MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“Trained since childhood by the mysterious Ten Rings Organization, Shang-Chi must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn back into his father’s web.”
Back before the world decided to be just the worst for a while, the MCU was planning to introduce its first Asian-American-led film, based on the Master of Kung-Fu himself, Shang-Chi. The film was originally on the docket for an early release this year, but then 2020 happened, and everything got pushed around. Of all the films, Shang-Chi is probably the least majorly affected, since it’s still getting out in its intended year, just in September, instead of the spring, like originally intended. Hasbro did their best to time the toys to a release date that did not yet exist when they were in production, and they’re only a few months early, which is pretty good, considering the Black Widow stuff hit over a year ago at this point, and that movie’s still not out. I’ve managed to get my hands on the Legends component of the tie-ins, and I’m starting my look at them with the main guy, one Shang-Chi!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Shang-Chi is the first figure in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends, which is the assortment that serves as his movie’s tie-in. He’s one of the four movie-based figures in this particular set, as well as being one of the five overall movie figures we already know about. The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation. With all of these recent movie-based figures, it gets a little tricky to piece together just how long they’ve been in production, but Shang-Chi’s sculpt points to “a while.” The biggest giveaway is the presence of exposed pins on the elbow joints (though, curiously, the knees are hidden like more recent figures), but in general, the articulation scheme on this guy does feel a little bit on the archaic side. It’s not so much an issue of range, fortunately, but more of fluidity of motion. The torso joints in particular are pretty simple in terms of design. Articulation implementation aside, how’s the actual sculpt? It’s an all-new piece, and he’s sporting what I assume is his primary attire from the film. It’s nothing too fancy, but it does seem to capture the general spirit of the character’s looks over the years. The design is pretty well replicated here, and there’s a lot of work going into the texturing and patterning on his tunic, which certainly helps to keep him from looking too bland. The head’s likeness to Simu Liu isn’t quite as spot-on as other, more recent MCU likenesses. Like, it doesn’t look entirely unlike him, but there’s definitely enough differences to make you feel like something’s off. The head just feels too wide to me, and the hair’s a little too tidy, as well as parted on the wrong side, at least from what we’ve seen so far. It’s far from terrible, though, and certainly nothing like Hasbro’s first attempts at some of the other big MCU actors. Shang-Chi’s paint work is generally pretty cleanly handled. There are no obvious missing details, application is fairly consistent, and the face printing is fairly lifelike. In terms of accessories, Shang-Chi is packed with three sets of hands (gripping and two different styles of gesture; curiously no fists), a staff, and the right leg of the Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure. While the lack of fists is weird, I’m otherwise happy to see them keep up with the extra hands that the last Shang-Chi got. Extra hands are always extra cool.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This whole assortment was quite an odd-ball situation. Given all the delays to everything surrounding the MCU, Hasbro opted to keep this one close to the vest, so the official announcement came after people were already starting to find them at retail, and the exact details were still fuzzy. All Time actually got notification that the cases were on their way before we had any knowledge of what was actually in the cases, especially since we didn’t even yet have a trailer. It was weird having my first knowledge of anything pertaining to the movie coming from the toys. It’s been a while since that’s been the case for anything. Shang-Chi’s a decent figure, if maybe not a groundbreaking one. He’s got some cool extras, though, and given how hard the comic version was to find, it’s at least nice that there’s another version of the character out there.