The release of the newest Marvel film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, was a victory for Asians, both residing in United States and those around the world. Never before has a superhero film featured an Asian lead and a predominantly Asian cast and crew. With the film sweeping the U.S. box office during its opening weekend, it’s safe to say that Marvel and their culturally shifting flicks are making their impact on the new generation.
More than that, Shang-Chi has been the buzz during the week because of what it brings to the table. Here’s what the latest superhero means for Asians around the world.
Similar to the Crazy Rich Asians effect, showing off Asian talent undoubtedly leads to more opportunities for other Asians! In an industry led by the majority, the representation of one minority group can directly affect how many more of the same group can land jobs and roles in the future.
Shang-Chi‘s lead actor, Simu Liu, gained exposure for the role through his part in the popular TV series Kim’s Convenience. The show, which revolves around a Korean family that runs a Toronto convenience store, also features an Asian-led cast. Shows like these are important because they serve as stepping stones for more Asians to be seen in media.
The phrase “representation matters” has been echoed in every social media channel throughout the years, as Hollywood and other forms of media become more and more inclusive. Because media has not always given spotlights to minorities, seeing and identifying with a certain race or group on screen can be uplifting and can make people feel like they belong.
It’s about giving minorities something to look forward to when they watch a movie or TV show. Shang-Chi embodies this perfectly through Shaun, a Chinese-American who struggles with his identity and culture. This struggle is a familiar one to many Asians and Asian-Americans; its portrayal onscreen lets us feel seen and heard.
With representation comes pride. For years, it’s been hard for Asians to be able to relate to Western media that wasn’t associated with stereotypes like martial arts masters and genius whiz kids. Being able to watch Asian stories on the big screen can bring a profound sense of pride to Asian communities that have never seen it before.
With all that’s been going on recently, Asian pride has never been more important. Films like Shang-Chi and Crazy Rich Asians are paving the way, as media grows and gives Asians more chances to feel proud about their heritage. Long story short, we love to see it!