Worried Marvel audiences wouldn’t like Shang-Chi’s non-English opening
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings begins with something unique for an American blockbuster: an 8-minute captioned sequence.
Marvel’s creative team for Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings feared the non-English opening streak would woo American audiences. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, Shang-Chi is the first film to arrive in Phase 4 of the MCU that focuses on an all-new hero. Rising star Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi, an awe-inspiring fighter with a dark past who has long turned his back on his father’s criminal organization, the Ten Rings. However, as the film reveals that Shang-Chi cannot run away from his past forever.
Shang-Chi is a monumental step forward for the MCU, in that it is the first film in the franchise to feature an Asian lead role. It happened after years of questionable characters like Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). Almost immediately, Shang-Chi immerses viewers in the world of its hero; an opening sequence traces the rise of the Ten Rings and the story of Shang-Chi’s parents, Wenwu (Tony Leung) and Ying Li (Fala Chen). The opening avoids using English, with Mandarin subtitles instead. It gives the whole movie an authentic touch rarely seen in Hollywood blockbusters.
Because of this, Marvel was concerned that American audiences would be reluctant to caption the launch of an MCU movie. In a recent THR story about the manufacturing process Shang-ChiMarvel Studios President Kevin Feige recalled how he and the creative team viewed the test screenings to see how viewers responded to the unique opening. In the end, however, that wasn’t a problem. Feige said:
“Frankly, we were always ready to see if the audience would reject it in our test screenings and be like, ‘OK, are we going to have to pull a wire here in any way? »Which was not our first instinct. Destiny believed a lot in the fact that the public would accept it, and of course, they did. It wasn’t even a question. It wasn’t even a concern. On the contrary, I think it added to the authenticity of how the film started out.
In recent years, the American public has increasingly accepted subtitles in their daily entertainment. Just look at breakout successes like Parasite and Squid game see this. While Shang-Chi only tells part of its story in Mandarin as opposed to English, this has helped to reinforce the tendency to introduce other languages into American films. Most recently, Steven Spielberg West Side Story grabbed the headlines for including scenes with Spanish dialogue and no subtitles, which is an even bigger step forward.
Since this is a Marvel movie, Shang-Chi‘s The opening scene might have been a gamble for the creative team, but it can be said to have paid off a lot. It made sense that Wenwu and Ying Li spoke Mandarin instead of English. Like a Shang-Chi 2 is now officially in development at Marvel, hopefully Cretton brings that sensibility to the next one. Not only does this add deeper layers to Shang-Chi’s world, but it also intelligently expands the audience’s world. More “risks” like this, please.
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