Up until the third act of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Simu Liu’s intrepid title hero doesn’t have any actual superpowers. He’s very good at martial arts, which is always a handy skill to have in your back pocket, but he doesn’t possess the sort of special abilities that instantly make people sit up and take notice.
Of course, you don’t need to be able to shoot laser beams from your eyeballs to suit up and fight bad guys in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as evidenced by a huge number of the franchise’s big names. Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff, James Rhodes, Peter Quill, Sam Wilson, Scott Lang and many more don’t have any powers, they just have technology that changes the game in their favor.
However, now that he has inherited the ten rings from his father, Shang-Chi is a force to be reckoned with, seeing as his old man used them to live for over a thousand years, gathering incredible power and unattainable wealth in the process. In a new interview, director Destin Daniel Cretton teased that the MCU’s newest Avenger has a power level on par with some notable stalwarts, namely Thor and the Hulk.
“It depends if you’re talking about the beginning of the movie or the end of the movie. I think by the end of this movie, I think, he is, you know, standing up on a similar level to some of our favorite superheroes in the MCU. For fun, we’ve debated things but I don’t really know the answer to it. But I’m sure we’ll explore them in the future.”
A mystical MacGuffin is always a solid option for turning a regular dude into a superhero without having to explain the mythological minutiae in painstaking detail. So kudos to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings for using a prologue to outline the power of the artifacts, which, at the end of the day, we all knew would end up in the hands of the good guys.