Eternals Review: Marvel Film is a Perplexing Epic
The Marvel Universe is full of wonderous world and characters. While many are familiar with Spider-Man and the X-Men and their role in the world, others such as Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy expand the universe to new and extraordinary areas. Among these otherworldly characters are beings known as Eternals. Created by legendary creator Jack Kirby, the Eternals are group of cosmic beings who deal with foes and conflict that shake the fabrics of the Marvel universe. This team are not the most well-known characters in Marvel’s vast alumni, but that may change as this group are the latest to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in latest film Eternals.
Directed by Chloe Zhao, the films centers on Ikaris (Richard Madden) and Sersi (Gemma Chan) who must reunite their fellow Eternals in order to stop the Emergence and the Eternals’ sworn enemies the Deviants. The film was originally slated to hit theaters on November 2020, but due to unseen circumstances the movie was delayed and eventually was set to arrive on the big screen a year later. The movie promised to change the very foundation of the MCU, and it certainly had the potential to be a grandiose blockbuster. After seeing the next chapter in Phase 4 for myself, there is no doubt in this Film Adventurer’s mind that Eternals was a bold, but conflicting, experience to endure.
Eternals promised a grand odyssey and in some ways it did deliver. The plot was not the easiest thing to get into due its cut and dry structure. However, as things played out the plot became more compelling and the dramatic nature behind the conflict brought something different to both Marvel and superhero movies in general. There was indeed a good story in Eternals, however this grand epic loses its allure due to its poor direction. While many of its ideas are great in theory, the plot's execution was sorely lacking to the point where it was difficult to grasp the plot’s point. Furthermore, the story relied heavily on exposition which took away from certain moments in the story. All of this culminated in a finale that was exciting and had some surprises, but ultimately was ineffective due to the convoluted direction surrounding this cosmic tale.
This conflicting direction was also evident in the cast. The movie featured an impressive ensemble as the Eternals were just as good individuals as they were a team. Along with Ikaris other characters like Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) and Thena (Angelina Jolie) stood out due to their compelling demeanor and captivating performances, while the group itself had good chemistry with several interactions between the characters feeling natural. The issue was not in the cast itself but rather in the characters' development. Between characters' unspecified roles, progression from the likes of Sersi and Ikaris was questionable at best and drastically changed as the movie went along. When it came to supporting players, Ajak (Salma Hayek) was decent while Dane Whitman (Kit Harrington) showed a lot of promise in the grander scheme of the MCU. Lastly was the villains, the Deviants, who did not add much to the film. While Kro (Bill Skarsgard) showed potential he became an afterthought thanks to the perplexing direction seen in this super powered cast.
As spectacles go, Eternals was a tolerable experience. Some of the effects clashed with the cinematography which led to muddled delivery in certain scenes, but the visuals were sound in concept and worked for the movie’s otherworldly tone. In the case of action, the film had its moments. Some sequences had creative moments and, overall, the action felt appropriate for the superhero genre. Granted there were not many action scenes but in this less was indeed more. In the matter of music, the score by Ramin Djawadi was decent when it came to capturing the film’s themes, but it left little impression on the overall presentation-which was unfortunate as Djawadi is one of the best composers in the business today.
There was so much potential in Eternals. Between the story’s compelling ideas and the cast’s comradery, this film had the makings of being one of Marvel’s best. However due to inconsistent direction, this movie was conflicting to say the least to the point where it left this Film Adventurer irritated and disappointed. Eternals is by no means the worse film to grace the MCU, nor is it among the worst in the genre, but the issues surrounding this movie are too glaring to ignore and it left this Marvel epic a problematic entry of universal proportions.