New live-action film based on Stan Lee story inspired by China’s Monkey King ignites discussion in China
Published: Apr 06, 2021 07:38 PM
A photo director John Woo and the new figure of Monkey Master. Photo: Sina Weibo

A photo of director John Woo and the new figure of "Monkey Master". Photo: Sina Weibo

A new live-action film based on an unreleased comic series by Stan Lee and Sharad Devarajan about China's "Monkey King" is set to be helmed by famed Chinese filmmaker John Woo, according to Variety. 

The film will be created based on the duo's 2016 unpublished comic that involves the legend of the Monkey King, an iconic figure featured in the 16th-century classic Chinese novel Journey to the West

This new upcoming production quickly got netizens talking on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. Some expressed curiosity for a superhero film inspired by Chinese culture while others said they were more excited because it would be a chance to see a story from Lee that was never published. 

Other netizens remained rather aloof about the film because of doubts about its cultural setting and character elements. 

The film will incorporate cultural elements from both China and India and tells the story about a New York archaeologist who discovers a secret about China's Monkey King that brings him to India, where the power of the Monkey King turns him into a modern superhero known as Monkey Master. Its major character "Monkey Master" seems to combine traditional elements with today's superheroes leading to a muscular monkey who wears a pair of sunglasses. 

"I'm not sure about the look of this Monkey King, it seems to deliberately turn the original version into a stereotypical superhero, especially that triangle muscled body," said a netizen on Sina Weibo. 

"He [the Monkey King] is not so reckless and careless as he seems, he also has some very Chinese qualities such as being loyal, faithful and rather sensitive… I hope the Westernized superhero version of the Monkey King stays true to the character of this classic figure," a fan of the novel Journey to the West told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Also piquing moviegoers' interests is that the film will be helmed by John Woo, the globally acclaimed action film director behind hit films such as the 1989 action thriller film The Killer and the more recent Red Cliff (2008). 

"The story by Stan Lee was such an unique version of it that incorporated the mythological characters unexplored journey to India and had all the elements I enjoy in filmmaking - great characters, action, and adventure," said Woo in a Variety report.