Asian-Americans, Wisconsinites are flocking to watch Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ this holiday weekend

Published: Sep. 4, 2021 at 8:39 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings made a splash debut in Wisconsin, a local theater chain said, as moviegoers in the Asian-American community explained why this film is more than flashy stunts.

“I give it like an 11 out of 10. It was amazing,” Pam Thao, who watched Marvel Studio’s latest film Thursday, said.

Shang-Chi is “by far” the top movie across Marcus Theatres and, specifically, in Dane County, according to the chain’s general manager Tom Reichelt. He explained, Labor Day weekend is not traditionally a popular weekend for moviegoers.

“But with movies coming out like Shang-Chi, my goodness, the excitement in our industry is very high,” Reichelt said.

Marvel Studio’s latest film features Simu Liu as Xu Shang-Chi, who returns to his family to fight in fantastical plots. Liu is the studio’s first Asian lead and is joined by a mostly-Asian cast.

“I think it feels very personal for me,” Thao said. “I think it’s great to say, ‘Have you seen Shang-Chi? He’s Asian American like me.’”

Frank Wan, who also watched the film on opening night, said, “I grew up in Hong Kong, but I also moved to the States, so I guess I kind of related to the main character.”

Wan continued, he wished the movie focused more on cultural themes, such as identity and belonging as it applies to first-generation immigrants.

For some Asian-American audiences, the film’s timing had meaning. Thao pointed to the past year, which was marked by violent acts of Asian hate.

The movie, she said, “brings out more comfort and more empowering emotions.”

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