Eternals is one of the top films in Marvel Studios with scope and ambition. It has told the story that has expanded 7000 years, cruising along with the history of the human and just beyond the known space.
It has just made it MCU’s one of the most intriguing movies to date at the philosophical level, and it has been let down by the story and also by the script that has been favoured the world-building over the development of the character.
It is clear that the film mainly begins with a wall of the text that is named ‘Star Wars’ and may have very much work cut out for itself for living up to the mountains of the lore that has been established by a new first live-action frame that will get to be projected.
We will like to remind you about the entering of the heightened reality, and also about a film that has targeted to establish the grand rules of the universes that also seen been higher just like Thor, Loki, and maybe even the Time Variance Authority may be unknown as a big task.
The trailers have exposed the actual identity of the Eternals, and the Eternals are mainly the immortal beings who had not been sent to Earth by the higher life form and have been called the Celestials.
They are going through the mission of riding of the planet of the evil Deviants, apex predators at the top of the galactic food chain. Roughly, there are the 10- v lading Eternals character arrives on the Earth before the seven thousand years to the ‘present day’ and when they are become successfully managing to defeat the Deviants, they have stranded on to the planet, and also waiting to be called back by them, the crime Celestial who spent them on their mission.
It has also introduced such higher concepts along with the dozen of the characters with a lot to be fit into the runtime over two and a half hours, and it makes it the second-largest MCU movie only behind Avengers: Endgame. This Endgame has been able to manage the vaguely introduced concept of the multiverse; Eternals has been failed for establishing the connection between the eponymous heroes who are strong enough for me for caring the world.
By playing the lead role of Gemma Chan’s Sersi and Richard Madden’s Ikaris, we see both the glory days and the downfall of the immortal heroes through the lens of human history as the residents of the MCU know it. While almost every one of the Eternals gets enough screen time to stand on their own, Sersi and Ikaris’ love story is at the heart of the film.
Each Eternal has something special to offer aside from their unique powers, with everyone except Angelina Jolie’s Thena and Salma Hayek’s Ajak, who feel grossly underutilized in the film. While the former has a side plot that connects back into the film’s core conflict, Hayek’s Ajak is only there to propel the story forward and nothing more.
Lia McHugh’s Sprite and Barry Keoghan’s Druig are definite highlights, as well as Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos, the MCU’s first openly gay character. Joining in the well representative cast is Kumail Nanjiani’s Kingo, a famed Bollywood star in the MCU (which is just as fun to see as it sounds), and Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari, the MCU’s first deaf superhero.
There’s a pattern here with the talented cast coming together to be the most representative group of characters the MCU has ever seen fighting together with, or against, each other. It’s a shame then that the script relegates most of them to only spit out long exposition dumps to further flesh out the universe and lore of the Eternals, Celestials, and the cosmos.
Each Eternal has their own view of humanity, with some being empathetic and others seeing them for the faulty being they are. Keoghan’s Druig is a great example who questions their mission statement, stating that staying away from human affairs may not be the best idea amidst the myriad of wars they have seen.
Alternatively, Phastos comes around to caring for the species after being devastated by the effects of his meddling in the advancement of technology. There are flashbacks that constantly remind us of the film’s scale and just how important the Eternals have been to the know human history, but the sum of those parts isn’t any more remarkable in the end.
During the entirety of the run time, I was intrigued. Intrigued, but not entertained all the way through. That doesn’t mean I crave jokes every 10 seconds, far from it. But when the film’s central conflict is about an immortal group of heroes arguing over choosing humanity over the cosmic implications of literal God-like beings’ wrath, I don’t think asking for a more fleshed-out emotional connection to said humanity is unwarranted.
“When you love something, you protect it,” says Thena in the film, but I never get the sense that the Eternals really love humanity. Sure, they care. They’ve seen the advancements the civilization has made with and without their help. There are moments in the film where that love comes across as quite endearing, like Phastos’ leaving his family to reunite with the Eternals, or Sprite contemplating whether her physical child-like form is a curse in a world where people are allowed to grow old and die. But those moments are few and far between.
One moment sees Phastos’s adoptive child points to Ikaris claiming “That’s Superman!” only for the latter to hit back with “I don’t wear a cape.” Cheeky as that reference may be, establishing the world of DC to exist within the MCU, therein lies a great difference between the approach taken towards these heroes. While Superman has been in a rocky relationship with the movie-going audience lately, he has always had the trust of the people of Earth.
The Eternals are revealed to have been behind the creation of many myths throughout history, but at no point do they seem to live to those myths. That’s not to say that the action isn’t there or that they don’t perform miraculous feats of strength and heroism. The action here reminds me of the superheroes found in the DC universe, and that’s a compliment. While there are moments of extreme wonder found in those setpieces, there is a missing element.
That appears to be an underwhelming visual fidelity with the CGI presentation at odds with the otherwise naturally shot film, making the deviants look highly dated. That ramps up in the final act, which, in typical Marvel fashion, is full of CGI shenanigans, except this time the imagery looks and feels…not bad, but not good either.
The film’s final act puts the relationship between the Eternals to the test, forming the crux of the emotional conflict within the group that gets teased throughout the movie as we learn more about the tensions between the various members of the group.
The direction here feels stiff, which is odd for Oscar winner Chloe Zhao, who praised high heaven with her previous ‘Nomadland’. There are enough moments here to make the film stand on its own, separate from the MCU, but some sequences (specifically action sequences) felt studio-driven. The film looks beautiful, with awe-inspiring vistas that don’t seem to result from green-screen trickery, but it’s the writing that lets everything down. Zhao shared the screenplay and story duties with Ryan and Kaz Firpo, aided by Patrick Burleigh, who all collectively have yet to make their mark in the world of cinema.
The Firmo cousins are known for multiple short films which, while I believe may be perfectly alright, aren’t widely known. Burleigh on the other hand previously worked on Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and Marvel’s Ant-Man and The Wasp as an additional writer. That explains quite a lot of the film’s shortcomings with its screenplay, which perhaps was rushed once Zhao was brought on to the project.
The boss of Marvel Studio, Kevin Feige, has declared that The Eternals have a vast cast. This film will be featuring Angelina Jolie, who will be featuring as play warrior Eternal Thena, Richard Madden, who is the substitute of Superman Ikaris, Kumail Nanjani as Kingo, Brian Tyree Henry as the brilliant inventor Phaistos, train to Busan’s Don Lee, who is the strongest Gilgamesh, Barry Keoghan as Spy Drug, Gimma Chan as Sersi, there are also three characters who are interchanged from male to female, Salma Hayek as powerful leader Ajak, Lauren Ridloff from Walking Dead as Makkari, Lia McHugh as Sprite who just looks like a child, Kir Harington as Dane Whitman.
The Eternals: Marvel’s New Chapter
Marvel can take a few risks at the beginning of The Endgame, and you can assume that The Eternals maintain a similar balance of comedy and drama as the other MCU image. You have to watch it in action to understand the appeals of these characters, but we have previously seen that Feige and the team always open a new direction to the MCU.
A special mention needs to be given to Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman who despite his small but entertaining role here should make for quite a big impact whose ramifications will have to wait for another day to be seen in the MCU. The same can be said for the film’s somewhat abrupt ending, which invites the possibility of a sequel being made, one which hopefully focuses more on the drama over establishing the rules of the universe for almost two hours.
There’s room for another very special mention to Harish Patel, whose surprisingly prolonged presence on-screen warmed my heart for reasons I would rather not divulge in fear of spoilers.
If I had to describe my feelings about the film in just one sentence, it would be this – Eternals is a slow-moving galactic train where every stop is called exposition city, which is its biggest problem.
There are enough crazy ideas and universe-building concepts that make everything up until this point feel trite in comparison, but the reason why most of the previous films worked is that we cared about the characters and wanted to see them triumph in their seemingly “smaller” battles. Here, I wanted to see the Eternals win because hey, we’re losing the planet if they don’t!
A big thanks for the source.