The brand new Shang-chi wave had pretty good timing, hitting very soon after the debut of the trailer. That way everyone can get that initial movie hype buzz and get nearly instant gratification with some toys.
I was going to be all in one this wave for several reasons. Number one: kung Fu. Number two, the Build-A-Figure is Mr. Hyde, a character I’ve wanted in figure form ever since the beginnings of Marvel Legends.
(Even if he’s in the wrong costume.)
But even if the trailer didn’t look as cool as refrigerated balls, even if I wasn’t a fan of everything the MCU is doing, this is still a damn good wave because of all the kung fu action goodness. Kung fu dudes, kung fu women, kung fu here and there. I am a man who likes his kung fu. The addition of the kung fu genre to the overall MCU is like two great tastes getting all smooshed together. A line devoted to such a thing is a wave I will be picking up.
It doesn’t hurt matters that Shang-Chi, the eponymous Master of Kung Fu himself, was rewarded with what is, in my opinion, just a flat-out great action figure.
There’s a traditional kung fu flavor to him but updated with a slightly modern touch. The body is all new, with an odd mixture of pinned arms and pinless legs. I’m not sure why they’re half and half but it doesn’t bother me one way or the other.
The MCU costume keeps the general colors from comic Shang-Chi with reds and black. It’s not the flashiest costume, but it gets the job done and will no doubt have more of an actual iconic feel after the movie so we can get more context around it.
The likeness to actor is very good, not perfect, but I can definitely see the actor there. I’d need to study his face more but there’s something slightly off that’s throwing me. I’ve read complaints that he looks bored but I kind of like the stoic expressionless look he has here. I think I’d rather it head in this direction than some frozen yelling face locked in for eternity. The paint printing gives him a great lifelike feel. Of course it falls apart into dot sprays at macro but at regular toy scale it looks great
I’m a bit of an articulation snob normally, but the articulation on a kung fu figure especially needs to allow for certain dynamics. I was very happy with the articulation and the range on Shang-chi. If there were two areas that could be improved, I’d say the hips (which aren’t to blame for any shortcomings) and the lack of butterfly shoulders. Now butterfly shoulders are not at all something necessary here, because his shoulders already get a great range, and sometimes even the addition of those butterflies doesn’t really do much to add to the overall motion due to poor engineering anyway. All in all I’m okay with not having them here rather than having some that end up being ineffective.
The range in the hips is slightly limited by the rubbery skirt section that is a natural extrapolation of his shirt. Luckily it is flexible enough to allow him to get a decent enough lateral spread, but he does fight against that skirt at the outermost range. All things considered what he can get out of his hips isn’t too shabby, though, so it ends up not being that much of a pose-killer anyway.
Everything else is excellent. His ab crunch gets a huge range from front to back. I tend to prefer a wobble joint for figures like this but the range here is so good that I have no qualms with it.
His double elbows get such a bend that he can he can practically touch his own shoulders if you bend his wrists. His ball jointed head has one of the better ranges of motion I’ve seen in an ML, with fantastic front, back left and right and all around.
The knees get a full bend, and the ankles allow him to remain flat-footed in as many poses as you can get him into.
Overall, this is an excellent range of articulation.
Shang-chi comes with three sets of hands. However, there are no fists.
There are no fists for a punchy guy!
I don’t know, man. I have to take some points off because he doesn’t have fists. He has grabby hands, dynamic hands and some thumb and index pinchy fingers that can be used as meditation hands (ommmm…ommmm) but are more representative of Praying Mantis kung fu. I guess Shang-Chi uses that in the film, so it’s a unique choice of hands, but if I’m being honest I’d trade them for fists in a heartbeat.
His only accessory is a staff. It’s simple, but I like it. He holds it well, and it’s a style I don’t have in my collection. It looks like the kind of thing a kung fu dude could use to kick the ass of a couple dozen men without breaking a sweat.
Overall this is a pretty terrific action figure. Like any comic snob, comic Shang-Chi will always be “my” Shang-chi, but for an MCU counterpart or just a generic kung fu guy, you really can’t go wrong with this figure.