Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be opening some big new doors for the Marvel Cinematic Universe - and in a lot of ways, it's a movie that fans have very few expectations about. However, the unknown can also be a major challenge for a new film property hoping to launch a major franchise. So far, word-of-mouth about Shang-Chi is that it delivers Marvel-level martial arts action that fans are going to love; however, there are also rumblings that the film also gets very dark in certain places - darker than most Marvel fans are probably expecting, and maybe comfortable with
Well, Shang-Chi producer Jonathan Schwartz spoke to Comicbook.com's Brandon Davis about the issue of Shang-Chi's tone - and some of the dark turn it takes. According to Schwartz, getting too dark was never a concern for the filmmakers:
"I mean, it really wasn't a question of, is it going to be too dark or too scary, but is it going to feel real? Is it going to feel like this character? Is it going to feel like this world? Are we going to give the audience the emotion that we are trying to give them?"
As Shang-Chi trailers have shown, there are indeed some very serious portions of the film - especially when it comes to the family drama portion of the story. Scenes of a young Shang-Chi's harsh training by his father The Mandarin are spliced with scenes of modern-day Shang-Chi still scarred (mentally and physically) by the traumas of his upbringing. Schwartz admits that when it comes to scenes of what is arguably child abuse, Shang-Chi does indeed get a bit serious:
"I think putting them in the headspace of young Shang-Chi ... I assume that's part of what you're talking about when you talk about the darkness. It was exciting. It felt exciting. It felt visceral. It felt like we were really getting at something cool.
So, in general, if there's a moment or an idea or a feeling that scares us, we feel risk, we're all like, 'Oh, we'll know we'll always do it and go for it and run at it.' And then, if it feels like you've gone too far, you can always pull back. But I think we've learned to kind of trust those feelings to keep us from impeding ourselves."
Marvel movies have moved fans with a combination of both their fantastical action sequences and powerful dramatic hearts. Sounds like Shang-Chi will be no different.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be in theaters on September 3rd.