As a martial arts fantasy blockbuster that promises plenty of intricately choreographed hand-to-hand combat and wushu-inspired wire-work, it isn’t too hard to guess some of the movies that inspired director Destin Daniel Cretton when he began creating the world of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
However, it definitely comes as a surprise that Good Will Hunting served as an inspiration, when there aren’t many parallels to be drawn between the Academy Award winning drama and a superhero epic that’s set to feature mystical powers, CGI creatures, and what early reactions have dubbed some of the MCU’s best-ever action sequences.
At its heart, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is poised to be a father/son story between Simu Liu’s title hero and Tony Leung’s Wenwu, otherwise known as the Mandarin. In a new interview, the filmmaker broke down his myriad of influences and explained how they managed to impact what he had in mind for his first Marvel Cinematic Universe feature.
“One of the very loose inspirations for tone and character was Good Will Hunting, which may be a surprise. Will Hunting is a character that I think has a lot of similarities to Shang-Chi, just in that they have a big secret and they have a lot of baggage that they have to learn to deal with in order to step into their fully realized shoes. Every Jackie Chan movie ever made, the Ip Man series, there’s a big inspiration from Jet Li’s Tai-Chi Master, and, of course, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
There is a long list. I cannot not give enough props to Kung Fu Hustle, which is one of my favorites. We watched a lot of these classic movies to make sure that we were paying proper respect to them and to the long history of martial arts and kung-fu movies that came before us.”
Kung Fu Hustle is another left field inclusion, when the irreverent comedy is often straight up slapstick, something that you wouldn’t expect from a project like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, even if the MCU has always been heavily indebted to one-liners and quips.
We can only hope that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings performs well enough with critics and at the box office to merit a sequel despite the Delta variant lurking in the background. The early signs are hugely encouraging, and we could be set for one of the superhero saga’s finest origin stories when it finally arrives on September 3rd.