NEW DELHI: The resounding cheers and applause at a special screening of MCU's latest film "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" brought back the memories of watching a superhero movie on the big screen in the pre-pandemic days.
In a year where the threat of the coronavirus pandemic continues to loom large, Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) aficionados on Sunday evening thronged the PVR ECX theatre in Chanakyapuri here that hosted the showcase of the upcoming tentpole from the studio.
Fans queued up in long lines at the entrance of the theatre, socially distanced and patiently waiting for a chance to get in and watch the first Marvel movie to release in India since the beginning of the pandemic.
Theatres in Delhi have been allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity and the organisers adhered to all the COVID-19 guidelines, mandated by the authorities, during the screening.
The fan frenzy inside the cinema hall was quite palpable and for many, it was a moment to relive the good old days of watching a film in a massive dark hall.
As the film commenced with the Marvel Studios signature logo appearing on the silver screen, the hall with over a 100-strong audience reverberated with loud applause.
Starring Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu, "Shang-Chi" is one of the most anticipated films of this year.
The movie, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, marks Marvel's first project with an Asian lead.
Cretton and Dave Callaham have penned the story.
Set after the events of "Avengers: Endgame" (2019), the movie follows Shang-Chi (Liu) who is drawn into the clandestine Ten Rings organisation, headed by his estranged father (Tony Leung), and is forced to confront the past he thought he left behind.
The film also stars Awkwafina, Meng'er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, and Michelle Yeoh.
The newest superhero was a hit among the audience members who started rooting for him right from the moment he threw his first punch in the movie.
Such was the excitement that even a casual reference to Robert Downey's Iron Man, one of the tallest heroes of the MCU, was met with loud cheers.
The film's breathtaking action pieces and intimate storyline also ensured that the fans were in for a quintessential Marvel treat.
When the movie ended after a run-time of just over two hours, the audience members remained glued to their seats so that they don't miss the end-credits scene, a staple in a Marvel film which often gives an insight into the future of the ever-expanding cinematic universe.
And, there are two end credit scenes in "Shang-Chi".
Post screening, Ashwin, an audience member, said "Shang-Chi" was the next best thing from the MCU after the late Chadwick Boseman-starrer "Black Panther".
"After 'Black Panther', 'Shang-Chi' is the film where the visual effects and action are amazing. It has some great characters and its story moves at a brisk pace. What I liked about this film was that this wasn't a stereotypical representation of Asian people. It had a lot of heart and soul," he said.
Purvi, another audience member, said that "Shang-Chi" can only be enjoyed as a theatrical experience.
"I'm not the quintessential superhero movie fan but I had a blast here. I really liked the movie, mainly its storyline and how they inculcated the Chinese legends and mythology into the plot. This movie could not have been a great watch anywhere other than a cinema hall. It is meant for theatres," she said.
Kshitij came to the screening to watch his favourite actor and Hong Kong star Tony Leung, who plays Wenwu, Shang-Chi's father and the main villain in the movie.
"I came here to watch this movie only for Tony Leung and he did not disappoint me at all. I had seen him in 'The Grandmaster' doing some cool action but this trumps everything."
"I sat through the very last moment of the film as I believe it is a sin for a Marvel fan to miss the end credits scene," the college student, who was wearing a Hulk T-shirt, said about the veteran actor known for international classics like "In the Mood for Love" and "Chungking Express".
"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" has been produced by Disney-owned Marvel Studios.
In India, the film will be released on September 3 in English, Hindi, Telugu and Kannada.