An Ode To Wong, The One MCU Dude Who Is Just Vibing

This weekend, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" did a lot of good for the world. It brought audiences back to theaters, showcased Tony Leung's face, and was a refreshing change of pace for the MCU. But most importantly, it saw the return of the franchise's most underrated wonder: Benedict Wong as master of the mystic arts, Wong.

Wong's awesomeness was clear from the very first moment we first met him: only the greatest among us have the star power to pull off a single name. Think Adele, Aristotle, Drake, or Beyoncé. Obviously, Wong fits right in with that crew.

Since his 2016 debut in "Doctor Strange," Wong has gotten even cooler with each new appearance. And all things considered, that's a pretty high bar — he came out swinging from the very start, threatening Stephen Strange's (Benedict Cumberbatch) life over a collection of books. Seemingly immune to Strange's charm and bad puns, when he first meets the Doctor he's just settled into his new position as the librarian of Kamar-Taj. And as the guardian of the books, he makes it clear that he will not hesitate to kill anyone who threatens them. Just a few scenes later, the dude is bopping his head to "Single Ladies." The man has achieved a profound level of badassery and it's about time he gets the proper recognition.

Where Would Our Heroes Be Without Him?

Stephen Strange's arrogance can't go unchecked. Like Tony Stark before him and the next conceited billionaire to join their ranks, Strange needs to be surrounded by those who make him better. In his first solo outing, he has Christine (the vastly underutilized Rachel McAdams) and his mentor The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), both of whom do wonders for his personal growth, but Wong gives us a much-needed window into understanding our hero.

While he initially comes across as too self-serious for Strange, his frustrations become clearer over time: it's not that Wong has no sense of humor, but that he knows when to put it on hold. The dire seriousness of their roles as protectors can't be taken lightly, and it isn't until he pushes Strange to that realization that Wong can soften (and laugh at his terrible jokes). After all the kaleidoscope dramatics, Wong stays at Strange's side as an ally, friend and surrogate mentor. He continues keeping him in check and fighting at his side, as we see in the big Infinity Saga finale. 

In "Avengers: Infinity War," poor Wong is just trying to get his hands on a tuna melt when Bruce Banner crashes through the Sanctum floor. He never does get his sandwich, but he does deliver an epic (mildly show-offy) crash course on the Infinity Stones, to catch us up on the stakes of Thanos' arrival. And you know what else is great about Wong? Man knows his priorities. He battles alongside Tony, Bruce, and Strange to take down some Thanos lackeys — but he has no interest in jumping aboard a spaceship to save them, he has a job to do! Master of the mystic arts has to protect the Sanctum! Wong opts out of their space adventure and the Wakanda fight to defend his very special books. Anyway, they end up handling themselves pretty well ... eventually.

The Beyoncé of the MCU

In the end, it all works out — Wong makes sure of it. Never forget that once the other half of the universe is restored, he's the one to enlist their allies and conjure the portals needed to get everyone on Cap's left. He pretty much just pops up when needed, makes people better and shows off his wicked cool sorcery skills. What more could we need?

Wong is truly a vibe. He's the ideal superhero, with exactly the attitude we want our superpowered beings to have. He takes his job very seriously — whether it's safeguarding the world against dark sorcerers or gathering the Avengers to take down Thanos. But that doesn't mean there's no time for fun. And it's not the sort of irresponsible fun that might threaten the universe: sometimes the guy just needs to make a few extra bucks, so he can finally afford a tuna melt. And what better way than freelancing as a cage fighter and facing off against the Abomination? And while it took the 1400-pound Hulk a whole third act to take down the beast, Wong does it with a few flicks of his Sling Ring.

What's Next for Wong?

Incoming: spoilers for "Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings."

Wong can now be seen taking on the role of the new Nick Fury, and recruiting Shang-Chi as a defender of Earth. Personally, if given my choice of a recruiter, I would go with Wong 10 out of 10 times. Nick Fury is cool and all, but I can't imagine slinging my arm around the guy's shoulder to sing a duet. 

Wong indoctrinates Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) into the MCU lineup of heroes with an honest grace, letting him know how drastically their lives will change and never downplaying the seriousness of their new roles. He tells them, "there's no going back." And then, after the insanity of being a superhero sets in ... he joins them for a rousing round of karaoke. His rendition of "Hotel California" shall forever reign supreme. Nick Fury could never.

Wong is set to appear again in both "Spider-Man: No Way Home" and "Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness." But why stop there? Wong has been a great support system for the many heroes of the MCU, but the man clearly has his own depths and layers. Not to mention the fact that Benedict Wong is an incredible performer, who's already instilled the character with gravity and humor. Let's give him more to do! Consider this my official call for the Wong solo movie: where's he peacing out to in the "Spider-Man: No Way Home" trailer? Can we go with him? The options are endless. We could just jump headfirst into The Secret Life of Wong — because the man clearly has a lot going on. Like his Abomination training school, cage-fighter nights and his potential alter-ego, NoobMaster69. Plus, he obviously has a direct line to Carol Danvers and only the coolest of people are allowed that honor.

Also, if it helps, Benedict Wong is definitely on board for a badass solo outing.

We have a few more months before Wong appears (however briefly) in "Spider-Man: No Way Home," but until then there's plenty of Benedict Wong to go around. He most recently starred in the supernatural drama "Nine Days." You can also check him out in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," now playing in theaters.