SAN JOSE, CA — Just before the labor day weekend, Friday, Sept. 3, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” hit the box office, becoming a historical groundbreaking moment, as the movie features an Asian-led cast and the first-ever Asian superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. The movie features action-packed scenes that took place in the setting of San Francisco Bay Area. Many Marvel enthusiasts, as well as the Asian American community, have been anticipating the release of this movie for nearly five months after the first trailer was released on April 19. The overall response was a new flurry of raving fans claiming that their expectations were exceeded.
The new Marvel superhero Shang-Chi, played by actor Simu Liu, has finally risen from the 1970s Marvel comics where the Asian superhero was originally introduced. Liu himself has said he’s been “manifesting this kind of superhero role for myself for a long time.” The character has been someone who has impressed the crowd of moviegoers by the character’s storyline and performance since the beginning of the movie release. For many people, this success indicates an important change in our society. With the increased exposure and representation of Asian Americans, people are finally being able to witness themselves on the big screen.
Many people might wonder why people are finally starting to see this type of inclusiveness with Asians in the media now, but it could potentially be because of all the new ideas and beliefs in this day and age. Diversity is something that many entertainment companies are trying to improve on in order to make themselves more reputable to the general audience. Lack of Asian representation in the media isn’t something that has never been discussed, it was just something that was always consistently disregarded. Considering the fact that Marvel is bringing forth such great promotions and spending such a high budget for this movie, it really gives the Asian American community some hope that the entertainment industry will open much more opportunities to Asian American actors.
Initially, when people see Asian American actors on screen, they usually are shown as supporting characters just for casual comedic, philosophical, sentimental, or stunt purposes. This can start to feel as if they are using Asians to portray characters that are solely viewed as exotic and oriental. Seeing those few bits of Asian representation in the media was enough for a while until it wasn’t. People started to witness adaptations of Asian-written stories played by well-known white actors from saturated entertainment. A lot of the Asian American community as well as fans of certain shows in Asia have expressed their frustrations towards the lack of action upon this situation. It was about time people can see Asians taking on and leading a movie in a big protagonist role and actor Liu seems to finally be delivering us exactly that!
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