TL;DR – Not bad, not great, but a very okay origin story
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to see this film
Eternals Review –
We are at an interesting point in Marvel/Disney’s grand experiment in the form of the MCU. Because after 30-odd films and other entertainment productions, Phase 4 has brought us back to the start thanks to the fallout of Endgame. Sequels have given way to origin stories again. Well, today, we dive into the next origin after Shang-Chi, telling a story of people who have been there since the start but whom we are just meeting now.
So to set the scene, at the start of the universe, the great Celestials created life across the galaxy. But soon, creatures called evolved called Deviants that hunted down life. In response, the Celestials called together the Eternals and sent them across the galaxy to protect planets full of life. Ajak (Salma Hayek) the leader and link to the Celestials, Sersi (Gemma Chan), who can change matter, Ikaris (Richard Madden), who can fly, Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), who shoots energy from their hands, Sprite (Lia McHugh) who can project illusions, Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) who is a great inventor, Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) who can run so fast, Gilgamesh (Don Lee) with mighty fists, Thena (Angelina Jolie) who can create bladed weapons, and Druig (Barry Keoghan) who can control minds. They arrived at the shores of Mesopotamia and entered the fight to protect life. Today, Sersi is a teacher at the Natural History Museum in London. When a global earthquake hits, everyone realises that something is going very wrong.
While there has been a big mix of how people have responded to Eternals, I would call it ambitious but flawed. Honesty, Eternals has the unenviable task of introducing a whole new team of heroes, justifying why we have not seen them so far, while also dramatically expanding the lore around the celestial aspects of the MCU, and then finally being a good story in its own right. To be frank, it does not succeed on all these factors, but I give it points for trying.
One area where the film shines is in its visual presentation. Part of this comes from the film jumping across the globe, so there is always somewhere new to explore. Also, as an Australian, this was one of the best fake Australia’s that I have seen. Most scenes are visually interesting, which helps when the story is not quite there. Not every action scene lands, primarily due to the enemies being very forgettable, but that was not a deal-breaker.
The next thing that works is the casting, which has always been one of Marvel’s solid suits but more so here. Gemma Chan is a lot of fun in this film, they work well as its emotional heart, and I am glad they gave her more to do that in Captain Marvel. Salma Hayek works so well as the team leader that it is sad that we don’t get to see a lot of her in the film. Then Kit Harington is an absolute delight, and I forgot how good his smoulder is. The comedic heart of the film is the duo of Harish Patel and Kumail Nanjiani, whose every moment on the screen is a delight. Finally, Angelina Jolie is all class in every moment she is on screen, treating every moment as necessary even if it is a silly comic film.
However, while this is an ambitious film, it is also a deeply flawed one. The first issue comes from the narrative. The story is both very predictable and completely bloated. For example, from the second Ikaris arrives in London, I knew complete how his story would end. It also struggles in juggling its many characters, with people like Barry Keoghan being relegated to the background. It also feels that it is spending too much time setting up the future rather than being a good film in its own right. Finally, like many Phase 4 properties, it suffers from the 3rd Act over-action.
In the end, do we recommend Eternals? Overall, I would say yes, with a but. When it works, it works, but there is a lot you have to sit through to get to those points. If you disengage with this film, you won’t find yourself reconnecting with it. If you liked Eternals, I would recommend to you Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Eternals
Directed by – Chloé Zhao
Story by – Ryan Firpo & Kaz Firpo
Screenplay by – Chloé Zhao, Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo & Kaz Firpo
Based on – Eternals by Jack Kirby
Music by – Ramin Djawadi
Cinematography by – Ben Davis
Edited by – Craig Wood & Dylan Tichenor
Production/Distribution Companies – Marvel Studios & Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Starring – Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Harish Patel, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Bill Skarsgård, David Kaye, Haaz Sleiman, Esai Daniel Cross, Zain Al Rafeea, Harry Styles, Patton Oswalt & Mahershala Ali
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13