'Shang-Chi' Is Further Proof The MCU Is A Saga About Terrible Dads
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was kind of a milestone, marking the first Marvel movie with an Asian director and a predominantly Asian cast. But underneath it all, it was still a fairly standard MCU story, which Tony Leung (who plays Xu Wenwu/The Mandarin) confirmed when he summed up his character as "a failure of a father." Cause, yeah, when you look back at the history of the MCU, it kind of becomes clear that the entire franchise wouldn't exist without terrible dads. It's just one of the many similarities, including everyone's rock-hard bodies and skin-tight costumes, between the MCU and the '80s strip club industry, but let's focus on the faulty fatherly figures for now.
Thanos is the most obvious example since a big part of the character is his relationship with his abducted-adopted (abdopted?) daughters Gamora and Nebula, one of whom he tortures and mutilates on the reg. The other one he pushes off a cliff to obtain the Soul Stone, which later allows him to wipe out half the life in the universe. If Thanos had never became a shitty father to Gamora, he would never have someone he cared about (in his own twisted way), which is what must be sacrificed for the Soul Stone. I doubt his Thanoscopter would have been enough.
But terrible dads had been fueling the MCU since Iron Man (2008). Though later movies showed that Tony's dad Howard cared for his son (in his own way), their entire relationship was like spaghetti: strained (also very salty.) Anyway, maybe if Howard had hugged Tony a few more times as a kid, he wouldn't have grown up to be such a massive POS, which would mean no trip to Afghanistan to sell weapons, no getting kidnapped by Wenwu's gang, no redemption arc, no arc reactor, and no Iron Man. Hell, the real villain of the movie (other than Tony's facial hair) turns out to be Obadiah Stane, who, after Howard's death, became a father figure to Tony and organized his kidnapping in the first place
Now let's look at Hulk. Even if the Ang Lee flick, where Bruce becomes the Unjolly Green Giant because of his father's experiments/domestic abuse, isn't officially in the MCU, The Incredible Hulk with Ed Norton is. And that movie would have been over in five minutes flat if General Ross didn't have a personal vendetta against Bruce for smashing his daughter Betty. American dads are generally a tad too obsessed with their daughters' sexuality (here's a challenge for all my fellow foreigners: read up on American "purity balls" and try to keep your WTFs below 20.) But in The Incredible Hulk, it's clear that the reason Ross has such a raging hate-boner for Hulk is that Bruce's boner was once inside his daughter.
And then there is Odin, who's somehow an even worse father than Thanos. The two are actually very similar. Like the quadruple butt-chinned wonder, Odin too abdopted one kid and seriously messed up another: Hela. He trained his daughter to be a warrior-conqueror her entire life, then one day decided to act surprised when she wanted to continue to be a warrior-conqueror. Before she could yell, "I learned it by watching you!" Odin was imprisoning her in another dimension and gaslighting all of Asgard about their history.
And it just keeps going like that: Star-Lord's dad (shut up, Yondu, I'm trying to make a point), Ego from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, or Liz's dad Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming are all the primary plot-driving forces of their movies, and their fatherhoods are their primary characteristics. Even T'Chaka, Black Panther's dad, technically makes the list, since he abandoned his nephew N'Jadaka instead of taking him in and keeping him from becoming Killmonger.
In conclusion, Father's Day cards and ties are probably as popular in the Marvel-verse as a Thanos-themed cereal called "Snap-Os!" (part of a perfectly balanced breakfast.)
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