Shang-Chi vs. Iron Fist: Who’s Stronger?

Netflix released an Iron Fist television show as part of its Defenders series. However, it received negative reviews. Marvel has reclaimed the Defenders, who will likely make their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the future. In the meantime, Shang-Chi brings the world of martial arts to Phase Four. Shang-Chi and Iron Fist are both considered master martial artists, but some audiences have wondered the question: who’s stronger?

Shang-Chi and Iron Fist’s abilities

The martial art talent of Shang-Chi has managed to take down characters with various powerful abilities. He’s considered to be one of the best martial artists in the world within the comic universe. Shang-Chi is a skilled marksman with high weapons proficiency across numerous martial arts weaponry. He also has the ability to control his own nervous system to counter drugs, poisons, and other toxins. Shang-Chi has the strength of a mortal man, but he’s able to channel his chi to multiply that power.

Iron Fist, also known as Danny Rand, also utilizes martial arts and chi. He defeated Shou-Lao the Undying, which gave him the power of the Iron Fist. This permits him to channel his chi to enhance his abilities. The most iconic use of this power is when he gathers the chi into his fist, making it otherworldly powerful. Iron Fist is also able to enhance his speed, reflexes, senses, and healing. Similar to Shang-Chi, he has control over his own nervous system.

The Iron Fist series demonstrates some of these abilities, as does the MCU’s Shang-Chi. Marvel’s comics have taken all of their heroes in various ways, with their power levels varying over the course of their existence. The MCU’s versions of their heroes tend to be weaker than their comic counterparts.

Who’s stronger?

The two characters have never met in the MCU. Additionally, it’s likely that Marvel would recast Finn Jones’ Iron Fist. However, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the two characters may cross paths in the MCU’s future.

Shang-Chi is undeniably stronger than Iron Fist. Marvel’s official power ratings put Shang-Chi at a seven out of seven, while Iron Fist is at a six. However, that isn’t the only reason why. The two heroes have fought in the comics to a tie before, but Shang-Chi is the more talented martial artist. His fellow heroes refer to Shang-Chi as a true “master,” which T’Challa stating that he’s a more powerful opponent than Danny.

Danny has more pure power when he’s in possession of the Iron Fist, but Shang-Chi has better control of his fighting skills. This also goes for this fight within the MCU. Shang-Chi gets to retrieve the ten rings, which also provides him with amplified power. Therefore, Shang-Chi would be the clear winner.

Martial arts in Marvel

Simu Liu with staff in 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings'
Simu Liu | Jason Boland/Marvel Studios

Marvel went through a time where they released multiple martial arts-related heroes. Shang-Chi’s first appearance was in Special Marvel Edition #15 from 1973, while Danny debuted in Marvel Premiere #15 from 1974. Marvel’s two strongest martial artist heroes happen to be Shang-Chi and Iron Fist. Colleen Wing, Elektra, Daredevil, and Black Widow are other hand-to-hand combatants, although they don’t match Shang-Chi and Iron Fist.

The MCU has now shown an interest in the martial arts side of the comics, so it’s likely that there will be more to come. The newest MCU film shows some of what the title character is capable of, but audiences will have to wait and see how they interpret Iron Fist. The Netflix series shows a rather weak iteration of the title character that certainly wouldn’t have the power to compete against Shang-Chi.

Shang-Chi is available exclusively in theaters starting on Sept. 3.

RELATED: ‘Shang-Chi’: How Legendary Actor Tony Leung Prepared for His Rare Performance as a Villain