It’s time to get excited about another Marvel movie, dear readers! With Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings debuting at the box office, viewers are about to be transported into another world of comic book action in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And as you could predict, that means it’s time for MCU fans to decide whether they take that journey the traditional way, or through the power of 3D enhancement! It’s time to decide to 3D or not to 3D with Shang-Chi!
Should you want to know how director Destin Daniel Cretton’s film measures up as a purely cinematic experience, our own Eric Eisenberg reviewed Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in that respect. But if you’re wondering whether or not you should throw some 3D ticket money towards this film, or if you’d be better off placing a bet on Abomination in the next fight, then you’re in the right place. Let’s get see if Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings truly works with the power of a 3D conversion in place.
3D Fit Score: 5/5
It almost feels like an MCU movie is a shoo-in for 3D thrills. But after this summer’s Black Widow experience, that assumption couldn’t have been further from the truth, as we learned that not all Marvel films are cut out for this sort of presentation. Thankfully, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a return to form, and then some, as this adventure is more of a fit for a third dimensional enhancement. As a result, the team behind the conversion went all out in the process.
Planning & Effort Score: 5/5
Without a plan, a 3D version of a major blockbuster can come off as lackluster at best, and a total waste in the worst case scenario. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings obviously went in with a plan and came out of the other side looking absolutely fresh. With one minor point of order bringing down the score just slightly, the work that went into this 3D conversion is impressive. Not only is the 3D well represented in some of the most impressive action sequences seen in the MCU, but the minor details also stand out as testaments to the finished product’s quality.
Before the Window Score: 5/5
Very rarely do you see a film use its 3D conversion to its greatest extent, particularly when it comes to the “Before The Window” aspect. The concept of throwing objects at the audience can either be non-existent, or in some cases a cheap gag to convince you 3D is being used properly. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings doesn’t play to either of those poles of the spectrum, delivering a rare win for people that like to feel like a part of the action. From the first fight where Simu Liu throws his fist towards the audience to the huge third act finale, rings, weapons, and characters are flung out at the crowd. Using the effect just right, this 3D conversion breaks the barrier between audience and film, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.
Beyond the Window Score: 5/5
It isn’t hard to master the portion of a 3D conversion that goes “Beyond The Window.” This is where the depth in the manipulated image comes into play, which Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings absolutely uses to impressive degree. Something as simple as Shang-Chi and Katy walking down an alleyway contemplating karaoke feels as realistic as the many fight sequences that take place in expansive and lush locales. If there was any doubt as to the range of the picture depth in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the sequences in the shifting maze that leads to Ta-Lo should be enough to convince any doubters.
Brightness Score: 4/5
Considered the archnemesis of 3D perfection, the Brightness factor is something that can make or break even the most fantastical thrills in the third dimension. This isn’t something you can totally pin on the team that crafted the 3D version of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, as part of the equation depends on how well your theater of choice maintains its 3D projectors. The good news about Shang-Chi is that even with the 3D glasses, the showing observed for this evaluation was still crisply presented, and pleasing to the eye. The bad news, however, is with a movie this colorful, even the light dimming from the 3D glasses can be seen as absolutely annoying. Thankfully, not annoying enough to spoil the fun.
Glasses Off Score: 5/5
Manipulating a 3D image requires quite a bit of visual blur, so that when the image from the two polarized lenses you’re wearing come together, it makes a unified image of depth and excitement. This isn’t usually a problem, as most movies do a pretty good job of blurring backgrounds and using characters as 2D anchors that really draw a proper 3D picture. But with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, there’s some seriously fine definition that comes into play between the borders of 2D and 3D. Sometimes, whole characters are used as 2D references that let the rest of the frame play as a 3D treat. In this case, Shang-Chi plays with that effect to the point where in some cases, a character’s face is the only 2D reference point.
Audience Health Score: 5/5
To say that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is an action-packed spectacle is like saying Awkwafina is hysterical: it’s obvious, but with the right context, it’s absolutely impressive. Just as Ms. Awkwafina’s quips are absolutely on point in Shang-Chi, the audience gets to see a martial arts spectacular unfold in front of their eyes. And there is not one moment where it confuses the eye, or moves too fast for the 3D effect to really stay in play. There’s a steady hand in the images on display, which converts rather nicely to a 3D version that is well worth the extra ticket money.
The world of 3D is slowly starting to come back to theaters, and it couldn’t have picked a better time to do so. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings feels like a return to form for a format that some have turned their backs on. All of the care and time that went into this latest trip into the MCU really shows, and the results are easy to see. Even a bit of dimming to the picture can’t stop Shang-Chi from proving itself as a true marvel of 3D magic. If this is your first movie back in theaters, definitely take the time to seek out this version, and prepare to be amazed!
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CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.