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Recognizing Representation in Popular Films

If you are interested in movies, you may have seen the latest Marvel film in theaters: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. On Rotten Tomatoes reviews, it received the highest audience rating out of any marvel movie, and has already collected over $71 million in its opening three days at the North American box office.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is Marvel's first superhero film featuring an Asian lead character. It not only displays a primarily East Asian cast, but was also directed by Japanese American Destin Daniel Cretton.

For many Asian Americans, the creation of Cretton’s movie has marked an important moment for Asian representation in mainstream American action films. Countless people of Asian descent now feel better represented in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the President of Orange County’s Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Marc Ang. As Ang commented, “Shang-Chi is one of the only Hollywood movies overcoming the typical invisible Asian man or the hypersexualized Asian woman stereotypes.”

When interviewed, friend and fellow high school student Rachel Coughlin discussed her thoughts on the film as well. “It's pretty great. Seeing people who look like me and my mom leading a movie is amazing, especially considering there are very few movies composed of an all-Asian cast.”

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is both an incredible movie and a positive representation of Asian American culture in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hopefully, it will set a precedent for more Asian Americans to gain representation in popular films.

Works Cited

Ito, Robert. “How SHANG-CHI, Master of Kung FU, Knocked down Stereotypes.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 3 Sept. 2021,

Marc Ang | Special to the Daily Cal, and Marc Ang. “‘Shang-Chi’'s Box Office Success Signifies Rising Asian Cinema.” The Daily Californian, 11 Sept. 2021,

“Why Asian Superhero Shang-Chi Could Truly Change the World.” BBC Culture, BBC,

About the Author:

Abbie Skordos is a rising sophomore student. She found joy in writing this past year during her English class. Abbie has been a dancer for the past twelve years and enjoys the outdoors more than anything else. She also likes to draw and bake.

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