Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings

#22: Happiest Pod celebrates the Asian representation in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings by highlighting “Asian Easter Eggs.” Learn Asian American history, the symbolism of death, and how Shan-Chi integrates his different heritages when he learns to wield the rings.

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Ariel Landrum 0:10
Hello, everyone, welcome to the Happiest Pod On Earth. I’m Ariel.

Stefanie Bautista 0:14
And I’m Stef. And we’re both Disney fans. But we’re really so much more than that.

Ariel Landrum 0:18
I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist who uses my clients passions and fandoms to help them grow and heal from trauma.

Stefanie Bautista 0:24
And I’m an educator who uses my passions and fandoms to help my students grow and learn about themselves and the world around them. Here at Happiest Pod, it’s a place where we dissect Disney mediums with a critical lens.

Ariel Landrum 0:36
Why? Because just like we are more than just fans, we expect more from the mediums we consume. So what Disney the media are we dissecting today?

Stefanie Bautista 0:44
Today we are talking about something we were both super excited about. And it is the movie Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings!

Ariel Landrum 0:54
What what what!

Stefanie Bautista 0:57
The song that came in my head is ‘Like a G6’, because I just heard it the other day. And it took me back to like 2010 when Far East movement was like the only Asian representation we had in mainstream media. And it was like, it was like all of my cousins who liked racing and DJing. They like made a big and I was like, “Is this the beginning? Like, this is so weird, but this tracks such a banger like what’s going on? It’s not cheesy.”

Ariel Landrum 1:30
A little fun fact, I had to perform that song at Stef’s wedding. So I can do that. I have a dance move and a breakdown and the rap. Good to go.

Stefanie Bautista 1:41
Who would have thought for you. What’s what a cultural significance it had. And fast forward to 2021 we have a Marvel superhero in a movie that represents Asian culture. Like that’s wild.

Ariel Landrum 1:55
Yes, it’s absolutely crazy. And the fact that this movie came out during a pandemic, and it is it is making box office hits.

Stefanie Bautista 2:04
Yeah, it’s nonstop right now. It is so far the box most the biggest box office success story of the pandemic. And as of yesterday, Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings has grossed $152.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $112 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $264.6 million. That’s major.

Ariel Landrum 2:30
Oh my goodness.

Stefanie Bautista 2:30
That’s major.

Ariel Landrum 2:31
That’s absolutely major. And then if you think about it, because we’re not including Disney+ subscription streams or premieres, because it’s not premiering on Disney+, you can only see it in theaters. At the time, Luca and Soul were the only ones that skipped theaters entirely. And then Disney had released like five movies in theaters and Disney+, with Free Guy actually being the first one that is just theatrical only. But so this is the first Marvel theatrical least set- release only since the pandemic.

Stefanie Bautista 3:06
And there was a whole controversy about how I don’t know if it was Disney or some executive tweeted that it was like an experiment and Simu Liu came out on Twitter and was like, “We are not an experiment.” Like, “Don’t talk that way about something that’s so culturally significant to us.” And although they might have been talking about the release as an experiment, I think that totally downplayed what Shang-Chi means to us in the AAPI community and, you know, I, I thought that it was right for him to kind of speak up against that because we were we don’t want people to focus on the way it’s being released. But we want people to focus on the content and the storytelling itself.

Ariel Landrum 3:47
Yes. Yes. The really, really interesting thing about this movie is it does make me also think of the live action Milan in the style that the story is portrayed and the filmmaking it’s very reminiscent of Wushu. Close to ‘woo-saw’.

Stefanie Bautista 4:09
Some people say ‘woo-shoo’.

Ariel Landrum 4:10

Stefanie Bautista 4:10
Some people say, ‘woo-shoo’ or ‘woo-saw’.

Ariel Landrum 4:12
And that is a traditional form of specifically popular Chinese fiction that contains like a very specific formula. The elements include usually honorable warriors, powerful swordsman or swordswomen, powerful swords, and a lot of magical and mythical beasts. And before the movie had come out, of course, you know people do somewhat spoilery spoilers which we will also say you have not seen this movie do not listen to this podcast. Do not listen to it. Yup.

Stefanie Bautista 4:42
Pause right now listen to our good friend Billy and his podcast spoiler free on The Movie Grader, or I’m sure there’s other GT podcasts that you can listen to that might be spoiler free, but we are not it so please pause. Because there are going to be many spoilers ahead.

Ariel Landrum 5:00
Yes, so my spoiler was actually a spoiler but it kinda was like I knew there would be mythical creatures, but there were a lot of pictures online being shared with the creatures and they’re like very close representation to Pokemon.

Stefanie Bautista 5:14
Oh yeah, I did not see those spoilers but the way I like screamed and gasp because my favorite Pokemon, fun fact is Vulpix. And of course Vulpix evolves into Nine-Tails.

Ariel Landrum 5:19

Stefanie Bautista 5:27
However knowing that I’ve watched many anime and other like, of course Wushu films and I’m like a little bit educated in Asian history and mythological history. We know that the Nine-Tails is a mythological creature that goes way way way back before Pokemon.

Ariel Landrum 5:43

Stefanie Bautista 5:43
I just think the way that they did it look so much like a Nine-Tails…

Ariel Landrum 5:47

Stefanie Bautista 5:47
That you couldn’t not think, “Oh my gosh, are we getting the crossover I never needed right now is like somebody’s gonna pull out poke ball?” No. And then you saw and then you saw the lion. And you’re like, “Okay, this is where tradition. This is what I was expecting.”

Ariel Landrum 6:02
And and specifically the ‘Aloha.’

Stefanie Bautista 6:04
Oh yeah.

Ariel Landrum 6:05
Yeah, that that Nine-Tails.

Stefanie Bautista 6:07
Yeah, yeah, the Alola Nine-Tails for sure.

Ariel Landrum 6:09
Yeah, yeah. Aloha? Alola!

Stefanie Bautista 6:12
ding ding ding We have one everybody!

Ariel Landrum 6:15
Ah, I tried so hard.

Stefanie Bautista 6:19
I get it. But yeah, you’re right. I think now that you mentioned Mulan, although I did like, I didn’t hate the film. But I didn’t love it for those that for that specific reason. It didn’t remind me of Wushu film. It didn’t remind me of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon didn’t remind me of Ip Man. It didn’t remind me of the level of martial arts I’m used to seeing in these Asian films. I feel like it fell short. The scenery was beautiful. I think the location was absolutely breathtaking. But Shang-Chi the way they did it and the flow of where the martial arts were placed, how intricate it was and the angles it just made me feel like I wasn’t watching a Marvel movie in those moments.

Ariel Landrum 7:06
Yeah, my only disappointment with that film had to be the fact that there was no singing.

Stefanie Bautista 7:12
It holds a special place in my heart for sure for sure.

Ariel Landrum 7:16
But if you think of like the the comparing the two films in regards to the martial arts, it was really only the main character that had these you know, fantastical performative choreography. Everybody else seemed to be you know, fighting with martial arts, but it wasn’t an in a way that that looked like the the sudden magic, I guess you would say that the the whole entire film would take or the variety. Whereas this film through like, from the beginning, all the way to the you know, the big boss fight scene, we saw a variety of martial art styles. And we including a lot that involved more fluid motion versus hard stances and low to the ground, which is the the kind of the work that we’re introduced with the specific villain or main character. These sort of powerful hits. But if you study martial arts in general, there are so many style styling disappearances, that have been taught by, you know, different monks, that it made sense that an older tradition or an older, more magical one involved fluid motion. Really replicating like the wind and being able to always stay within balance.

Stefanie Bautista 8:35
Lots of elements of Tai Chi, I know Fala Chen, who plays Ying Li the mom. Sahng-Chi’s mom, she studied Tai Chi for the role, because she does Tai Chi in one of the scenes with the young kids. And that’s like one of the ways that she’s able to connect with her village of Ta Lo is through those simple movements of Tai Chi and like, that was just so beautiful to see.

Ariel Landrum 8:58
And seeing the imagery of a mother teaching their children but teaching their children a essentially a form of fighting and usually we don’t see women in that role. Even even a daughter and like lots of warrior films is being taught by a male.

Stefanie Bautista 9:16
Yeah, yeah, it’s usually the male passing down to another male or you know, wait like a grandfather per se like doing that. I mean, it even makes me think of Avatar The Last Airbender. I mean that was very much in that same pattern of you know, males teaching males and the women were just kind of outliers or you know, they did something else which was obviously a theme in this movie that yes, decided to break which was also refreshing.

Ariel Landrum 9:43
Yes, and really interesting how, how, I would say blatant they called out essentially like the the male heterosexism and patriarchy in regards to both the the mother and and the the daughter Shang-Chi’s sister. Because I would say in other films, it’s always tiptoed, it’s suggested, it’s never like affirmed and put in your face and the same way this one has.

Stefanie Bautista 10:13
And also I like the way that they it was it it was in your face but it wasn’t thrown in your face, I think of Birds of Prey was one of those movies, a DC movie with Harley Quinn, that was one of those movies that I was like, it’s a little too much in my face. I think they did it beautifully and Shang-Chi, because we all know that in Asian culture, it is normally a male dominated family, like, you know, the father is the head, and everything. But for those of you who are living that reality, you know that the mother is just as strong, if not stronger than the father, because there is so much burden on the mother to be so many different things were so many different hats on top of also working and also, you know, being a caregiver. Like providing for the family in many, many ways. So I think, also like speaking as a Filipina American, a lot of the heads of our families are actually the mother because the moms are the ones just hustling and busting just for their family to have a better life in America. And we do look up to our moms almost the same way as we do for our dads. And I think they did that beautifully here because they it helped Shang-Chi realize that both sides of his ancestry plays a part in his future. And also kind of moving on to the whole second generation Asian American not knowing what they’re doing in America, living down to every expectation that was given to them. Wow did that hit home.

Ariel Landrum 11:46
Yes, yes.

Stefanie Bautista 11:48
Oh my gosh.

Ariel Landrum 11:50
So before we get started on the movie, where did you see it?

Stefanie Bautista 11:54
Okay, so I saw it at a new theater actually. There’s a new theater here in the San Fernando Valley. It’s a Regal Theater.

Ariel Landrum 12:03

Stefanie Bautista 12:03
Normally, like I said in the previous podcast, I go to Burbank, which is kind of like a big hub for movies, because they have like three different movie theaters that have like six to 16 theaters each. This one’s a little closer. It’s like a 10 minute drive instead of like a 20 minute drive. And it was reserved seating reclined seats. And it was brand new so not a lot of people actually know about this theater, which was a plus, because I did take that into consideration every time I go to watch a movie because I’m not 100% like comfortable being in a movie theater at peak Saturday night, Friday night movie times.

Ariel Landrum 12:41

Stefanie Bautista 12:41
I’m still picking the Sunday, the random day off that I have from work. And I watched this actually early matinee. So there wasn’t a lot of people and popcorn was fresh.

Ariel Landrum 12:54

Stefanie Bautista 12:54
It was popped. Hallelujah. And it was overall really good experience because everything was new. And there weren’t a lot of people in the theater probably, I would say less than 50% capacity.

Ariel Landrum 13:08
And who would you go with?

Stefanie Bautista 13:09
I went with my husband and I went with one of my best friends Jason, and he is a huge movie, Marvel movie fan. We have seen many Marvel movies together. And he brings a very fresh and funny take to a lot of things that we watch. So hopefully maybe one day he’ll be on the podcast, because it would be really fun to hear his take on a lot of these things.

Ariel Landrum 13:31
Yes, yes. Okay, so it definitely sounds like this movie theater experience was way better than your Black Widow?

Stefanie Bautista 13:40
Black Widow. For sure, for sure. Yeah, I had to I had to kind of scale it back and was like, You know what, let’s just go back to our roots and pick something. Pick something that’s a little bit better and planned in that way. But where did you watch it?

Ariel Landrum 13:55
So I watched it at a drive in theater. Its Mission Tiki Yheater. It’s about an hour drive away.

Stefanie Bautista 14:05
Not close.

Ariel Landrum 14:06
Not close. And the reason why and maybe we’ll go into more detail about this in another podcast episode. But my partner caught COVID. And I had to take care of him and it took about a week and a half for him to be fully better. And then of course we did full isolation just to ensure that he was well. But when we went to the theater, he was no longer contagious, however, that didn’t mean that we felt that he should be out and about so we thought drive-in theater I could. I had I was testing negative and I was past my essential quarantine period which by the way, for those who don’t know, it’s doubled when you’re the caregiver sharing a bathroom in a home. Because you are increased in the amount of time that you can be exposed. Yeah, so we thought okay, we’ve done Mission Tiki Theater before we did that one other time, when we saw the second Trolls Movie, so we can go there again and I had had some people tell me that this time the kitchen was open. And so I went, the tickets are $10. $10 per adult and you get two movies they’re back to back if you’re willing to stay late. And so it was a Shang-Chi and Black Widow.

Stefanie Bautista 15:22

Ariel Landrum 15:22
Which were the back to back movies. They have four screens and technically if you like pivot in your seat you can see the other screens.

Stefanie Bautista 15:29
You can see the otehr screen yeah.

Ariel Landrum 15:31
And so we paid $10 for a ticket each that’s $20 and then we bought three street tacos. One thing of loaded nachos one thing a medium popcorn, pretzel m&ms and sprite.

Stefanie Bautista 15:47
So you’re not hungry.

Ariel Landrum 15:50
Oh I was starving and it all cost about $32.

Stefanie Bautista 15:56
I love Mission Tiki. The time that I went recently was to watch the Tax Collector with Shia Labeouf. And only because I had my baby with me and he was brand news so we went and it was quite drive but yeah they they had the kitchen open but I didn’t get to eat anything other than popcorn and hot dogs because I think it was limited because it was still like kind of like locked down time at the time it was playing so yeah I love how old school it is where it has the pavement is angled so when you park your car you’re like kind of watching it from below up you’re like slanted.

Ariel Landrum 16:35
Yes and that that means that you’re always facing the screen you don’t have to worry about the vehicle in front of you being too big. The other thing is like the the two times I’ve gone and I’ve seen that I was trying to think of other drive-in movie experiences I’ve had and I had one in Palm Springs. It was not angled parking and it was in a dirt parking lot and then the only other like image in my mind about drive throughs was Grease. And in Grease there it’s also it’s a paved parking lot but it’s flat it’s not angled and they have poles at each car I don’t know if you notice so I thought that’s like your your designated spot?

Stefanie Bautista 17:06
Also I think back then remember when we went to Walt Disney World and we went into that cool restaurant…

Ariel Landrum 17:11

Stefanie Bautista 17:12
It looks like a drive-in?

Ariel Landrum 17:13
Yeah I love that restaurant.

Stefanie Bautista 17:15
I know about restaurants Oh great. Those poles sometimes our speakers because back then they couldn’t broadcast the movie movie back then so those were speakers because I remember the one here in the valley that closed long long time ago it was super old school like that and like in the 50s like during Grease and they had boxes and that was that speaker

Ariel Landrum 17:35
Okay well there there you go there you go. I just the few times that I’ve gone I just remembered I assumed I’d have like quote unquote assigned seating with my car because of the that movie and the way it looked Now. I know that that speakers thank you thank you.

Stefanie Bautista 17:50
You’re welcome.

Ariel Landrum 17:51
In this case the the audio comes straight from a radio station and they tell you the station number and all of the like all of the commercials so there was only vit there’s very few trailers but there are a lot of commercials beforehand.

Stefanie Bautista 18:09
Isn’t it weird?

Ariel Landrum 18:10
Yes and they were all car themed commercials either insurance or buying a car which you know apropos were there that made sense.

Stefanie Bautista 18:18
In your car? Yeah, I think I when I went there I turned back into a playing Nightmare Before Christmas. That was kind of cool.

Ariel Landrum 18:25

Stefanie Bautista 18:26
Yeah, but that place was really cool. I know that there’s more driving theaters across America. I think there are just so many of them closed here and they been turned into swap meets. So Mission Tiki is one of the ones that is still around but is quite a drive from the Metropolitan Los Angeles area.

Ariel Landrum 18:43
And it is tiki themed even the the ceiling panels which you know you’re usually like those white foam panels you’d see in office buildings. Those have textured bamboo woven like tapestry type pattern. There are certainly tikis throughout. So if you are if you are into the tiki vibe very much like I am and I know Stef is that would be also a fun place to go simply for that.

Stefanie Bautista 19:11
Yeah, absolutely. But overall good experience for you at the drive in?

Ariel Landrum 19:16
Absolutely good experience. My partner fell asleep and not because he didn’t like the movie but…

Stefanie Bautista 19:23
Your man was recovering from COVID ya’lll.

Ariel Landrum 19:24
He was recovering from COVID so he’s you know that that lethargy it lasts. And also at the time he hadn’t regained his sense of taste. He has now still can’t smell worth anything. I can fart and if I if he can’t hear it, he’ll never know. He’ll never know.

Stefanie Bautista 19:43
He’ll never know okay.

Ariel Landrum 19:44
But um, yeah, so I I very much enjoyed it. And the one thing that you have to remember to drive in theater if you haven’t gone you have to shut your car lights off.

Stefanie Bautista 19:52

Ariel Landrum 19:53
You have to know how to shut them off. And of course, always always there’s somebody who doesn’t know this or doesn’t know how to shut them. Lights off. People will like hang blankets over their car lights because they don’t know how to shut them off. And I don’t know if like the newer ones just don’t allow it because they have like fog mode or whatever. But every time I’ve gone to Mission Tiki I have not I’ve not had the experience where someone hasn’t had the security guard like bicycle up to them and be like, “You gotta turn your lights off.”

Stefanie Bautista 20:21
I that didn’t happen to me when I was over there.

Ariel Landrum 20:24
Oh lucky.

Stefanie Bautista 20:24
I mean yeah, I also Well, I mean we got the real like the second row so I guess I would have seen but also how many people are going to watch The Tax Collector? Not a lot. I was one of those people watch it. It was I did it. There was a thing that I did. That’s all I gotta say about that movie.

Ariel Landrum 20:40
Yeah, I would say that. There were it was a Thursday so there was there was like nobody. I would say there was maybe 12 or 13 cars there is and there was one couple that was seeing it from the truck bed of their vehicle and they just had pop up chairs on the truck bed with blankets that was adorable. And you’re not supposed to turn your car around and lift the trunk and sit from your trunk if you have like a hatchback. Unless there’s not a lot of people which they weren’t or as long as your trunk lid doesn’t go over your vehicle. Like isn’t higher than your roof?

Stefanie Bautista 21:17
Yeah yeah.

Ariel Landrum 21:17

Stefanie Bautista 21:18
Yeah, yeah.

Ariel Landrum 21:18
What is car language?

Stefanie Bautista 21:20
That’s actually I was gonna ask you, because I remember that rule. And then I saw people just like posting up like with their, with their trunks up. And I was like, “Wait, isn’t that not allowed?” But also there weren’t a lot of people. So I’m like, “Okay, well, I mean, I guess if there’s not a lot of people, no harm, no foul.”

Ariel Landrum 21:36
Yeah, they’ll let you get away with it, if it’s not busy, but like on Saturday, it’s usually more busy. And if it’s during like a movie release, the security guard will bicycle around and be like, “Yo, no.”

Stefanie Bautista 21:47
“Cut it out.” Oh, man, that’s awesome. So we all hope that your partner gets better, that he’s recovering.

Ariel Landrum 21:55
Thank you.

Stefanie Bautista 21:56
And I’m glad that you got to have this experience, even during his recovery period. Because for anybody who has taken care of somebody who’s had COVID before it just doesn’t end when they get better. It’s it’s an ongoing thing. And it’s you know, like, kudos to you Ariel for going through that. I know, it’s not easy. And we all wish you the best.

Ariel Landrum 22:15
Thank you.

Stefanie Bautista 22:15
And you know, everyone out there stay safe. I know we’re all doing a lot of these things going out and about but please stay safe because COVID still really real.

Ariel Landrum 22:24
And I am pro vaccine. I’m gonna say that right now. My partner was vaccinated, I was vaccinated. He had a breakthrough case and I given what symptoms he did have, I think it would have been a lot worse if he had gotten vaccinated. So that’s my stance, I fully own it. I don’t I’m not speaking for anybody on the Geek Therapy Network. But I say get the vaccine if you don’t have a medical reason not to, do it.

Stefanie Bautista 22:48
Absolutely. So back to Shang-Chi, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 rings. There’s a lot of big themes in this movie right?

Ariel Landrum 22:59
Throughout the film. The narrative is propelled by the fact that Shang-Chi’s mother died, she was murdered by essentially a rival gang felt like done wrong by his father who is a what three 3,000 year old…

Stefanie Bautista 23:21
3,000 year old…

Ariel Landrum 23:22

Stefanie Bautista 23:23

Ariel Landrum 23:23

Stefanie Bautista 23:24
We see him in the beginning of the movie. Essentially leading an army conquering a certain village certain I guess. Maybe it’s even like a city from what I remember. So he’s clearly on this warpath very akin to many conquerors in Asia. And we see him in historical garb. So we know that this is like pre industrial era everyone’s on horseback and he’s basically become now because of his long life that the rings give him this warlord.

Ariel Landrum 24:01
Yes, yes, that’s the perfect word.

Stefanie Bautista 24:03
Yeah, total warlord in in modern sense to like kind of like the way the Triads were introduced in modern Asian films, he would be a part of that world.

Ariel Landrum 24:15
So, throughout the film, how we notice death is treated is it is in the forefront and and is not something to be feared. Even though we have this warlord who is essentially immortal, we don’t see any of the cast or characters looking at death as as essentially mortality or or the end of purpose or belonging. And I would say this is very typical of more Asian cultures and communities, that we have a reverence of death and not so much a fear or an avoidance of it being around us and so prominent in our culture. Oftentimes if you’re thinking of a Western or more Americanized culture, it’s very hard to say someone’s died. It’s very hard to say the word death, burial. Like the, if we can, we’ll say, “They passed. They’re no longer with us.” We will we will avoid calling it what it is. And with this particular movie in regards to the Chinese culture, we see that they have a variety of ways that they put honor towards death. We see shrines as part of ancestry veneration. Shrines are made to honor the dead, they’re often you can find them in places of worship, such as temples, or in households. For the specific scene or at the time, his name is Shawn, and we’ll go through that later. Shawn is speaking to Katy’s grandmother. She mentions the Day of the Dead. This is a specific festival that happens in China around April. If I pronounce this wrong, please someone correct me, but I think it’s Qingming.

Stefanie Bautista 26:08
I think you’re right.

Ariel Landrum 26:09
And this festival, often, families will go visit their grave sites, deceased loved ones to pay respect, they will provide offerings, they will leave fruits, they will leave flowers. And as grandma said, alcohol in this case, I think she was gonna leave them whiskey.

Stefanie Bautista 26:24
Yes, she did. He was like, you know, “Why are you gonna leave him that?” She’s like, “Well, he enjoyed it last time.” Which kind of implies that she was probably drinking the whiskey instead, on his behalf.

Ariel Landrum 26:34
On his behalf. Well, or…

Stefanie Bautista 26:36
The dutiful wife that she was.

Ariel Landrum 26:38
Or that this is common, right that she had she goes and visits the grave, either fairly regularly or during every festival season.

Stefanie Bautista 26:44
Yeah, absolutely. And it is something that you will see in Chinese restaurants as well, they will have like a little shrine dedicated to either the loved ones that have passed or also to different deities that they pray to. So this is a very common thing that we see in Asian cultures, specifically Chinese cultures.

Ariel Landrum 27:05
And the really interesting thing about death in the movie is because Shang-Chi’s mother was murdered. He feels a loss of sister feels a loss. His father feels a loss. Though his father’s the powerful one. His father is the one who essentially gets duped. He’s he is manipulated and coerced by a voice that sounds like his that his wives and saying, essentially, “I’m not dead, I’ve been stolen away. And I’ve been locked up and you need to save me.” And yes, he is the most powerful character. So it makes sense that this creature who was attempting to coerce him knew that he would be able to let him out because he is the bearer of the 10 rings. However, it’s really interesting out of everyone’s character arches, the individual who was used to being immortal, who is used to never even considering death, being the one chosen to attention essentially trying to reverse the death. And not believing in an end.

Stefanie Bautista 28:10

Ariel Landrum 28:10
It definitely makes sense, I think because he his association with death is now very different than that of anybody in the turn, just in a traditional Chinese family, because he has eluded it so long.

Stefanie Bautista 28:25
Yeah. And there’s a running theme that uh, Wenwu himself was never satisfied. He couldn’t be satisfied with the armies that he has the places that he’s conquered. And he only found solace in finding his wife and finding a family that was essentially his.

Ariel Landrum 28:41
If anybody else was singing Hamilton when she said he would never be satisfied, please tweet us because I know I was in my head.

Stefanie Bautista 28:49
Only because you saw it not that long ago.

Ariel Landrum 28:53
That’s a whole nother story. That’s a whole nother story.

Stefanie Bautista 28:55
Mm hmm. And for that, to be taken away from him, just gave him another sense of purpose. I’ll be it a sort of villainy purpose. But it was his weakness is one weakness was that he couldn’t attain something. And that thing changes all the way until the end, because he couldn’t attain getting his wife back. Because he was duped and because he couldn’t even see past the fact that it wasn’t his wife anymore. There were these like, gnarly creatures just coming out of the the barrier that he was essentially trying to break with the 10 rings. Because he wanted that so much like so goal oriented and that very Asian theme that went all throughout the movie and resonates so well with us. You just laser focus, you hone in on one thing and you get it you grab it no matter what. And this because it was an illusion essentially, he could never attain it anyway. So I mean, in my opinion, I think the way that they developed his his villain origin story was almost, it was so tragic. It was a very tragic, almost anti-hero, I guess…

Ariel Landrum 30:08

Stefanie Bautista 30:08
Because I found myself towards the end. And as he’s looking at Shang-Chi, in one of the final scenes of the film, I really felt for him, I was like, “Oh my gosh, you know that you went 3000 years of your life searching for something. And then when you found something, it was taken away from you. And now you have this, this chaotic war that’s like brewing and it could like essentially lead to something way worse. And you kind of go what, what’s in it for you like, what do you I guess this is where you end, essentially.” So I think it was really, it was really beautiful and sad. And it really made me feel for the depth of character that they created with Wenwu we’re which we will see it wasn’t always this character. Right?

Ariel Landrum 30:53
Okay, so, um, Marvel Comics history. Director Destin Daniel Cretton and his team they rewrote the comics character, the Mandarin into Wenwu. So originally, this bad guy in the comics is the Mandarin, which is an orange.

Stefanie Bautista 31:14
Yes. And they address that.

Ariel Landrum 31:18
And this character was developed during essentially a resurgence of yellow peril. And so yellow peril is a term that was coined in the 1800s when Chinese laborers were brought to the US to replace emancipated Black communities for cheap labor. White workers saw them getting paid it but even though they were getting paid less believed that that meant that they were a threat to the livelihood of, you know, these workers that resulted in the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. And for those who aren’t aware, this is actually the first law to restrict immigration based on race. So when we’re talking about a, you know, anti-Asian violence for our country, it’s in went all the way back to the 1800s. Interesting that the director, and again, his team for this movie, the reason they essentially symbolically chose “wen and “wu” is “wen” means intellectual depth, and “we” means Marshall, Marshall, Marshall, Marshall…

Stefanie Bautista 32:27

Ariel Landrum 32:28
Mar, yeah, martial prowess. Okay. Yeah. And that, I think shows more honor to that specific character. That we are now seeing that he’s supposed to be, you know, revered in multiple ways, both in his his intellect and his his, you know, physical strengths. And we see that throughout the movie, he was he knew, despite his children running away from him, and under the belief that they’ve, you know, eluded him. He knew where they were the whole time. He knew the right things, and right moves to get Shang-Chi to reunite with a sister.

Stefanie Bautista 33:05
Yeah. So such a classic Asia parent to always know where their kids are, and where they would be. And also for him having so much power and having essentially, hands in every gang probably in the world. He had this network of spies, just kind of making sure that his kids were alive, at least, because he knew he needed them later on.

Ariel Landrum 33:33

Stefanie Bautista 33:34
So and I wanted to add when my classroom a couple years back was learning about the Chinese Exclusion Act. Many of my students were surprised that because they’ve seen Chinatown’s, they know there’s a huge Chinatown in Los Angeles and San Francisco, they could not believe that there was propaganda with making Chinese people seem evil. And a lot of them were asking, you know, “Didn’t they help build the railroads? Didn’t they help build the cities? Weren’t there so many Chinese immigrants? So we see, like so many old Chinese relics in these big cities?” And I said, “You know, yes, essentially, they were a huge part of the makings of these major cities in California specifically, however, the United States government did not see them as such, even though they did so much for the development of Western civilization’s here, especially during the Industrial Revolution.” So it’s, it’s something that I hope that they continue to introduce in schools because it is a big part of history, especially if you live in big cities like Los Angeles, San Fran, San Francisco, and I think that the way that Marvel Studios decided to own up to their mistakes…

Ariel Landrum 34:49

Stefanie Bautista 34:50
You know, including such a, such a character like the Mandarin, which if you look up his his design, he is like Fu Manchu like that. You know, long beard like super long mustache looks like some sort of sorcerer, a lot like in the Kill Bill movies. Her, her trainer was very much in that style. But it was more of like, let’s not, let’s not see this as something that’s relatable, but something is like super foreign and scary to our readers. And…

Ariel Landrum 35:27

Stefanie Bautista 35:27
I think it’s great that Marvel decided to address it. Even in the movie. There are some lines in the movie that yes, poke fun at the Mandarin and also brought back the version of the Mandarin that we saw in the MCU, which was in Iron Men.

Ariel Landrum 35:44
Yeah, Iron Man 3.

Stefanie Bautista 35:45
Iron Man 3. And just even addressing the fact that you’re disguising something in order for it to look like something else was kind of like an even bigger theme in the movie.

Ariel Landrum 35:57

Stefanie Bautista 35:58
And even in the Marvel Cinematic Universe themselves, like we are dealing with a lot of themes of being duped and being tricked into something and not realizing that something is real, even though it’s fake. So I think the addition of our friend, the Mandarin, who we did see, so who would have thought that he was going to be…

Ariel Landrum 36:18
An actor. A thespian.

Stefanie Bautista 36:22
A humorous part of the movie I was dying at. Oh my gosh, what is Ben Kingsley?

Ariel Landrum 36:28

Stefanie Bautista 36:28
He is fantastic as the Mandarin and his inclusion was such a surprise to me, because I was trying not to spoil myself before the movie at all. And I knew that they were going to bring a character back and it ended up being him as the Mandarin, who was also duped because he was locked away.

Ariel Landrum 36:46

Stefanie Bautista 36:46
In this basement in China.

Ariel Landrum 36:49
In China. Character’s name is Trevor Slattery.

Stefanie Bautista 36:53

Ariel Landrum 36:54

Stefanie Bautista 36:58
Who is just like every theater kid.

Ariel Landrum 37:00
Yes, yes. Every theater kid and I think it’s a it’s worth it to go visit Iron Man three, I see the the, the big differences between the that sort of like, way they represented the the 10 rings and the way they do it now.

Stefanie Bautista 37:17
Yeah, definitely, you really see the evolution of the way that Marvel is thinking about representation. And I think we do have to give credit to Black Panther for paving that way. Because it was such a commercial hit, and it hits home for so many of our Black and African American friends and fans that, you know, without that Shang-Chi wouldn’t have addressed these things. And I think we wouldn’t be consciously thinking about the way that our the viewers are watching these characters come to life.

Ariel Landrum 37:46
And you know, in speaking of Black Panther, the music, they’re all written and all inspired by Black and African sounds, and beats and creators. And you were telling me a similar thing was happening with this movie?

Stefanie Bautista 38:03
Yeah, absolutely. So for Shang-Chi and The Legend of The 10 rings, we had two separate soundtracks just like Black Panther there was one score. That was the orchestral score that was made, but there was also a contemporary album that was also made as an accompaniment. And that was curated and produced by 88 Rising which is an all Asian recording company. And they are dedicated to the promotion of up and coming Asian American artists, not necessarily music artists from Asia that are singing in their native languages, but Asian Americans who are producing new music for audiences today. So it was really great to see people, even people who are part Asian like Jhené Aiko, and Anderson .Paack and so many great artists that contributed to the film and a lot of Asian artists that are actually from Asia were included in the film as well singing in their native languages and rapping in their native languages. And like you said, for Black Panther of the way that they incorporated African sounds, they did the same with Shang-Chi. But they also gave the paid a little homage to Chinese Pop, Korean Pop, Japanese Pop, which has been around for decades now and has evolved into a style all their own. So as a fan of all of those different genres of music, I felt that when I was listening to the album. And it was just like, I can’t believe this is something that people are listening to.

Ariel Landrum 38:03
Yes. Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 39:01
Usually is something you kind of have to keep secret to yourself and like get through different platforms. But here it is on Spotify for everybody to see and they incorporated a lot of those songs in the film.

Ariel Landrum 39:50
I think they we were also noticing what we were or I guess dubbing Asian Easter Eggs.

Stefanie Bautista 39:58
Yes. Asian Easter Eggs.

Ariel Landrum 40:00
There were a lot of, I mean, specifically Chinese customs, but some of them, you know, Asian that were featured throughout the film. Right in the beginning when we see, well, I guess, first arch I guess, we see Shawn visiting his friend Katy at her house, and he walks by the breakfast table and you see something called breakfast porridge. So instead of bacon and eggs, very Chinese traditional breakfast is a rice porridge known as congee, or jook. And I don’t know if anybody remembers the animated Mulan. But that is exactly what Mushu served her on her like first big day.

Stefanie Bautista 40:46
Yep, yep. I really loved that. And I loved just his interactions with Katy’s family.

Ariel Landrum 40:52

Stefanie Bautista 40:52
He greeted them all like they were his Aunties and that is like a big thing. Even though they’re not really your Aunts like by blood or your Uncle’s by blood, you treat them like they’re your Aunties and Uncles. Because, you know, it’s just a collective sense of family and the way that he just sat down to eat with the family kind of chop it up with them, the way they kind of, like took shots at each other. So….

Ariel Landrum 41:14

Stefanie Bautista 41:15
You know, not living up to their expectations is a very common thing in Asian households. It’s kind of like, “Yes, you got an A? But why wasn’t it an A+? When are you going to figure it out?” That was resonated with so many of me and my friends. And yeah, like I think, even just like the subtle of the subtle scene of him taking off his shoes to go inside. That’s just was a very important thing to highlight, because that is an Asian custom.

Ariel Landrum 41:44
Yeah, it’s it’s a traditional custom, meant to show respect and honor to the home but also to prevent just tracking in you know, dirt and grime and the nastiness. And even in greeting the family he calls Katy’s grandmother, wàipó, which is maternal grandmother in Chinese, and he says it like it’s his maternal grandmother. And, and again, in many, particularly Asian cultures and communities, because we have a collectivism mindset, we do not differentiate kin by blood. Although we have hierarchies within our family inregards to kin, one when someone has become close in our circle, we have them use those same four informal names those those like caregiving names that we would our blood kin.

Stefanie Bautista 42:35
Yeah, absolutely.

Ariel Landrum 42:37
You will also notice, if you looked around that kitchen, that there was a rice cooker and a hot water dispenser, something that you will again find in a very traditional Chinese household. And the rice cookers specifically in many Asian households. I’ve got one. Stef, I think you have one too.

Stefanie Bautista 42:52
Oh yeah. I have levels of them. We have one for parties. We have one for fast rice cooking, we have one for special rice. I’ve had many rice cookers, and I think even a rite of passage for me, being an adult was to buy the Zojirushi like $100 one. And when I bought that I like was you know had a moment where I’m like, “I’m an adult now. I am ully an adult and I can do adult things because I can cook brown rice and I don’t have to wait forever in like the dinky little $10 one that I got from Target.” So yeah, it was great to see familiar things.

Ariel Landrum 43:26

Stefanie Bautista 43:27
And I think even like kind of going back to when they introduced Shawn and Katy at their jobs, I’m sure many of these people who were watching Shang-Chi also watch Crazy Rich Asians…

Ariel Landrum 43:37

Stefanie Bautista 43:38
And crazy rich Asians was groundbreaking in itself and it was the first time we saw an all Asian cast and the way that they portrayed the luxury car and the person stepping out. It was like, “oh man, it’s gonna be another Crazy Rich Asians!” And it was not that at all. I think that was such a humorous moment where they portrayed Shawn because he is the valet and Katy is too. And also the fact that Katy was a valet and there’s that stereotype that Asian women can’t drive well. She drove that bus and did not kill a person. So…

Ariel Landrum 44:07
She did not kill nobody. Under duress. It was literally falling apart. Her life was a in her hands along with like with everybody else’s. Yeah, that I think, definitely broke some stereotypes. I think something again, talking about those Easter Eggs, specifically Shang-Chi naming himself Shawn.

Stefanie Bautista 44:34
Very important to note that because there are a lot of people that I’ve known in the past who have a traditional name in their native language, whether it be Chinese, Japanese, even Filipino, sometimes our names can get kind of crazy, and they decide to go by a nickname and it’s become something that my fellow educators have to kind of check themselves on sometimes because on the roster, you will see a different name than what they are called. And sometimes now I’m seeing that parents aren’t doing that anymore. And they are choosing to have their birth name be the one spoken and the one that they are called on, which is a really good shift that I’ve been seeing lately in classrooms. But yeah, Shang-Chi not wanting to have that identity and that connection to his father and his past. And not only…

Ariel Landrum 45:23
Because he did run away.

Stefanie Bautista 45:24
He did run away. And because it is not an Americanized, it’s not an English name. It was just easier for him to call himself Shawn. And a little bit where they were Katy makes fun of him and says “Of all the names you picked, you pick Shawn.” And if you guys listen to that bit, it is hilarious. I’m not going to say the whole thing because I don’t want to spoil that part. That’s one of the things that you need to experience because her name is Katy. And Katy is not a Chinese name whatsoever, but I’m sure if we eventually find out her real name she might have had a different one. I don’t know we we do know that…

Ariel Landrum 46:01
She did she she shared it looks like her name is Chen Ruiwen.

Stefanie Bautista 46:02
Oh, okay.

Ariel Landrum 46:02
And, and her. She goes by Katy Chen.

Stefanie Bautista 46:06
Ah okay. Yeah, Ruiwen is her her given name.

Ariel Landrum 46:16
Changing names and having multiple names is actually very common for immigrants or descendants of immigrants. And in the past, in a few episodes, is family names when you’ve immigrated sometimes get lost because they have been changed to sound more Americanized. We, we find that we lose entire histories. For our family. When you do your genealogy, you might real you might not know, there might be a hard stop for how far it goes because of how much the last the surname has sort of been changed. And when it comes to, like you were saying in regards to your students, with my clients, I asked them, you know, what name do they want me to use in session? What name do they want me to sort of note in my documents as a therapist, because I want to give honor to how they want me to call them like, like, what, what is the actual name you want me to use? And oftentimes, a lot of the clients will prefer their their given name over a nickname, because they want to reach back to that heritage and that root.

Stefanie Bautista 47:24
Yeah, definitely. And I think even kind of going a little bit further in that for us, Filipino Americans, it’s kind of hard to trace all the way back to our ancestry because many of our surnames were erased.

Ariel Landrum 47:36

Stefanie Bautista 47:36
When Spanish when Spain ruled over the Philippines for hundreds of years, so it’s kind of been an identifier for Filipinos to have Spanish last names. And it’s very, very rare to see one that is traditional Filipino, or another dialect. So it’s really it’s really great when I see those names, because I know that that history is preserved. And I hope that maybe in the future, they’ll have technology that we can help trace our ancestors a little bit better. But yeah, I think it’s great that they addressed language as a huge part of the movie and the fact that many of the characters spoken Mandarin for a good chunk of the movie,

Ariel Landrum 48:17
Good, good chunk.

Stefanie Bautista 48:18
I loved it. I was reading subtitles and I felt like I was watching a movie that was due doing due due diligence to Asian cultures, specifically Chinese cultures.

Ariel Landrum 48:28
But in some areas, they weren’t speaking Mandarin. They were speaking ABC.

Stefanie Bautista 48:33
They were speaking ABC. Yup. Yeah, Jon Jon says he speaks ABC after he does this whole spiel in Chinese in Mandarin. And because Katy and Shawn don’t speak Mandarin very well as many second generation, Asian Americans realize when they go back to the homeland, they just can’t communicate with the people around them because they don’t speak the same dialect or they don’t speak the same level of language.

Ariel Landrum 48:59

Stefanie Bautista 48:59
I know, I felt that when I went to the Philippines or when every time I go to the Philippines, they speak a different sort of Tagalog that I can never keep up with and I out myself with the small amounts of Tagalog that I know and in America, I’m like, “Oh, yeah, I’m super like, super fluent in Tagalog.” And then when I go there, I’m like, “Ah, how do I say how much is that?” But yeah, he Jon Joh reduces, Ronny Chieng’s; his character reduces the English language to just ABC because essentially, it is simplistic compared to Mandarin and so many other Asian languages because they have a different character, style, a different writing style, they have multiple writing styles. And you can’t say the same about English that way.

Ariel Landrum 49:47
And an ABC stands for American Born Chinese. And so this term can sometimes be used as like a put down to describe children of immigrants who speak English as their first language. It’s meant to basically say that you either don’t know Chinese Chinese customs and therefore you’re not Chinese enough. And I will say that that is a common experience for second generation children. For children of mixed races like myself, where you do not feel like you are enough of you’re sort of like home culture or primary culture. If your mix that you’re not enough of either or, and it was and was used lightheartedly was used as a joke. But I think that it was really important that they put that in the film, because that’s an experience that many Asian American children have. And it was I don’t think anybody would have caught it if they weren’t in the community.

Stefanie Bautista 50:44
In the community. Yeah, not at all. And even like, just just that, that struggle of not being Asian enough. And that struggle of not living up to that expectation of you, of being of your heritage, but also an American, and what that means to be an American, but also what it means to be whatever heritage you are, whether it be Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, you’re always just like in this weird limbo, where you’re like, “I don’t really fit into anywhere, but I don’t want to go all the way back and be Fresh Off the Boat. I don’t want to be a FOB. But I also don’t want to appropriate any other culture, because that’s also not me.” So it’s just this tightrope walk that you do.

Yeah, but I don’t want to be seen as like a Twinkie or a banana where you are yellow on the outside and white on the in. And that is another sort of like put down or derogatory term. And I would also highlight this isn’t unique to an Asian American experience. I don’t know if anybody saw the first Selena movie with Jennifer Lopez. But there is a scene where Selena’s father’s saying,


Ariel Landrum 51:53
“We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans to be accepted by both communities.”

Stefanie Bautista 51:59
Yep. Man, Edward James Olmos. Everyone’s dad at that moment. I felt that I definitely felt that.

Ariel Landrum 52:07
You know, to go back to what you’re saying about appropriation. We do want to acknowledge there has been a lot of backlash in regards to Awkwafina. The actress who plays Katy, Shang-Chi’s best friend. And that is because Awkwafina has made her persona on on YouTube and then in various movies, using a Blaccent, which is an accent that is known to have like colloquialisms that hearken to the Black community or culture and in a stereotypical way. And that is very common, I will say, in regards to the appropriation of Black culture, and people who are trying to like sort of rise in the entertainment industry. You know, we were someone will take on this form and feature, use it. And then once they’ve reached a certain level of fame, they will, they will end it. And I mean, one example that comes to mind is Justin Timberlake. So we want to mention it, because we don’t agree with it. But we we also know as Filipino Americans, specifically, we were raised in a community that was so colonized, we have lost a lot of our heritage, I would say that a lot of the things that we consider very Filipino, we are, unfortunately things we borrowed from other communities because we had to.

Stefanie Bautista 53:35
Yeah, and even when having the realization that so many of our words are Spanish words, it’s like well, then what even is a Tagalog word or a Subanon word or an Ilocano word? We don’t, we haven’t had the chance to explore that. And I think many of us Asian Americans might even put ourselves in Awkwafina’s shoes, especially since she is somebody who is an outlier in the community, making it as an actress making as a comedian, even. I mean, her Wli Wang, Margaret Cho, these are women who probably pissed off a lot of their ancestors, and a lot of their family members to do what they love. And they have each had to take on different personas and navigate the entertainment industry in their own ways. So we do want to acknowledge that although we don’t agree with the way that it might have been done in the past. We also do want to acknowledge that every story has two sides, and Awkwafina is doing a lot for Asian Americans now in the entertainment industry. Even just her presence as well as many of the powerful women in Shang-Chi are giving little Asian girls something to look up to someone to identify with, I think is worth noting. But we do know that it is without controversy. But we hope that like how Marvel is planning to do better we also hope that these actresses and these entertainers do better as well.

Ariel Landrum 55:03
Yeah. And and, you know, again, we’re speaking from our experiences Filipina Americans. We are not in the Black community. So we understand this does harm to the Black community, but and we can certainly empathize with that pain. And we would love to have a further dialogue. But I don’t want to speak on the Black experience.

Stefanie Bautista 55:23

Ariel Landrum 55:24
In regards to someone’s appropriation of their culture. Or not speak on I would say, speak for.

Stefanie Bautista 55:30
Speak for. Yeah, we are definitely not speaking for that community as Filipina Americans, and we are really just trying to reach and understand as best as we can. But we know that there are some things that we just will never be able to experience and that it is a real thing. And it is, these are real, valid feelings to have.

Ariel Landrum 55:48
Yeah. I would say that the final two sort of like Asian American Easter Eggs were that of the Guardian Lions, you will see them their Imperial Guardian Lions, you’ll see them throughout the movie. They’re often Chinese architectural ornaments. And they were made popular by Chinese Buddhism. And they are lions usually one is a male with a ball and another one female with a cub that are meant to protect the building from harmful spiritual influences and harmful people that might be a threat to it. And you see one of them essentially come to life…

Stefanie Bautista 56:26
Yup. It’s kind of scary. Not gonna lie.

Ariel Landrum 56:29
Kind of freaking scary. So as this too essentially suddenly suggests because this is ancient magical village that that that this community that these lions actually existed.

Stefanie Bautista 56:43
Yeah. With dragons.

Ariel Landrum 56:45
With dragons. Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 56:48
I feel like it was so funny that yet again Awkwafina is in a movie with dragons, but she’s not voicing this one.

Ariel Landrum 56:53

Stefanie Bautista 56:54
I think I saw TikTok of a little girl saying “Wait, that’s that’s Raya or that’s Raya’s friend that Sisu. But…”

Ariel Landrum 57:02

Stefanie Bautista 57:03
That’s not Sisu, but it looks like Sisu.” So I think she might have been confused, because she was both in the movie Raya and also Shang-Chi. But I think it was beautiful. It reminded me of Spirited Away that the way that the animated the dragon and the way that the dragon helps him to accomplish his goal and save the universe, essentially. But these mythical creatures, even the little one without the face, he was so cute. What was his name?

Ariel Landrum 57:33
Oh Morris!

Stefanie Bautista 57:35
Yeah Morris! Yes, Morris the cutest little thing. But even the the bamboo forest and how that is like a mythical creature in itself, it comes to life.

Ariel Landrum 57:46
Yeah the labyrinth.

Stefanie Bautista 57:47
Ah huh. It has a mind of its own because it is protecting the village, but also draws from Chinese elements of being one with nature and nature having its own soul and having its own character. Was a big part of this film as well. Because without that they wouldn’t have secluded this, this town and also the use of water was so beautiful.

Ariel Landrum 58:09
Yes. And then even when it comes to protecting the village, and throughout the whole movie, we see a lot of different martial arts weapons.

Stefanie Bautista 58:17

Ariel Landrum 58:17
We see throwing knives we see hook swords, and we see a rope dart. A rope dart is a hybrid weapon that is used as both a dagger and a whip, and we see Shang-Chi’s sister using it.

Stefanie Bautista 58:31
Yep. And she was a big badass in the movie. She was like one of my favorite characters.

Ariel Landrum 58:36

Stefanie Bautista 58:37
Man, having having that image of her in her room. I so many of us can relate to that room of like a young Asian American girl just like rebelling. And those same posters, those same aesthetics. Like we all went through that phase because we wanted to identify ourselves as different. We didn’t want to be that poster model minority myth child. We wanted to pave her own way and her losing her mother just, you know, made her become all that much independent. And I think her saying the line. Oh, I think when she was telling Katy “Yeah, I created an underground fighting ring at the age of…” 11 it was?

Ariel Landrum 59:20
Oh no, it was 16.

Stefanie Bautista 59:22
16! “Yeah, I was a runaway and then I made an underground fighting ring.” Yes, she did accomplish that.

Ariel Landrum 59:31
Yes she did.

Stefanie Bautista 59:32
That was a thing she did and because she’s such a badass and she I think her parallel story would Shawn’s was very interesting the depth that we went with her character

Ariel Landrum 59:43
Yeah, yeah.

Stefanie Bautista 59:44
Even though she was a supporting character. You’ll you’ll find this as for me, especially as a sibling, an older sibling, like there’s so much that rides on whoever the girl is it within the siblings. Whether you’re the oldest or whether you’re in the middle or the youngest, there’s always some expectation of you that you can almost never attain. And I think that was one of the struggles that she went through and even identifying herself after being the leader of an underground fighting ring. She was still longing for that acceptance and that validation that she never got from her mother because she never really knew her like that. And she was definitely not getting it from her father, even though she could probably go toe to toe with him. Business wise.

Ariel Landrum 1:00:27
Yeah I would say the final Easter Egg which is one that we have an entire episode that we talked about here on this podcast, Happiest Pod on Earth is a karaoke!

Stefanie Bautista 1:00:44
Karaoke! Boy were we seen. It’s like oh heard our episode. I\m pretty sure they did it. But in our episode…

Ariel Landrum 1:00:54
They had Disney karaoke on there ya’ll!

Stefanie Bautista 1:00:57
They did they sing Part of Your World. And there were so many times that I was like that is literally me at 12 o’clock in the morning saying, “I could go home. But I can also go to the karaoke bar, which is open until two o’clock in the morning.” I we are very privileged to get to live in LA, where we have a huge Koreatown, a huge Japanese enclave community. And we have karaoke places that are open until two o’clock in the morning for you to sing your heart out. On another level, we are Filipino. So we have Magic Mics, and we have things to sing karaoke with until God knows when. I think my brother and his friend were singing karaoke last night until like five o’clock in the morning in the living room, because we can do that. And I mean, I guess I could talk about like one of the extra scenes.

Ariel Landrum 1:01:50

Stefanie Bautista 1:01:51
So please, please, please, as we wrap this up, please stay until the end all the way till the end.

Ariel Landrum 1:01:58
This is a Marvel movie. If you haven’t learned this by now, y’all.

Stefanie Bautista 1:02:03
Check yourself. Because not only is there a mid credit scene, there’s an end credit scene. And in one of those scenes, they see Captain Marvel and they see Hulk and you see Hulk’s arm in a sling because he obviously snapped everybody back into existence. And as they’re, you know, getting really into it. Like, “Where is the technology for these rings coming from?” Like, it’s so serious. Like, it’s almost like holy crap Avengers again. And then they go, “Okay, well, you know, rest up your lives are gonna change because you know, you are now the protector of the rings and your friend also.” They’re like, “Well, we could rest but….” And then you see them going to the karaoke bar with Wong.

Ariel Landrum 1:02:46
Yes. Oh, I love you Wong. I missed you.

Stefanie Bautista 1:02:49
I’m gonna be calling him Uncle Wong From now on, because he’s Uncle Wong. He’s just that Uncle. You don’t know where he goes. You don’t know what he does. He doesn’t have a family, but he somehow survives. Everybody has an Uncle like that. And you see them all singing Hotel California at the top of their lungs. And it was so delightful to see. And just like I think the same effect that the shawarma scene had…

Ariel Landrum 1:03:13

Stefanie Bautista 1:03:15
It really brought them down to earth and made them so relatable because, yeah, they’re your superhero saving the world, but they can also go to karaoke bars and get swasted.

Ariel Landrum 1:03:24
Yes. And and it’s really interesting, the song choice for Hotel California because the theme of that specific song is about the loss of innocence and the cost of naivety. And when we hear the story of how Katy met Shang-Chi she didn’t know that he was new to US soil. So he was essentially young and naive. And but he also lost his innocence because he had lost the death of his mother he had essentially killed somebody on by the orders of his father. He had he essentially that songs embodying that experience and then when we revisit it, we see Bruce Banner who is no longer Professor Hulk so that is interesting.

Stefanie Bautista 1:04:12
That was interesting. dun dun dun

Ariel Landrum 1:04:14
We see him saying like, “Welcome to the circus.” And that is almost a note of like checking into a new life just like checking into the Hotel California. And then of course, this whole place takes place in California right so this is this is like this is Shang-Chi’s life now that he is integrated into this new Americanized lifestyle and now he’s integrated into the MCU as a Marvel superhero, and then we we noticed that the the song ends with, you know, all of them singing with Uncle Wong, and it’s almost an invitation now for all of us in regards to this new Marvel Cinematic phase.

Stefanie Bautista 1:04:54
That is apparently gonna to blow our minds or they keep saying that and this is already like the parallels I’m kind of connecting with this and Eternals and Spider-Man, and we can talk about that in another episode. But there are so many connections that I was making with the film and what’s coming up.

Ariel Landrum 1:05:12

Stefanie Bautista 1:05:12
I think it’s really exciting to know that we are in a new era of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. And now TV shows with the introduction of all of our favorite Disney+ shows. So it’s really exciting to see. So overall, for me, I love the movie. I think the only unrealistic part was Katy shooting that arrow, magically piercing the the dragon thingy. But other than that, I think it just did so much for me as a Filipino American. For many of my Chinese American friends. I see little kids with, you know, Shang-Chi merchandise, which is really cool. Seeing figurines at Disneyland, and pins representing different cultures is so beautiful. And I think that Marvel is going in the right direction. And I hope they continue to go in the right direction from now on.

Ariel Landrum 1:06:08
Yeah, I really loved it, too. I love the symbolism of really, again, Shang-Chi, integrating his two different parts. As someone who is of mixed race. It I see those different cultures inside myself battle each other. And so this was a great representation of them, being integrated, working together and essentially helping me formulate my new path, which is exactly what he did. The rings were surrounding him in a way not like his father’s they weren’t, they weren’t hard. They were different color. They weren’t harsh grounding. They they weren’t used in, just pushes and punches. They they were expanded, they grew, they shrunk, he he was able to wield them in such a different way than his father, because he was embracing the martial arts from his mother or essentially embrace embracing his mother’s culture.

Stefanie Bautista 1:07:05

Ariel Landrum 1:07:06
And so I think that really, that representation for me is not something that I see often and, and really laid out so beautifully.

Stefanie Bautista 1:07:19
Yeah. And if you’re not gonna see it for all those things that we mentioned, watch it for the martial arts.

Ariel Landrum 1:07:24

Stefanie Bautista 1:07:24
It did it justice. It is like watching a Wushu movie. It is beautiful in itself. I did not know that Simu Liu was not a martial artist. However, he absolutely crushed it in a lot of these maybe stunts that he did, maybe his son of coordinator did and the person who fun fact the person who played the Death Dealer, the one in the mask, he is a Southern California native and he is Vietnamese. And he made a name for himself doing YouTube videos because he loved martial arts so much.

Ariel Landrum 1:07:57

Stefanie Bautista 1:07:57
So for anybody out there who thinks you know being a Jackie Chan and Jet Li is out of your reach. Look up his story. His name is Andy Le and he has a fantastic story about the his journey to being in Shang-Chi.

Ariel Landrum 1:08:12
Even the martial arts was paying homage to Jackie Chan. There was one scene where Shang-Chi is fighting a bunch of goons on a bus and he wraps his jacket around an assailants arm and knocks him back with it. This is a parallel to a Rumble in the Bronx where Chan is a Hong Kong cop fighting off enemies and he uses his windbreaker to disarm a man with a knife. And then there was even another scene where Katy is hanging off of scaffolding made out of bamboo. And this was essentially paying homage to rush hour to where Chris Tucker’s character, Carter is hanging off bamboo and Jackie Chan’s Lee has to save him. So if you saw this movie if you connected to it, not even because you’re Asian American, but just because you love Marvel movies. Go ahead and tweet us @happiestpodGT or DM us on Instagram @happiestpodGT. And let us know your thoughts, your feelings, we want to hear them all.

Stefanie Bautista 1:09:18
Yup. And we can’t wait to cover more of a lot of these Marvel Disney things that are coming out because we are being bombarded with stuff. So we’re excited to go over all of that with you.

Ariel Landrum 1:09:30
Yeah. All right, buh-bye everybody!

Stefanie Bautista 1:09:33

Media/Characters Mentioned
  • Shang-Chi
  • Simu Liu
  • Spider-Man
  • Wong
  • Hulk
  • Captain Marvel
  • The Eternals
  • Katy
  • Awkwafina
  • Xu Wenwu
  • The Mandarin
  • Tony Ceung Chiu-wai
  • Leiko Wu
  • Fala Chen
  • Wong
  • 88 Rising
Topics/Themes Mentioned
  • Asain representation
  • Culture
  • Kin
  • Asian culture
  • Chinese culture
  • Ancestors
  • History
  • Yello Peril
  • Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Questions? Comments? Discuss this episode on the GT Forum.

 Website: happy.geektherapy.com
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 | Stef on Twitter: @stefa_kneee | Ariel on Instagram: @airyell3000 |

Geek Therapy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with the mission of advocating for the effective and meaningful use of popular media in therapeutic, educational, and community practice.
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1 thought on “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings”

  1. Pingback: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings – Geek Therapy Network

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