“Eternals” Review


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Marvel’s Eternals

Review Rating: 4 Knight Heads Out of 5

     The Marvel Cinematic Universe returned after more than a year this January with Disney+’s WandaVision. Now, more than ten months later, the MCU has four shows and three movies released for their Phase 4 slate of content, the most recent of which was Eternals.

     Directed by Academy Award Winning Best Picture and Best Director filmmaker Chloé Zhao, Eternals seeks to tell the story of immortal super-beings sent to Earth 7,000 years ago by the ancient god-like Celestials, with the mission to protect the planet. The Eternals shaped human history and evolution, enabling the survival of the species and pushing humanity forward through technological processes. Instructed to only intervene in human conflicts if they involved the dreaded enemies of the Eternals, the Deviants, these beings were forced to gaze in horror at the numerous atrocities committed by humanity over the millenia. Now in the present day, the Eternals must reunite to eliminate the Deviants once and for all.

     Eternals, at first glance, is not your typical Marvel movie. Between stellar cinematography and a more serious tone, one could easily mistake Eternals as a movie that takes place in the DC Universe. After all, the Eternals and Justice League share many similarities, especially Richard Madden’s Ikaris and Superman. However, the film clearly cements its place in the larger Marvel Universe, not only from nods to the Avengers, mentions of Thanos and references to the future of the universe, but also by continuing to implement the “traditional” Marvel sarcasm, primarily coming from Kumail Nanjiani’s Kingo.

     Marvel’s stab at a more “experimental” superhero film (or as experimental as a Marvel movie can get) has served to be quite divisive, particularly between fans and critics. Eternals presently sits with the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score of any other film in the franchise, dropping in with a whopping 47% (for reference, Thor: The Dark World received a 66%, and DC’s Man of Steel earned itself a 56%). Even Marvel fans are not quite so sure of how they feel about the movie, with some praising it for its unique perspective on superhumans, and others doxxing it for being pretentious, Zack Snyder esq schlock.

     However, Eternals provides a fresh take on the superhero mythos. As is the trend with Marvel’s Phase 4, Eternals seeks to develop a unique style and focus on character introspection. At the heart of the film is the dynamic and tragic romance between Ikaris and Sersi. The pair have a long and complex relationship that spans the entirety of their time together on Earth, and Eternals provides this relationship time to be explored. On top of those two are the other Eternals, such as Sprite, Druig, Gilgamesh, Thena and Phastos, and many, many more. Each character gets their own time to shine, though the two hour and thirty-seven minute runtime does not provide an ample length to fully explore each character.

     The biggest issue (or potential strength, depending on how you look at it) is the pacing. The second act of the film drags, while the first act is forced to rush critical details and information about the Eternals and their history together. The third act, however, provides a satisfying climax that brings everything together.

     Eternals, though it may have missed the mark at various points, provides something different for the Marvel Universe… something that the franchise often lacks. Between outstanding cinematography from Chloé Zhao, an incredible soundtrack by Ramin Djawad, and plenty of Marvel fun, Eternals is looking to be one of the longest lasting MCU films, and one that will be rewatched and revisited for years to come. This is a movie that will greatly benefit from time and hindsight. Until then, however, Marvel fans can still rejoice over the introduction of three new characters in the two-post credits scenes.