The latest movie to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Eternals” was released on Nov. 5. This is Marvel’s most diverse cast featuring Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Angelina Jolie and many more.
The film starts off thousands of years ago when the Eternals first meet each other and are sent to Earth by an all-powerful Celestial named Arishem in order to protect mankind from deviants. The immortal beings are Sersi, Irakis, Thena, Ajak, Kingo, Sprite, Phastos, Makkari, Druig and Gilgamesh. Each Eternal has a superpower that helps them destroy the magical deviant creatures. Some of those include mind control, super speed, healing, laser eyes, flying and matter transformation. As the years go on, they are able to destroy all of the deviants. After completing their mission and being instructed not to interfere with human conflict, the leader Ajak, played by Hayek, allows them to live whatever life they desire on Earth.
A couple thousand years later, a global earthquake disrupts the planet causing the protagonist, Chan’s Sersi, to become concerned. As she walks home from her job as a professor, a deviant attacks her and Sprite, played by Lia McHugh. This is the catalyst for the Eternals to retunite. Once reunited, they discover that they were misled about the real purpose of their mission on Earth after thousands of years, which causes identity crises, betrayal and morally gray characters to erupt.
The most vibrant Eternals that stole the show were Kingo, Karun and Druig, portrayed by Nanjiani, Harish Patel and Barry Keoghan respectively. They offered light humor, genuine depth and drew in the audience’s continuous attention. Most of the other characters did not leave a lasting impression and left the audience unamused or bored. Kingo and Karun’s witty one-liners were able to ground the heavy moments of the film in a way no other characters could.
The film was also very dialogue and plot heavy. Most of the movie was a big explanation on why they are here on Earth and trying to find each other again, instead of a fast-paced journey like other Marvel stories.
The best part of the plot was the romantic couples that were demonstrated throughout the film.
Sersi and Irakis, played by Madden, fall in love over time as they protect Earth. However, their relationship showed little connection compared to Druig and Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari, and Thena and Gilgamesh, portrayed by Jolie and Ma Dong-seok. While both relationships were only shown for a brief time, their love for each other far outweighed Sersi and Irakis’s. When both Driug and Makkari, and Thena and Gilgamesh’s relationships were shown, it created dimensions to the characters that would have never been revealed otherwise. For example, Druig’s compassion and Thena’s vulnerability were only demonstrated through their partners, while Sersi and Irakis’s relationship added nothing to their overall character arcs.
“Eternals” was two hours and 36 minutes long, making it the second longest Marvel film, and it was dragged on more than it needed to be. Compared to previous Marvel movies, “Eternals” relied less on comedic characters or action sequences and more on suspense and dialogue. The moments that the audience did laugh were incited by Kingo and Karun. Having only two characters that were able to keep things light made the movie feel heavy, as the director Chole Zhao explored themes of immorality and impending doom.
When the big action sequences were shown, they were grand and magnificent; however, not in the typical Marvel style. The action scenes resembled more of a sci-fi film than a superhero movie; and there were only approximately four action scenes in an almost three hour-long movie.
Zhao made “Eternals” very plot heavy. This is the first movie any of these characters were shown in the MCU, therefore more than half of the film you are getting to know them all. Considering there are 10 eternals shown, it is hard to connect and root for them the whole time with the different side plots happening. While this movie was long and detailed, “Eternals” will be a very important film for the future of the MCU, as it is the beginning of a new group of superheroes with diverse representation.
“It was such a big moment for me to play not just a deaf superhero but also a deaf, Black, Mexican, female superhero,” Ridloff stated in Refinery29. The film not only portrays Marvel’s first deaf superhero but also their first openly gay superhero, Phastos, played by Brian Tyree Henry.
When asked about it, Zhao said “I’m just — I’m happy for Brian, Happy for everyone involved. And happy for all the people who are going to see this. You know, people who not necessarily [are] like Brian, but just feel a moment of true human connection and it just happens to be of the same sex.”
In summary, “Eternals” provided Marvel fans to gear up for the direction of the next phase; however, it was not the typical fun action flick. Therefore, if you are not a superfan, this may not be for you. However, if you want a star studded sci-fi movie, this might be a good one to add to your list.