Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings include some of the best action scenes in the MCU’s history. The fighting scenes are among the best the franchise has ever done, showcasing the characters’ martial artistry and skill. Indeed, it’s almost inconceivable to believe any other MCU character comes close to being as proficient in hand-to-hand combat as the characters in Shang-Chi.
But who is the best fighter out of all the main players in Shang-Chi? Most of them are exceptional combatants like Death Dealer and Ying Nan, but the movie reveals in key actions scenes set in the crowded streets of San Francisco to the ancient lost city of Ta-Lo that some are above others in both expertise and raw talent.
9 Trevor Slattery
Trevor Slattery isn’t a great warrior, nor does he need to be. He is an actor, an entertainer, and that’s where his talents lie. After all, they’re the reason he’s still alive after his failed attempt to impersonate the Mandarin in Iron Man 3.
During the climactic battle, Trevor realizes there’s nothing he can do and pretends to be dead. He’s a man who understands where his strengths lie and uses them to the fullest, proving that, in his way, he is one of Shang-Chi‘s smartest characters.
In many ways, Katy is Shang-Chi‘s most relatable character as her narrative function is to be the audience’s representative in the movie. She’s someone with no previous connection to Shang-Chi’s past, discovering new and exciting things about his role in the larger MCU along with the viewers.
Katy is a dynamic character with enough agency to stand on her own, even among the other warriors, some of whom go beyond the impressive into the outright legendary. She learns how to work a bow and arrow by the end, proving that she is, perhaps, Shang-Chi‘s bravest character. However, she still has a long way to go before standing toe-to-toe with the other characters such as Death Dealer.
7 Razor Fist
Razor Fist, a loyal and faithful servant of the Ten Rings and Wenwu’s enforcer, is a capable fighter in his own right. He is skilled enough to battle both Shang-Chi and Xu Xialing and hold his own. He is also a capable tactician and commander, as demonstrated during the climactic fight.
As one of Shang-Chi’s greatest villains, Razor Fist has an instant aid in battle: his machete hand. He can deal massive damage with just one slice when others could only bruise with their bare knuckles. Under regular circumstances, Razor Fist would be a fearsome opponent, a dangerous enemy that could make things very complicated. His only drawback seems to be an apparent lack of strategy or intelligence behind his attack moves.
6 Death Dealer
Although his role in the movie is minimal, Death Dealer still makes an impression. He is Wenwu’s top assassin and Shang-Chi’s former mentor. His methods were cruel and gruesome, but he still managed to turn Shang-Chi into the Ten Rings’ most skilled warrior.
Death Dealer proves his talent many times throughout the movie. He battles Shang-Chi in Xiliang’s club, one of the movie’s most heart-pounding scenes. Unfortunately, he meets a rather anti-climactic end at the hands of one of the Dweller’s minions. It’s a shame because he was such an electrifying character that fans barely got to see.
5 Ying Li
As one of the guardians of Ta-Lo, Ying Li possessed knowledge that no human could ever hold. She was so skilled that she managed to best a Ten Rings-wearing Wenwu in hand-to-hand combat. Her understanding of martial arts was unparalleled, impressing even the thousand-year-old Wenwu.
Ying Li met a rather untimely death at the hands of a group of her husband’s enemies. Despite her considerable talent, she was still a human. However, her lessons and values remained behind, and her children adopted them, albeit in radically different ways.
4 Ying Nan
Like her sister, Ying Nan is a guardian of Ta-Lo. She is also their leader, displaying her intellect and maturity multiple times. She leads her people into battle against Wenwu’s army, then commands them against the Dweller and its minions.
Ying Nan is also proficient in the ancient techniques of Ta-Lo. She shares her knowledge with Shang-Chi, helping him understand more about his dual heritage. Although she doesn’t share a fighting scene with Wenwu, it’s blatantly clear that Ying Nan would’ve held her own and maybe even defeated him as her sister did.
3 Xu Xialing
Xu Xialing is a self-taught martial artist. She lacked the gruesome instruction that Shang-Chi endured, so she trained by herself. Eventually, she became just as good as her brother; reuniting with him, she even bests him in hand-to-hand combat at her nightclub.
Xu Xialing is the most inspiring character in the movie. She is not only a savvy businesswoman but an incredibly gifted martial artist that excels in the use of the rope dart. Ying-Li taught her the same lessons as Shang-Chi, but Xialing doesn’t train in the Ta-Lo techniques, or at least the movie doesn’t show it.
2 Xu Wenwu
A great villain is always one step ahead of the hero, and Wenwu is the perfect example. He is the most impressive and overpowered character for most of the movie, thanks to his own skill as a martial artist and the strength provided by the legendary Ten Rings.
Wenwu also received instruction on the Ta-Lo techniques from his wife, becoming an even more proficient warrior. Being alive for centuries granted him unparalleled experience, demonstrated by his mastery of the martial arts. Wenwu might be the movie’s most skilled fighter, but in the end, he gives his power to his son, earning some redemption for his sins.
For a long time, it seemed like only the most devoted comic book fan knew about Shang-Chi. However, the character is now a superstar and one of the most impressive figures in the entire MCU. Shang-Chi is the best fighter in the movie, training at the hands of his father and Death Dealer to become a fearsome martial artist as a child. He then receives further instruction, making him an unparalleled warrior by the time he receives the Ten Rings.
What makes Shang-Chi so impressive is the mix of techniques and values that live within him. He is the best of his father and mother, a warrior who will use the Ten Rings to do good. Shang-Chi is the perfect mix of Ta Lo’s tradition and the Ten Rings’ modernity, a fighter unlike any other in the MCU.