'Shang-Chi' Had A Great Backstory For A Villain (Then Never Used It)
You ever noticed how a lot of the supervillain monikers in the MCU are just one word, like Whiplash, Yellowjacket, Ego, Taserface, Ghost, Ultron, Killmonger, Taskmaster, or Mysterio? There are maybe 2-3 exceptions to that throughout the Marvel movies, but this mononym mania does make Razor Fist from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings a little bit original. But that's really all that he has going for himself.
Played by Florian Munteanu, Razor Fist was a Ten Rings assassin sent after Shang-Chi, who had a machete for an arm because of Star Wars. This may require a bit more context. See, if you go back and rewatch all the MCU movies (that's alright, I'll wait right here), you'll notice that A LOT of people there keep losing their arms, which, according to Kevin Feige, is just Marvel's unique way of referencing The Empire Strikes Back where Luke gets his hand chopped off by Darth "Father of the Year" Vader. Let's just be thankful that Feige wasn't a fan of Back to the Future cause I worry that he would "honor" it by putting just a ton of incest scenes in the MCU. There's no place for something like that in Marvel movies. That stuff is reserved for the comics.
Anyway, between him constantly overpaying at the glove store and his generic "tough super-assassin" role in the movie, the only unique thing unique about Razor Fist is probably his name. But the thing is, he could have been so much more.
Performers constantly come up with backstories for their characters that they tell themselves to better get into their roles, like how Frank Oz imagined that Miss Piggy was a teenage runaway from an abusive home who did "some things she wasn't proud of." He meant "bacon commercials," but I still say that was code for Muppet porn.
Munteanu and the film's director Destin Daniel Cretton did the same thing. By which I mean they came up with a backstory for Razor Fist, not that they did Muppet porn. (Although, hey, I don't know what they do in their free time.) They both envisioned him as a one-armed Romanian orphan whom Wenwu (The Mandarin) picked up, Inspector Gadget'ed, and turned into a faithful soldier. Over time, Razor Fist became something like a stepson to Wenwu, replacing his biological son Shang-Chi who rejected his father's guidance. None of that made it into the movie, even though it really, REALLY should have.
As we mentioned before, the whole of MCU can be summed up in one image:
As in, the entire franchise is about paternal relationships, and holy crap, wouldn't it make so much sense to explore that just a little bit with Razor Fist? Shang-Chi sees his father as a monster forcing him to become a killer, but Razor Fist looks at Wenwu as a savior who is just really good at surviving in a world that he knows is incredibly crappy from first- (and one-) hand experiences. A Razor Fist with a fleshed-out backstory would have a personal reason to hate his stepbrother Shang-Chi for his perceived weakness and lack of gratitude to a man he owes his life to. Add to that the jealousy and insecurity that Ra-Fi must have felt about not being Wenwu's biological son and therefore always second in the guy's eyes, and you would get a really tragic villain whose arc would fit perfectly into the MCU.
It's like … yeah, it was cool and all when he cut a bus in half, but it would've been more interesting if we knew that the entire time he was screaming, "He's my daddy, jerk!" inside his head.
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