Marvel Studios’ “The Eternals” features an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of “Avengers: Endgame”, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, The Deviants. The outstanding ensemble cast includes Richard Madden as the all-powerful Ikaris, Gemma Chan as humankind-loving Sersi, Kumail Nanjiani as cosmic-powered Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as the super-fast Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as the intelligent inventor Phastos, Salma Hayek as the wise and spiritual leader Ajak, Lia McHugh as the eternally young, old-soul Sprite, Don Lee as the powerful Gilgamesh, Barry Keoghan as aloof loner Druig, and Angelina Jolie as the fierce warrior Thena. Kit Harington was cast as Dane Whitman. Directed by Chloé Zhao, who helmed the critically acclaimed Sundance film “The Rider,” and produced by Kevin Feige, “The Eternals” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 5, 2021.
What We Thought:
I saw Eternals last week and since then I’ve debated on what to say about the film. It’s not unwatchable or anything, but it’s definitely the bottom tier of the MCU. Oddest part is I usually enjoy the first film introducing characters, especially characters that aren’t overly known by non-comic fans. I loved Guardians of the Galaxy so I thought I’d like Eternals because like Guardians they aren’t overly known. I’ll ignore the gender-swapping of half the characters and not allow myself to rage over Kit Harington’s character not being from Massachusetts like he’s supposed to be and just stick to the movie itself.
As for the movie itself, it’s very pretty to look at, but lacks substance. It’s excessively long and doesn’t have much to it. We are introduced to these alien visitors, what the point of them being on Earth is and then jump to current time (MCU timeline). It explains why The Eternals haven’t stepped in during big events (which I wanted answered) and overall gives enough about them, who the bad guys are and the whole point of why they are here. Then there’s a plot twist that shakes it all up and there’s internal conflict in the group. Add in a bunch of CGI visuals and that’s the movie.
With a big ensemble cast like this you know there will be characters who are featured and some who get pushed to the back. Gemma Chan’s Sersi and Richard Madden’s Ikaris are the two frontrunners with a love interest between them and both being pushed to be leaders. Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos and Kumail Nanjiani’s Kingo probably get the next amount of screen time. The two actresses who I can’t figure out why they are even in the movie are Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie. Both are severely wasted in their lackluster roles. Hayek plays the leader Ajak and is completely replaceable. Jolie does a bit more as the warrior Thena, but at one point I had forgotten she was even in the movie as her character is sort of hidden away with another character. There is no reason two big names like that should be cast in these nothing roles.
My biggest issue with the movie is that it feels like a DCEU film. Yeah I’m sure Marvel doesn’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth. There’s very little emotion to the film. I’m not sure if they want us to care about these characters besides the ones who are focused on. Ikaris is just Superman flying through the sky shooting laser beams. He’s even called Superman in the film. Yes I expect CGI in an MCU flick, but this looks like and feels like a DCEU CGI, emotionless and generic movie.
I could go on about Eternals, but you can tell I didn’t really enjoy it. The best way to describe it is meh. It’s just meh. The story is meh. The effects are meh. It’s meh. It’ll make some money because all MCU films do, but the negativity around the film is there for a reason.