Eternals (2021) Review

Eternals' Poster Offers First Glimpse of New Super Heroes | Marvel

You can’t fault Marvel for changing the scope and ambition of their stories. Not content with stories which span galaxies and time, we now we have immortal creatures who are tied to the creation of the universe itself, including a battle for our very existence which has raged for centuries.

That scope continues with the casting. Angelina Jolie headlines a cast which also includes Salma Hayek on veteran duty to assist up and comers like Gemma Chan, Richard Madden and Brian Tyree Henry. In total the Eternals are nine characters and the credit of director Chloe Zhao, they do feel like distinct and interesting characters with plenty of potential.

Eternals' is the Lowest Rated Film in the MCU - Variety

Their traits range from reluctant leaders, powerful beings with god-complexes, a technology wiz who feels the guilt of influencing human weaponry and a warrior who is betrayed by her own memories. There is scope here for some fantastic stories and great development of characters. Each of them get their moment, be it a scene or at least a key piece of dialogue which quickly summarises their intention, feelings and motivations. Although this is also part of the key problems with the film.

Along that same trail is the wider story. This is a story of creation and how humans have been guided by these immortal beings but as the film progresses, our heroes discover that what they have been told by their celestial masters may not be the truth, right down to their very identities. The film dips into key points in history, explaining their happenings using the Eternals, while other scenes are galactic recreations, playing out as an epic space opera. Add to this some interesting villains, one with aa particular interesting arc and motivation, and you get a decent amount of action too. Like the individual characters, there is a great story here, with plenty of potential to develop from and build into a sci-fi/superhero epic.

Eternals Director Chloe Zhao Pitched Marvel Using Stills From Denis  Villeneuve Movies

However, both the characters and the main plot are rushed to fit the run-time. Arguably, with proper development and all the sub-plots of the Eternals themselves (not to mention Kit Harrington’s side-lined supporting role) there is enough for at least two movies here. Instead, we get a very condensed and under-served story, trying to serve too many purposes in so little time. It comes to something when both Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie feel like under-used supporting characters, especially when the latter has one of the best individual arcs.

Of course, with any Marvel movie, the story is building to all the important, action-packed third act and luckily, Eternals is no different. After the many different films the studio has created, it has this aspect of their franchise down to a fine art. The finale is staged really well and the action showcases the superpowers of each hero perfectly. It feels epic with grand stakes which is exactly what you want from they way the preceding events have been built.

Eternals (2021) - IMDb

Unfortunately, you can’t shake the feeling that Eternals is too preoccupied with looking ahead. Marvel have suffered from sequel baiting before but this suffers from it badly. This movie feels very much like a “first part” or even a pilot for the Eternal series, introducing enough to get us interested but leaving some of the better material for later stories. The credits end with Eternals will return but from the cliff-hanger ending and the unresolved aspects to the story, this seemed obvious anyway.

Overall, Eternals is grand in scope and ambition and has so much to offer. Great characters with distinct and interesting arcs while the main plot is as epic as you’d want from the movie. Unfortunately, it tries to do too much with too little time and becomes a rush to the end. The action-packed finale makes up for this somewhat but the sequel bait ending will infuriate some.

Rating – 3.5

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

Eternals Currently The Lowest Rated Marvel Movie on Rotten Tomatoes -  Disneyland News Today

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