On November 5th, 2021, Marvel released their newest addition to the MCU, Eternals. The film is about a group of immortals known as the “Eternals,” who are beings sent to Earth by the all-powerful celestials to protect humanity from creatures known as deviants. A few thousand years after the Eternals thought they got rid of all the deviants, they suddenly reemerge. This forces the Eternals to reunite so they can defeat the deviants once and for all. I have mixed feelings about this movie and am here to share my thoughts. However, if you have not seen Eternals I will say there are going to be spoilers, so I suggest you go see the film for yourself and form your own opinion before reading this article. Now, without further ado, let’s get into this review!
One of Eternals greatest strengths and weaknesses (we’ll get back to that last part in a bit) was its characters. They’re all very distinct with their own unique and interesting powers and views on the issue at hand and humanity as a whole. The different kinds of representation were also lovely to see, and I’m glad that a big company like Marvel is getting more diverse (better late than never I suppose). I also enjoyed the general look of the movie, with there being some great shots. Eternals also didn’t rely on a green screen too much, and shooting occurred all around the world. I also give Eternals props for being the most “different,” out of any MCU movie, and I appreciate it for taking risks and doing something out of the ordinary.
One of the things that bugged me was the horrendous pacing. There are these flashbacks throughout the movie that show what the Eternals were up to throughout history. I guess these flashbacks are necessary to establish these characters before we meet them and what their quirks are, but the problem lies in the fact that these scenes are so looooong. I thought this messed up the flow of the movie, making it feel disconnected at certain points. However, the biggest flaw in Eternals is that it was too ambitious for a two-hour and thirty-seven-minute standalone movie that’s only meant to be an introduction to these characters. The following paragraphs are going to break down what was going on, and how these specific aspects of the movie played a part in Eternal’s downfall.
Remember what I said about the characters? Well, they’re all so peculiar that I’m going to dedicate two paragraphs to talk about how strange they all are. During the opening scene, you get to see a full shot of all the Eternals, and you find out there are ten Eternals, which is A LOT of characters to flesh out, (especially considering they still need a climax where they can all fight the big bad together despite there only being two hours and thirty-seven minutes of run-time). As soon as the opening scene finished, my first thought was that we weren’t going to get to know too much about these characters due to the sheer amount of them, and I was right. If I were to ask a fellow viewer to list at least three of Makkari’s personality traits, my request would likely return unfulfilled. In short, there wasn’t enough time to doubtlessly understand her character, as the time she was given, was not used very wisely.
Subplots and Other Stuff
What’s even worse is that all the Eternals (excluding Ikaris and Sersi, but we’ll get to that) have very interesting personalities, subplots, and dynamics and it’s a shame that we don’t really get to explore any of them too much. Some subplots even hindered us from getting to know other characters as well. For example, due to the fact we spent so much time with Druig in the rainforest, we had to rush meeting Phastos and Makkari. Phastos even had a very tiny arc about how the technology he made was hurting humanity rather than helping it, but we only spent like five minutes on it. We gotta get to the climax and the big reveal about how Ikaris and Sprite are terrible people as soon as possible, right? I also wanted to see more of the dynamics between the Eternals as well. More Druig and Makkari? Yes please. There were a lot of wholesome moments between Gilgamesh and Theena, along with all the moments of Ajas and the rest of the Eternals which were so heartwarming, but we didn’t get to see much of that. Instead, they focused a lot on Sersi and Ikaris’s “romance,” and oh boy…
Sersi & Ikaris Join the League of Bad Marvel Romances
I don’t think I’m an expert on romance, but their relationship was so bland. They just had no chemistry to speak of. I feel the reason for this is just because both characters are kind of drab compared to everyone else. I would be lying if I thought Sersi wasn’t the most qualified to lead the Eternals’ after Ajas’s death, but Sersi is just a boring protagonist. The only things I know about her is that she’s a teacher, a nice person, and likes going on her phone. That’s it. The same goes for Ikaris, who was even more dull, even when he became a Twist Villain™. We don’t even know what Ikaris was doing before the events in London occurred at the beginning of the movie. I know they approached the romance angle so the betrayal would hurt more, but was it worth it?
What I Think Eternals Should’ve Done
The scope of Eternals is much larger than any other Marvel standalone movie. Obviously, the fate of the world is a common threat in these kinds of movies, but it feels bigger with the celestials, immortals, all the stuff that Eternals is trying to set up, and just the heavy topic of what the Eternals think about Humanity, to the point where the initial plot about stopping the deviants feels small in comparison. This kind of reminds me of Guardians of the Galaxy, which definitely played a big part in expanding the MCU into what it is today, with it introducing aliens, celestials, and actually giving us quite a bit of information about Thanos. However, GoTG didn’t focus too much on these things, and instead chose to focus on the individual characters and their dynamics, resulting in all this new lore not being too hard to swallow. Eternals, however, was just too much for even an almost three-hour movie to handle. This is why I and many others think it would’ve worked so much better as a Disney Plus Show. This way, we would’ve had time to get to know everyone in the cast and their personal dynamics, and it wouldn’t have felt rushed or anything (perhaps each episode could be focused on an individual Eternal?). The main villain of this hypothetical TV show should’ve also been the deviants, which I feel were underutilized in the actual film. Then, a movie could’ve come out where all the Eternals’ personalities are established from the get-go, and then they could all save humanity from the celestial at the core of the Earth.
Since I had a lot of thoughts on Eternals, I couldn’t even get through all of them (but those thoughts were just small nitpicks in the grand scheme of things), although, all those opinions made this review extremely hard to write. However, should we write Eternals off? Absolutely not. I’m definitely still interested in whatever is going on with Dave and his family history. Since the Eternals also seem to be split up by the end of the movie, I have high hopes we’re going to get to see more of their colourful personalities in the upcoming films. I also think Chloé Zhao is a great director, and people that are good at their jobs will learn from their mistakes. If you liked Eternals that’s great though, (because I certainly wanted to. Although I didn’t think Eternals was that good, so I’m going to give a final rating of 5.2/10, and I don’t really want to watch it again.