Shang-Chi & Katy's Friendship Is the Most Wholesome in the MCU – CBR – Comic Book Resources
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings just gave the Marvel Cinematic Universe one of its most wholesome friendships to date.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, now in theaters.
In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, after Simu Liu’s titular character fled his tyrannical dad, Wenwu, as a teen, he needed a sense of family and went on to forge a decade-long friendship with Awkwafina’s Katy. She became his rock, not just as a connection to his Chinese heritage, but also to the idea that no matter what, someone’s got his back. With that in mind, let’s break down why their friendship is the most wholesome in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Now, the MCU has pretty cool friendships as seen with Scott Lang’s posse, as well as Steve Rogers’ crew, but what makes Shang-Chi and Katy stand out is how they buck stereotypes along the way in a sibling-like manner. Usually, folks would expect the forced, clichéd angle of besties falling in love by the end of the film, but there’s nuance to their platonic stance and how much they mean to each other, and a lot of that comes from how they’re both outsiders.
It began when Shang-Chi, hiding out in San Francisco as Shaun, got bullied at high school. He didn’t want to unleash the killer within, so while he took the abuse, on one occasion Katy stepped in and sang “Hotel California” by the Eagles to confuse the bully. After this first meeting, they became inseparable, with Shaun becoming part of her family and living vicariously through her as they embraced their Chinese heritage.
And the thing is, while Katy doesn’t really feel her culture and traditions, Shaun does, which encourages her by Shang-Chi‘s end — especially after visiting Ta Lo — to remember where their ancestors came from. It’s pretty great to see them impacting each other’s lives so richly, which is informed by how selfless Katy is. This is most evident in the way she immediately joins Shaun’s crusade when he reveals his true identity and his destiny to stop his evil father.
Katy scolds him a bit but is quickly accepting of Shang-Chi’s identity, why he hid the truth and what he must do. In fact, this experience later helps her bond with and remind Xialing that they’re also powerful women who can make a difference. It speaks a lot to how, while their lawyer friend Soo deems them aimless, they’re really soulful people who can inspire others to greatness.
It doesn’t matter what life choices they make, per Katy hijacking a fancy ride with Shang-Chi during valet duty or driving a bus while he’s attacked by mercenaries; they’d die for each other. The fact that she doesn’t sit out the final fight and enters the battle as a key archer sums it up nicely. Katy is clearly out of her depth and while she could sit on the sidelines, she doesn’t. They’ve been together through thick and thin, and after helping save him, they have a good hug once the battle is finally over.
By the end of Shang-Chi, Katy is effectively his sidekick even though she doesn’t have any powers, but this once more speaks to their human sides. Shang-Chi might be immortal now and powered up by the rings, but she keeps him tethered to his roots and home. It’s a breath of fresh air that while they hold hands briefly at the end, it’s not as love interests. It’s totally as friends, which feels like a rarity in Hollywood today. They’re content with taking care of each other emotionally as is, using perfect karaoke ‘dates’ as an outlet to remind everyone that they’re the definition of friendship goals and that sometimes, that is more important than finding the right romantic partner. To Shang-Chi and Katy, saving the world and duty, on the whole, is crucial, but not as integral as protecting each other as kindred spirits.
To see the MCU’s newest hero and his bestie kick butt, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in theaters now.
KEEP READING: Marvel’s Shang-Chi Guide: News, Easter Eggs, Reviews, Theories and Rumors
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