Review: Eternals

Eternals is the latest Marvel movie to grace the big screen. Like most introductory films in the MCU, Eternals serves as an origin story and a film needed to push the bigger MCU storyline forward – it’s helpful this film takes place in the present as well as the past.

The story is an easy one to follow – A group of people with superpowers called Eternals are sent to earth by the Celestial Arishem to protect the planet from a race of aliens known as deviants. After defeating them, the Eternals stay on earth waiting to hear from Arishem when they can return to their home planet Olympia. In present day, the deviants have returned after thousands of years. Sersi (Gemma Chan) and Sprite (Lia McHugh) are attacked in London by a deviant and saved by Ikaris (Richard Madden). This attack leads to Sersi getting the Eternals back together to rid the earth the deviants one more time.

During the flashback scenes, we learn how the Eternals got to be who they are and why they’re scattered across the globe. Those scenes are very entertaining and give context to the present day Eternals, especially Thena (Angelina Jolie) and Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry).

As the Eternals regroup, they learn there is more to their initial mission than they realized and they have to come together to prevent an extinction level event known as the emergence.

Eternals does its best to explain why these super-powered beings never intervened during Loki’s invasion in Avengers, Ultron attempting to destroy the planet in Age of Ultron, or Thanos snapping half the universe into existence in Infinity War.  It’s like one of those lies your uncle tells you about the time he dunked on Michael Jordan during a pickup game. You can’t prove it’s not true, so you just nod and smile.

Even with the flimsy explanation, the film is at its best when it shows the Eternals living in the past and their impact on different cultures and on present day earth.

The present day story focuses on the band getting back together and fighting deviants. If the film focused more on the group being men/women out of time would’ve been a more interesting story than the usual “superheroes save the world” plot we’ve seen over the past ten years. The scenes with the Eternals trying to disguise the fact that they’ve been on earth for 7,000 years is when the film really feels alive. They love humans and desperately want to be a part of a world they don’t belong in – those are the moments with real heart.

The story starts a little slow (you have to explain these little known characters) but once the Eternals reunite, the film takes off running and never looks back. The story is part action film, part romance, and part superhero comedy. To no The start studded cast, led by Gemma Chan, is amazing and the kind of ensemble cast that’s perfect for a Marvel film.

Academy Award sinner Chloe Zhao decided not to use green screen and shot a lot of her film on location. This was fantastic decisions that lead to her making one of the best looking Marvel films. It’s a visually stunning masterpiece that has a beautiful blend of CGI and a practical set.

Eternals is Marvel’s most character driven movie. It has all the action and laser eyes you’d expect from a superhero film, but at its core, it’s a film about people and the power of love. The film’s final act is cluttered with explosions and splashy action scenes. Underneath that is the character’s motivations that’s what makes the film so endearing. There is a bold story arc in the third act that makes the film and its characters more interesting in that moment than when the film first started. Eternals may not be everyone’s favorite Marvel film, but it’s one of the bravest films they’ve made and it sets up the next phase of Marvel films.

Grade: B-