertaining, if generically pretty familiar MCU movie with incidental funny roles and ironic quirks to provide approachability and relatability and leaven the seriousness."
A sharp, full-bodied addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: "Director/co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton's film accomplishes something akin to what Black Panther accomplished in better times. It broadens the scope of superhero representation and storytelling. It offers an adversary, and a father figure, of teasing ambiguity and complicated rooting interests."
Liu deserves to become a star: "The latest Marvel blockbuster is based on a character so obscure he's probably unfamiliar to all but the most completist comic-book fans. It doesn't matter in the slightest. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is one of the most enjoyable, wittily scripted films Marvel has produced. Marvel films can often feel like a piece in a larger puzzle, rather than a self-contained story. No such issue here."
A hugely entertaining step in the right direction for Asian representation: "Liu knocks it out of the park as Shang-Chi, adding a tad of levity to the known-to-be-serious comic book character. As expected, Awkwafina hits all the comedic cues while remaining Shang-Chi's anchor through his journey of self-discovery. The chemistry between Liu and Awkwafina is palpable, exuding a real sense of a found family. Given what's on show here, the future for Shang-Chi and Asian representation in the MCU looks bright."
The New York Times
House of Hidden Dragons: "The film uses the superficial markers of Asian culture and filmmaking without presenting anything unique in its Marvel take on that tradition. Increasingly, as the M.C.U. finally attempts to diversify its roster, it risks delivering more mediocre, trope-heavy token-hero films. I hope I'm wrong, because Shang-Chi - and the female heroes, queer heroes and heroes of color who will hopefully follow - deserve a lot more."
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in cinemas from Friday.