You can watch Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings for 'free' now. Here's how
Disney Plus Day is finally here, which means you can watch the latest Marvel movie for no additional cost.
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If you haven't watched Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings yet, or loved it and want to see it again, you finally can. As of today, the popular and long anticipated Marvel movie can be streamed on Disney Plus for free, instead of the previous $30 rental fee. Today is Disney Plus Day and the streaming service has removed its Premier Access price tag from several movies so Disney Plus subscribers can watch for free.
We'll tell you how to start streaming Shang-Chi without paying extra, as well as what you can expect from the film. Don't worry, no spoilers here. And if you're not yet a Disney Plus subscriber, you can get your first month for $2 right now.
How to watch Shang-Chi for free on Disney Plus Day and beyond
Shang-Chi began streaming on Disney Plus for free on Friday to everyone subscribed to the service. Along with a bunch of other premier movies -- including Disney's Jungle Cruise and the Home Alone reboot -- it will continue to be free as long as you have a subscription. Normally Disney Plus charges an additional $30 on top of the subscription charge.
If you're already a Disney Plus member, just search for Shang-Chi like you would any other movie and tap Play. You'll also likely see it on the Home page. If you don't have a subscription, you'll need to get one -- you can cancel any time.
The character, a master of unarmed combat, first appeared in Marvel comics in 1973, when the ABC TV drama Kung Fu, starring David Carradine, was popular. Shang-Chi was born the son of supervillain Fu Manchu but later opposed his father's ways. In 2013, he joined The Avengers. He's also been affiliated with the Heroes for Hire but is often simply a lone-wolf character.
His main power wasn't really a traditional superpower. Instead, he had the ability to master forms of combat, earning the nickname the Master of Kung Fu. In later years, though, he did gain the power to replicate himself, which could come in handy.
CNET film critic Richard Trenholm writes, "Shang-Chi comes with Marvel strengths and weaknesses while also feeling like something winningly new."
He goes on to say that the film is "visually and narratively distinct from the rest of the franchise. Shang-Chi is Marvel's first Asian lead, and the style of the film draws on the rich history of Asian cinema, from martial arts movies to gangster films to romance, and in particular the lush visual and emotional style of wuxia epics."
It's full of action, engaging characters and Marvel's trademark humor, Trenholm says.
CNET's Joan E. Solsman also loved the film: "Built on a framework telling the story of one family's reckoning with grief, it layers on action and humor while playfully blending genres, for the best kind of summer popcorn flick."
What's are in the Shang-Chi trailers?
The first official trailer came out in June, and focuses heavily on the relationship between Shang-Chi and his father. Wenwu is seen telling a young Shang-Chi about the family's relationship with the Ten Rings, and that he must prove himself worthy. Later, he says that he told his men they couldn't kill Shang-Chi even if they tried, and he's glad he was right, while Shang-Chi dismisses his dad as "just a criminal who murders people." Just as with Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, things lead up to a big father-son battle.
Lights, camera, action
A second trailer, out in July, briefly brings in rapper Awkwafina, who plays Katy, Shang-Chi's friend, before rehashing the father-son conflict that's such a big part of the film. Bus fights, car chases, helicopters, underwater battles, scenic cities at night -- the action-film cliches all show up.
What else do we know?
Who's your daddy?
Shang-Chi's dad in the comics is Fu Manchu, a character who's also been associated with racial stereotypes. Marvel Studios doesn't have the film rights for that character, and doubtless doesn't want to dredge up the racist issues he brings. So for this film, Shang-Chi's father is The Mandarin, a known Marvel supervillain, and the leader of the Ten Rings. He'll be played by Tony Leung Chiu-wai.
"I think [Leung] brings a humanity that we need for that character," director Destin Daniel Cretton told Observer. "We are not looking to contribute anymore to the Asian stereotypes that we have seen both in cinema and pop culture. We're hoping to just show some different sides to both Asian-Americans and Chinese-Americans and mainland Chinese characters. Tommy is such an incredible actor and I'm excited to have him help us break some of those stereotypes because that villain could easily become a punchline."
What's with the Ten Rings?
The Ten Rings is the once-dormant international terrorist group that kidnaps Tony Stark in the first Iron Man movie. It's while being held captive by the Ten Rings that Stark builds his first Iron Man suit. In addition to The Mandarin, past members include Jackson Norriss, cybercriminal Cordo Gaines and the deceased Raza.
Also, in the film's first trailer, Wenwu tells his son, Shang-Chi, that "throughout my life, the Ten Rings gave our family power," and the rings are shown as actual, physical bracelets with eerie lights and some kind of superpower.
Flip through 32 Marvel-ous images from this super exhibit
The ending of the movie draws on Chinese myth and martial arts philosophy without spelling things out explicitly. Here's one interpretation of the climactic action (spoilers!) and how it's driven by Shang-Chi's newfound connection to his roots.