S4 E24 Becoming Shang-Chi: An Asian Superhero Origin Story


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[Episode theme]

In this episode, we talk about the latest Marvel blockbuster, “Shang-Chi: legend of the ten rings.” At the time of publishing, Shang-Chi has become the first pandemic film to gross over $200M at the box office. We dive deep into what we love and appreciate about this film — the various styles of fight scenes, Tony Leung, care paid to language and dialect. And where we find the movie to be falling short — the ambiguity of Taluo, the tired narratives when it comes to womanhood, motherhood, and a woman’s role in the marriage.


  • 1:19 — Guest intro and first impressions
  • 8:00 — How Marvel creates an “anti-hero” the audience loves (Wenwu)
  • 15: 00 — Are the Chinese dialogue and dialects in this film legit?
  • 26: 24 — The references of Wuxia style in this film, and a smart appropriating of Chinese fantasy elements
  • 32: 21 — Awkwafina is the first female Asian character whose main use is to be a getaway driver (we dig)
  • 34: 11 — Is the story of Taluo holding up under scrutiny? What are the weaknesses of world-building in this film, when compared with “Black Panther”? Do we need this type of ambiguity in geography and history? Do we need an Asian “Wakanda”?
  • 49: 00 — Marvel commoditized the identity movement of Asian Americans but did not dig deep into their stories in this film
  • 51: 20 — The movie’s polite but ultimately inadequate nod to feminism
  • 56: 16 — Are we tired of the same old narrative of a woman sacrificing herself for a relationship
  • 59: 00 — As a part of the Chinese audience, how should we understand cultural creations that belong to Chinese Americans?

[Guest introduction]

Frankie: Chinese American illustrator

Kao: Host of the podcast “Overcooked” https://overcooked.typlog.io/

[Audio editor]

Joshua Odgen-Davis

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