Following a history of underrepresented Asians in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the infamous whitewashing by The Ancient One in Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme – 89%, the franchise is set to release its first feature film starring and made mostly by Asians. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has Simu Liu as Marvel’s new superhero, but the actor has used his fame to talk about social issues and in a recent Instagram story he addressed discrimination against Asian people in Hollywood.
On the social network, the actor shared a screenshot of the recent article by Huffpost titled “Asian American Characters On Screen Are More Likely To Be Laughed At Than Laughed With”, in turn based on a study by Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, founded by the actress Geena Davis, and in charge of researching and promoting diversity in the media.
According to the study, Asian American characters often appear as stereotypes that can promote racism in real life. One of the most controversial cases in recent years in relation to representation was Once upon a time in … Hollywood – 94%, where Quentin Tarantino he portrayed Bruce Lee as an arrogant and weakling who was easily defeated by the character of Brad Pitt. On your Instagram story, Simu Liu accompanied the screenshot of the article by Huffpost with these words:
This is exactly what bothered me about Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood. He [Tarantino] He could have made any number of decisions about the Bruce Lee character, but he chose to make it a joke.
Criticism of Tarantino also came from Lee’s daughter, friends and people close to the late actor and martial artist; in China he was asked to censor the scene of Bruce Lee and the director refused. The worst part is that he never admitted that he could have made a mistake or an exaggeration in portraying him as such an arrogant guy, even in a recent interview with The Joe Rogan Experience he reaffirmed his position with these words:
… I can understand that your daughter has a problem with that. It’s his damn father. I understand. But no one else, oh, let them rot!
Martial arts cinema also spread the stereotype that all Asians know martial arts, and for that very reason Simu Liu commented in an interview with THAT ONE that for a while he avoided being related to those kinds of movies. Now not only did he have the opportunity to continue the legacy of the greats like Bruce Lee, Jet Li Y Jackie Chan, also of becoming the first Asian Marvel Studios superhero to star in his own feature film.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will hit theaters on September 2 and, unlike Black Widow – 87%, will not be available on Disney Plus until months after its official premiere on the big screen. This year we already had three series from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the premiere of the first film since 2019, Black Widow, which despite starting with a good box office, had a big drop, the largest for a franchise installment.
After Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Asian-British actress Gemma Chan will be in Eternals, directed by the Chinese filmmaker Chloe Zhao, winner of the Oscar for Best Director and Best Film for Nomadland – 100%. As you can see, there is growing diversity at Marvel, and this trend will continue and increase for years to come.
Don’t leave without reading: Eternals: Salma Hayek Says She Feels Safer With Female Directors Like Chloé Zhao