MAKING up for a 12 month drought, expect Marvel movies to drop thick and fast in the coming months. Hot on the heels of Cate Shortland’s Black Widow comes Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings. And a more original prospect at that.

Best known for his work with fellow Marvel alumni Brie Larson - The Glass Castle and Just Mercy most recently - Destin Daniel Cretton directs Shang-Chi. This 25th feature in the Marvel Cinematic Universe tells the sort of origins of the titular super. His speciality? Kung fu.

Simu Liu leads as skilled martial artist Shang-Chi, a trained assassin and former member of terror organisation Ten Rings. As we find him, Shang-Chi has quit his past and is giving normality a stab in San Francisco. He calls himself Shaun and works alongside Awkwafina’s Katy as a valet for some swanky hotel. There’s chemistry between the two but far from conclusively romantic.

When Shaun and Katy find themselves corned by a crew of mean and mysterious baddies, while travelling home by bus, Shang-Chi must confront his past - much to the shock of Katy. As it transpires, this gang of rogues from the Far East seek the pendant Shaun wears around his neck. Revelations fly left, right and centre in the ensuing bust up but the long and short of it is that Shang-Chi’s father is, in fact, an immortal super in possession of the legendary ten rings.

In a film peppered with glitzy and scene stealing guest stars, Liu does well to hold his own. He’s as hugely likeable as he is beefy - Liu reportedly gained 4.5kg of muscle for the film - and finds a winning slot for himself in the typical Marvel beats. Michelle Yeoh brings gravitas to a small but significant role, with parts too for Hong Kong A-lister Tony Leung and newcomer Meng’er Zhang. Watch out too for MCU reprisals from Tim Roth, Jade Xu, and Benedict Wong.

Cretton, alongside co-writers Andrew Lanham and David Callaham, draws heavily on a bygone era of Martial Arts cinema in the production of Shang-Chi. Nods to the filmography of Jackie Chan loom large, alongside clear choreographical borrowings from Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Studio pressure may hold Shang-Cho back from ever feeling entirely like a new experience for the MCU but Cretton’s verve is nonetheless refreshing.