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In Shang-Chi, One Scene Stands Above The Rest

Contains spoilers for "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"

Although some fans were worried about how well an exclusively theatrical release would go for "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," the Simu Liu-led Marvel movie has been met with rave reviews and a healthy box office haul. Indeed, all early indications suggest that Marvel Studios and Disney have yet another hit on their hands with "Shang-Chi," which serves as an encouraging sign for the entertainment industry that theatrical releases can still be profitable even in the most uncertain of times. It's also just brilliant to see a big-budget MCU movie with a predominantly Asian cast do so well.

The film itself definitely feels unique coming off previous Marvel films like "Black Widow" and "Spider-Man: Far From Home" too. Shang-Chi's (Simu Liu) character arc in the film, for example, is all about embracing his past while forging a better path forward for himself, and it's brilliantly communicated by all involved. However, while Shang-Chi's father, Wenwu (Tony Leung), is the main villain of the film, his actions ultimately lead to the release of something much more sinister: a terrifying creature known simply as the Dweller-in-Darkness. Fortunately, the creature's appearance in the film's third act ultimately leads to the one moment in "Shang-Chi" that stands firmly above the rest.

Shang-Chi vs. the Dweller-in-Darkness

The ending of "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" takes place entirely in the mystical realm of Ta Lo and focuses on the film's titular hero as he tries to stop his father from unleashing the Dweller-in-Darkness. It's a thrilling battle, and it's only heightened by the fact that Wenwu truly believes he's trying to save his wife, unaware the whole time that he's helping release a powerful creature who wants to snack on his soul. Of course, the creature inevitably breaks free of its prison, revealing itself in all its ugly, terrifying glory.

After Wenwu is killed by the Dweller-in-Darkness, Shang-Chi begins wielding his father's rings in an attempt to use them against the monstrous creature. Although things begin looking dire at one point as well, Katy (Awkwafina) manages to give her friend the upper hand against the Dweller-in-Darkness by shooting it in the neck with an arrow. This distracts the creature long enough for Shang-Chi to begin manipulating the ten rings inside the Dweller-in-Darkness' body — spinning them into a devastating and vicious circle of powerful, destructive energy.

With the rings eviscerating the creature's body from within, the film's climactic battle reaches its end when Shang-Chi swiftly twists his arms and the Dweller-in-Darkness explodes in a mess of bloody chunks. It's an undeniably triumphant moment for Shang-Chi, Katy, and Xialing (Meng'er Zhang) — one that proves that Shang-Chi and Xialing can move on from their troubled childhoods and work together for the greater good. It also, notably, sees Katy finally accepting some responsibility and accomplishing more in her life than just coasting along in a dead-end day job. It's the moment in "Shang-Chi" when its three heroes' journeys all come full circle and, on a purely cinematic level, works as a strong reminder of just how rewarding it can be to watch these kinds of massive, epic adventures play out on the big screen.