Eternals - Theatrical ReviewOverview -
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is breathing life into the superhero world with the Eternals that brings a new phase and bigger world after the death of Thanos that brought everyone back to normal life. This new Avengers-like team has all the powers but less of the personality as those iconic characters we enjoyed for the last twenty films. With some great, stunning visuals and with a couple of new characters that are worth following, for now, Eternals' long runtime and slow pacing bogs down the overall entertainment value that past MCU films have gotten right over the past decade. That being said, there are some excellent elements that set up a big new story arc that will shape the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the next few years, and it will be a lot of fun to explore some of these newer characters, even if this new film feels like a sloth moving through the woods. Recommended for Fans.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
The Eternals are a group of individuals with amazing supernatural abilities, much like Shazam! in the DCU where his superhero counterparts all have one big superpower, whether it be super speed, strength, mind-control, and more. These Eternals were created by Celestials, which are god-like figures looking over the universe. The Eternals were sent to Earth thousands of years ago to protect humanity from Deviants, strange dragon-like monsters who want to kill all the humans. Throughout the ages, the Eternals would help and save the people and it was thought that all the Deviants were dead, but after Thanos turned to dust, the Eternals were alerted and Deviants started showing back up, making their presence known to the modern world. These immortal beings have been living their lives in various ways over many centuries and must now team up back together for this looming threat.
Marvel Studios and Marvel movie maestro Kevin Feige got director Chloe Zhao to direct this big epic Marvel film. Most recently her last film won all the Oscars with Nomadland. Zhao's experience is phenomenal behind the camera but hasn't yet had the big scope of a story with so many characters and large action sequences under her belt. Zhao's use of the camera and the amazing artistic eye do some powerful and amazing things, revealing some great-looking action bits and reveals of major plot points. The issue was mainly its pacing and weaving a highly entertaining story with so many characters. There are flashes of that famous Marvel comedy that mixes well with the seriousness of the situation, but it doesn't happen often and only comes from really one character, which is Kumail Nanjiani's performance of Kingo.
Other than this, the dialogue and characters play it pensive for all of its 156-minute runtime. What worked so well with the first couple of phases of Marvel was that those beginning movies featured solo character films that introduced each character in a great way, which led to the later big team-ups. With Eternals, twelve characters are introduced, and with the exception of a few, they're hardly given the proper amount of screen time for the audience to really connect or fall in love with to really care enough whether they stay or go.
So Act I serves as an origin story of sorts, telling the expansive nature of the Eternals of Celestials, which leads into ACT II of getting the band back together, culminating into that famous MCU action sequence where everyone battles. The unfortunate thing here is that only a couple of characters are really worth paying attention to, which again is Nanjiani's Kingo, whose superpower is shooting laser bullets from his fingers. His backstory of being a famous actor through the ages is hilarious and the bright spot of the movie, turning meta a few times. Phastos, played by Brian Tyree Henry is also one to follow. He is a super-genius who invents items to further along with humanity and is also the first gay superhero in the MCU. It's a wonderful story to see unfold on screen and done brilliantly.
Other than this, it's more or less a big Game Of Thrones reunion with the oldest Stark son, the bastard John Snow, the main character named Sersi, and music composed by Ramin Djawadi (composer of Game Of Thrones). All jokes aside, there are some very good character elements with everyone, with some good struggle and transformations, but either they don't have enough screen time or it's played out in such a serious way that there wasn't any room for wit, charm or genuine fun, and that's what makes a movie in the MCU great. There are a couple of twists, but they could be seen coming miles away, void of any real shock or surprise.
It's an interesting setup for the future of the MCU, especially during its two stingers in the end credits that reveal where the whole Marvel franchise might be going. Unfortunately as of right now, only a couple of these characters conjure up strong feelings of attachment, possibly due to none of them having one of those "come-together" moments of teaming up and fighting the villains as the Avengers did. That being said, it was funny to hear on multiple occasions these characters reference superheroes in the DCU, which might make some fan-theory message boards ripe with a Marvel/DC crossover. This Eternals movie has issues, mainly being overtly long and not navigating the numerous characters in an intriguing or fun way, but the overall inclusion of different communities and people is outstanding, along with what could be a great setup for future films. Ultimately this one really is for the hardcore of MCU fans who need a fix before Spider-Man swings back onto screens. Recommended For Fans!
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