This might be the most blank I have ever gone into a Marvel film. I don’t know anything about the Eternals as characters, I have never seen them in any form of media before so to go in with a completely blank slate was refreshing (aside from the post credit scene being spoiled a few weeks ago by an extremely idiotic reporter). But I was familiar with director, Chloe Zhao after her Academy award winning film, Nomadland earlier this year. As well as the incredible and talented cast of Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Brian Tyree Henry, Barry Keoghan, Bill Skarsgard and Kit Harrington.
Eternals tells the story of a group of being sent by Celestials to watch over and protect Earth from Deviants, creatures that are out to wipe out humanity. Each Eternal is given a unique power which can help Earth evolve and unlock the potential of the human race, as they also question their place amongst humans and how to use their powers.
Reviews from critics hadn’t been as overly positive unlike what we were used to with Marvel films, giving this film the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score for a MCU film so far (The percentage comes from how many people have rated it 6/10 or higher), that put my expectations slightly lower, but reviews were saying it was slow and dense, both things I don’t have a problem with, especially when we recently had Dune, which was slow and dense. When it comes to cinema, I don’t think slow is a problem, some of my favourite films can be slow, but as long as there’s enough there to keep you interested. Dune is paced well enough to keep you going, with interesting characters in an interesting world, with enough intrigue, paced well enough to keep you interested. When it’s an over two and a half hour film, it can be tricky to pace and keep it interesting when you aren’t invested in the characters, a weird place to introduce these brand new characters in what didn’t feel like a Marvel Universe film at all. Which isn’t a bad thing, but in this instance it is. The references to the wider MCU are rare, in a similar way to how Venom was, as if it was in a different universe altogether which it might be, with how much we know the multiverse is wide open at the moment.
I don’t think any of the cast are a problem they all do a decent enough job, but it’s with the writing where I have some of the problem. The fact I can’t tell you what happened for most of the film up to the final act is a big area of concern or that I can probably only name 3 or 4 of the characters, which does include the 2 main leads. With 10 characters all part of the group, it was always going to be difficult to give them all ample amount of screen time when we haven’t any of them before, setting them all up with their joint origin, but establishing how they’re all different. A version of this as a show might have been more success where we can give each character an episode, 30-60 minutes to show them all off and getting to know them, before joining them altogether in a film.
Overall, Eternals is certainly ambitious and I can appreciate what it’s trying to do, but doesn’t stick the landing. There will likely be a sequel but with characters I’m not overly worried about, I wouldn’t be upset if we never saw them again, even if the mid and post credit scenes were a step towards a more interesting future for the characters. The film feels like what we could’ve got with Guardians of the Galaxy or what we might have got with Inhumans if it had stayed as a film.
What did you think of Eternals?
I’m hoping to get to Halloween Kills, Antlers or The Card Counter (maybe more than one) this week so be sure to follow on Instagram @floodersfilms or on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest in film news and reviews!