76 / 100
Watchable Minutes : This is an incredibly long combic book movie. I think that there’s about 35 minutes of content that could have been cut out to make it a little bit tighter.
Trailer Comparison : This is the basic Marvel trailer. It shows enough to get the audience situated with the new cast of characters, but that’s about it. They usually trailer well, but this one might be the exception. There’s nothing fun or really exciting about it so it comes off as very bland.
Movie or Film : I’ve said it many times, but Marvel movies are always movies. I don’t think they’ll ever achieve film status.
- Run time : 2 hours 37 minutes
- Studio : Marvel
- Director : Chloé Zhao
- Where to Watch : In theaters
For centuries, the Eternals have lived on Earth to protect itss inhabitants from the ancient Deviants, who are failed creations of their shared creator Arishem. After a mission goes awry, the Eternals faith in their leader is shaken and their fellowship is broken. Hundreds of years later, new deviants have been released and the Eternals are reunited in time to learn that there is something sinister lurking in their past.
Eternals was originally slated to debut back in November of 2020 but suffered the same fate as many of the other recent Marvel movies. After being delayed to February 2021, it was finally pushed and released in November 2021. While box office numbers have been a challenge for many movies lately, Eternals seems to be suffering the most out of all the recent Marvel projects. Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals feels bloated and exposition-heavy without enough of the expected level of action that other Marvel movies have trained audiences to expect.
Eternals boasts a laundry list of top tier talent in Gemma Chan (Sersi), Richard Madden (Ikaris), Angelina Jolie (Thena), Salma Hayek (Ajak), Kit Harrington (Dane Whitman), Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo), Lia Hugh (Sprite), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos), Lauren Ridloff (Makkari), Barry Keoghan (Druig), and Don Lee (Gilgamesh). There are definitely some bigger names on this list and some smaller names on this list, so there’s a good mix of new faces for many audience members. However, this cast suffers from its size. There are too many things fighting for the audience’s attention to really give a damn about any one of them. There’s really no substance to latch on to with any one of these characters and they end up being largely one-dimensional. This is a common fate for most comic book characters so it’s really par for the course. The actors themselves almost felt like they were put into a box that was so small that they couldn’t breathe. Each performance felt wooden and routine, not fresh and exciting. A lot of that can be blamed on the writing, but the casting overall felt like a kid in a candy shop going through and picking out all their favorites and expecting them to all play nice just because.
A large majority of the run time is centered around setting up the team relationships. The relationships between each character aren’t necessarily complex, there’s just a lot going on here and Eternals mistakenly gives time for each relationship to be plotted out on screen in a very detailed manner, which is the main contributor to the extra-long run time. Salma Hayek – Ajak – is the leader of this team until she’s not and her supposed lieutenant (Richard Madden – Ikaris) is skipped in succession by one of the technically weaker characters which drove a wedge between the whole squad. Then there’s the odd perpetually young character who doesn’t age (Lia Hugh – Sprite) who is in love with Ikaris but can’t be with him because it’s weird. Oh, and Ikaris is in love with Sersi (Gemma Chan) but after he discovers the secret that Ajak has been hiding, he splits off from her and is MIA for about 5000 years. This allows Sersi to fall in love with Dane Whitman (Kit Harrington) and she questions the ethics of an immortal falling in love with a mortal. There are decisions made by the characters that should have had a lasting impact on their relationships with others but they were brushed aside as if they were nothing after the third act. The rest of the character relationships follow this pattern – being a mile wide but an inch deep with no real development at all.
The background for these clunky relationships and vast quantities of exposition is a largely CGI-riddled mess. Marvel movies have always pushed the envelope with CGI for better or for worse, but this one stuck out as particularly weak. There are so many jarring effects that just feel off. One scene that showed Gilgamesh in a magically adjusted outfit looked like it was straight out of a Snapchat filter (which ironically made a nontrademarked appearance earlier in the movie). And the Deviants looked like they were rubber-coated robot dinosaurs from Horizon Zero Dawn. The weaponry and powers that each Eternal was equipped with were also incredibly basic and uninspired. The movie eventually reveals some details that almost make it ok, but it just comes off as lazy that they have weapons that were just made of light.
Eternals is a necessary entry in the MCU to continue the franchise and push it to new heights, and while Phase 1,2, and 3 certainly had their fair share of duds, Phase 4 doesn’t seem to be starting off quite as strong as the mighty hat-man (Kevin Feige) might have hoped. This will in no way affect the future of the MCU at large, but it will probably force future directors to take the more formulaic approach to get that sweet sweet sequel deal. With weak writing, poor CGI, and a bloated run time, Eternals was doomed from the start and no amount of A-listers or award-winning directors could save it. Oh well, at least Spider-Man : No Way Home is releasing soon and Eternals can take the back seat for a little while.
Side note – The end credit scenes were pretty cool and shows off Starfox and Black Knight with a hint of Blade for careful listeners.