SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film opens with the legend of the ten rings, a mythical set of weapons that can give the wearer god-like powers. For centuries, the one holding the rings was a man named Wenwu (Tony Leung), who used its powers for corrupt purposes. He is seen wiping out a whole army by himself with the power of the rings. Wenwu later establishes his own organization, the Ten Rings, which influenced the course of history with them taking over various kingdoms and governments.
In 1996, Wenwu, not yet fully satisfied with his power, seeks out the village of Ta Lo to find a mythical dragon and acquire its powers. When he makes it to the village’s entrance, he encounters a woman named Ying Li (Fala Chen), who guards the entrance to Ta Lo. She and Wenwu engage in a fight, where she displays her own impressive combat skills, but the two immediately begin to fall in love. The two have children, including a son, Shang-Chi (Jayden Tianyi Zhang). Li gives her son an emerald pendant.
In the present day, Shang-Chi (now played by Simu Liu) lives in San Francisco and goes by “Shaun”. He receives a mysterious postcard with an image of a dragon on it. He works as a valet with his best friend Katy Chen (Awkwafina). The two are content with their lives, but their friends John (Kunal Dudheker) and Soo (Stephanie Hsu) make them feel like they’re wasting their lives and their potential. Shang-Chi and Katy continue to hang out on their own and get drunk at a karaoke bar.
The next day, Shang-Chi and Katy board a bus when they are approached by a man demanding that Shang-Chi give him the pendant that he still wears around his neck. Other goons, led by a hulking one-handed man named Razor Fist (Florian Munteanu), start to attack, and Shang-Chi’s earlier combat training kicks in, so he proceeds to fight the men and wipe the floor with them. Unfortunately, Razor Fist uses his, erm, razor to slice the brakes off the bus and kill the driver, prompting Katy to take the helm while Shang-Chi continues to fight. They manage to lose the villains, but they have stolen the pendant.
Katy begins to ask Shang-Chi questions about who he really is. He reveals to her that he has a sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), whom he was separated from after he left his father. Shang-Chi shows Katy the postcard he was sent and believes it’s from Xialing. They board a plane to Macau to find her, where Shang-Chi explains the training he went through under the Ten Rings, but as he realized that his father wanted him to become a killer, he chose to abandon his father’s teachings and escaped to America.
In Macau, Shang-Chi and Katy come across an underground fight club operated by Jon Jon (Ronny Chieng). They witness Wong (Benedict Wong) battling Emil Blonsky/The Abomination (Tim Roth). Wong beats his opponent by creating a portal that causes Abomination to punch himself in the face and knock himself out. Shang-Chi then signs up to go next and must fight Xialing. She fights her brother until he tells her that their father is coming for them and the other pendant, which is in her possession. Xialing is resentful to Shang-Chi for abandoning her after their mother’s death. When Shang-Chi produces the postcard, Xialing says it wasn’t her that sent him that. Soon, Ten Rings assassins, led by Death Dealer (Andy Le), begin to attack the place as Xialing ditches Shang-Chi and Katy. Shang-Chi fights the assassins just outside the building and defeats most of them, but Wenwu soon arrives and takes Shang-Chi, Katy, and Xialing with him.
Everyone arrives at the Ten Rings compound, where Wenwu provides his children and Katy with dinner. He wants Shang-Chi to take his place as his successor to lead the Ten Rings, but Shang-Chi wants nothing to do with his father’s legacy. Wenwu also mentions the fake Mandarin character from America that falsely represented him and his organization. He talks about Li and how everything in his life changed for him after they met, and how lost he felt when she died. Desperate to bring her back, he learned of a gate in the mountains of Ta Lo where he believes Li is trapped and must be set free, as he claims he can hear her voice calling out to him. Wenwu takes Shang-Chi and Xialing’s pendants and places them in the eyes of a dragon statue, activating some kind of water map for him to enter Ta Lo. After Wenwu expresses his plan to invade Ta Lo and burn it to the ground, Shang-Chi vocally objects, and his father lays him on the ground before imprisoning him, Katy, and Xialing.
In their captivity, the trio meet Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley), the former fake Mandarin who has since been captured for his impersonation, but his only company is a furry faceless creature he calls Morris. With their help, the trio find an escape route that leads to the garage, and they steal Razor Fist’s car to make their way to Ta Lo.
On their path, the forest attempts to “eat” the group as they drive through it, but they manage to make it to Ta Lo safely. Among the inhabitants are other mythical beasts like shishi lions, and it is also where Morris originates from, as he is known as a hundun. When confronted by the villagers, the group is met by their leader, Ying Nan (Michelle Yeoh), who was Li’s sister and therefore the aunt of Shang-Chi and Xialing. Nan explains to them (plus Katy and Trevor) that they guard the Dark Gate where the Dweller-in-Darkness lives. It is a soul-sucking monster whose army previously slaughtered thousands. Before they could make their way into the outside world, the warriors of Ta Lo fought back alongside the dragon guardian, the Great Protector, and they helped imprison the Dweller behind the gates. The Dweller is manipulating Wenwu into believing that Li’s voice is calling out to him. Nan takes Shang-Chi and Xialing to view suits that their mother crafted for them while Katy is trained in archery. Nan takes Shang-Chi to a location to help hone his fighting skills and train the way his mother learned how to fight, as she was the only one who could ever defeat Wenwu.
As Wenwu continues going over his research of Ta Lo, a flashback is shown where old adversaries of the Ten Rings, the Iron Gang, attacked the compound, and while Li fought them off, she was killed by them. In his fury, Wenwu took the young Shang-Chi with him and made him witnessed as he used the ten rings to slaughter the Iron Gang, and Shang-Chi first witnesses the brutality of his father. Shang-Chi later confides to Katy that he worries he is no different from his father and resolves that he must kill Wenwu to stop him from hurting others.
Soon, Wenwu leads the Ten Rings as they make their way into Ta Lo, and the heroes and villagers all gather for battle. As the fight rages on, Shang-Chi confronts Wenwu with a bo staff. The two fight, with Wenwu punching his son into the ocean. He proceeds to go and open the Dark Gate, unleashing several soul-sucking demons, one of which kills Death Dealer and prompts Razor Fist into agreeing to work with Xialing and Nan. The demons suck out more souls as fuel to release the Dweller. While underwater, Shang-Chi encounters the Great Protector, who helps him rise out and return to finish fighting Wenwu. Shang-Chi manages to take control of the rings, but he chooses to not kill Wenwu to prove he is nothing like him. Unfortunately, the Dweller is released from its prison. Wenwu relinquishes the power of the rings to his son just before the Dweller absorbs his soul. The monster proceeds to rampage across the village, taking Shang-Chi and Xialing. When she tells Shang-Chi to let her go so that they won’t both die, he refuses and continues to hold onto her. Katy fires an arrow at the Dweller’s throat. Shang-Chi uses the rings to fire blasts at the Dweller while the Great Protector gets a few hits in. Shang-Chi hurls the rings into the Dweller’s chest and lands one final powerful move to rip the beast to shreds.
The survivors honor their fallen warriors, including Shang-Chi honoring Wenwu. They light lanterns and send them off across the waters.
Shang-Chi and Katy return home and recap their whole adventure to John and Soo, who both think the two are mocking them. Then Wong opens a portal into the bar in front of everyone to invite Shang-Chi and Katy along for another mission. The two waste no time and step through the portal.
Mid-Credits Scene: Shang-Chi and Katy meet Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) with Wong as they discuss that when Shang-Chi used the ten rings, it activated a beacon. Before they can continue to figure out what it means, Shang-Chi and Katy take Wong to the karaoke bar where they get drunk and sing “Hotel California”.
Post-Credits Scene: Xialing now appears to be the new leader of the Ten Rings, with Razor Fist now working under her as the surviving members are seen continuing their training while she makes new plans for their future.
The ten rings are an ancient set of mythical weapons that give the wearer god-like powers. They come into the possession of Wenwu, a power-hungry man who uses the rings to overthrow nations. While seeking out more power from the secret village of Ta Lo, he encounters the guardian of the village, Ying Li, who not only proves to be a capable fighter against Wenwu, but they also fall in love and have two children, Shang-Chi and Xialing. Wenwu attempted to train his son under his organization, the Ten Rings, after Li was killed by a rival gang. After witnessing his father's brutality and refusing to take any part in his world, Shang-Chi retreats to America.
Shang-Chi is forced to revisit his past alongside his best friend Katy when Ten Rings assassins sent by Wenwu come looking for him. The two find Xialing, who is angry with Shang-Chi for leaving her with their father. Wenwu finds them all and tells them that he believes Li is imprisoned in Ta Lo, as he claims to hear her voice calling to him. In reality, the voice he hears belongs to an ancient evil creature called the Dweller-in-Darkness, a soul-sucking monster who was imprisoned behind the Dark Gate by the warriors of Ta Lo and the dragon guardian, the Great Protector. Shang-Chi, Katy, Xialing, and the former fake Mandarin, Trevor Slattery, find Ta Lo and meet Li's sister Nan, who helps the heroes train in preparation for Wenwu's arrival.
The battle begins when the Ten Rings arrive and Wenwu attempts to open the Dark Gate. Shang-Chi fights his father and eventually acquires control of the rings, but he chooses to not kill Wenwu. The Dweller is freed and kills Wenwu after he relinquishes the rings to his son. Shang-Chi, aided by Katy, Xialing, and the Great Protector, battle against the Dweller until Shang-Chi uses the rings to deliver the killing blow to destroy the beast. The surviving fighters honor their fallen, including Shang-Chi honoring Wenwu.
Shang-Chi and Katy return home but are recruited by the sorcerer Wong for a new mission. They meet Bruce Banner and Carol Danvers to investigate a beacon emitted by Shang-Chi using the ten rings. Meanwhile, Xialing appears to be the new leader of the Ten Rings.