Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director, Destin Daniel Cretton, praises Awkwafina’s exceptional comedic (and dramatic) skill.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton praises Awkwafina’s exceptional comedic (and dramatic) skill. Taking place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Shang-Chi introduces audiences to its eponymous Master of Kung Fu. After picking up with “Shaun” in San Francisco working as a valet alongside his best friend, Katy, the film follows the former as he’s forced to confront his true identity as the son of Wenwu, the leader of the Ten Rings. In addition to starring Simu Liu as Marvel Studios’ first Asian lead, Shang-Chi features a predominantly Asian cast including Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Meng’ er Zhang, Tony Leung, Benedict Wong, and Awkwafina.
Following various delays due to COVID-19, Cretton’s Shang-Chi was released in theaters on September 3rd, broke box office records, and continues to exceed expectations. The film has been praised for its cultural influence, action sequences, heart, and humor—the latter of which is thanks in no small part to Awkwafina. The Chinese-American actress/rapper came to fame when her song “My Vag” went viral in 2012. She’s since played supporting roles in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Ocean’s 8, Crazy Rich Asians, Jumanji: The Next Level, and an acclaimed leading role in 2019’s The Farewell. Awkwafina is at the height of her game as Katy Chen, the lifelong best friend of Shang-Chi who, despite lacking combat experience or magical bracelets, plays as valuable a role in the MCU film as any superhero.
Cretton recently posted a behind-the-scenes photo on Instagram of himself directing Awkafina in Shang-Chi. In the post, Cretton praises Awkwafina’s improvisational skills as well as her ability to be a “caring, present, and intimate performer.” Check it out below:
Awkafina’s Katy is a source of Shang-Chi’s best jokes, whether she’s singing karaoke and taking sports cars for joyrides or criticizing the “Shaun” name change and, again, singing karaoke with Shang-Chi and Wong. That being said, she’s easily one of the MCU’s best comic relief characters as she’s heartfelt, grounded, and has an actual arc. Like her friend, who’s struggling with his identity and future, Katy expresses feeling aimless in life. After following Shang-Chi to Macau and then Ta-Lo, Katy picks up archery, which makes her a pivotal player in the fight against the Dweller-in-Darkness, and not as a gag.
Humor is a cornerstone of the MCU, often cutting the tension while reminding the audience that these superheroes are actual people. However, Marvel films have recently received criticism for an overabundance of jokes that may upset the balance of drama and comedy. Cretton’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings allows Awkwafina to shine in a film that masterfully manages its characters and tone. Katy basically becomes an Avenger with Shang-Chi at the end of the film and there’s sure to be more of her in Phase 4.
More: Shang-Chi’s Planet of the Apes Joke Is Perfect Iron Man 3 Payoff
Source: Destin Daniel Cretton
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