Eternals Review

PLOT: A select group of immortal men and women called Eternals comes together to battle deadly creatures called the Deviants.

REVIEW: Directly after the success of Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the MCU is back with a new set of heroes to fight the good fight. Eternals tells the tale of a group of superpowered beings sent here to protect the citizens of Earth. The globe-trotting, multi-character adventure directed by Chloe Zhao features a star-studded cast. The Eternals include Gemma Chan as Sersi, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Barry Keoghan as Druig, Ma Dong-Seok as Gilgamesh. Oh, and did I happen to mention Angelina Jolie as Thena and Salma Hayek as Ajak? Well, they’re also part of this large cast of MCU’s next generation. The question is, how well does this new adventure fit into the already packed series of films? Let’s get into it.

For centuries, the Eternals – Godlike immortal men and women created by the ancient Celestials – have protected the citizens of Earth from the monstrous Deviants – Celestial created beasts that wreak havoc as often as they can. Believing that they had rid humanity of the threat of the creatures, Sersi and Sprite soon find they were wrong. Sersi, now living a “human” life with her boyfriend, Dane Whitman (Kit Harington) – and accompanied by Sprite – come face to face with one of them. The discovery brings on a reunion of sorts for the Eternals, who all went their separate ways centuries before. Now, they must band together again to find out why the peaceful existence without the Deviants has ended. Why have these monsters returned? As they seek out the reason for the uproar, they must find the ability to trust each other, as well as themselves, once again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Wi4QWXcjv8&list=PLHJFR5aoDI5c5mXwo83OhP4CICdoXkdKY&index=19

The best thing about Eternals is the sheer beauty on display. After having massive critical success with Nomadland – including a couple of Academy Award wins for her troubles – the director has found a bit of beauty in this sci-fi fantasy adventure. Along with DP Ben Davis, this visually sumptuous feature film manages to create quite the landscape. It’s a beautiful film. Whether it involves battles between monsters and heroes, or a striking image of someone flying too close to the sun, it’s quite a pretty picture here. At times, the CG goes a bit overboard – you know, like a lot of superhero flicks can – but most of the images on display are pretty damn impressive. It’s a bold and bright feature with a few inspired moments spread throughout the film.

One of the most impressive feats of this modern tale is its ability to utilize the entire cast. Each character feels about as important as the other. Even Jolie appears to be fine stepping down and letting others shine. However, the same is not factual for Kit Harington. Playing Sersi’s boyfriend doesn’t lend itself to a ton of screentime. Could it be that the MCU has plans for him in the future? I think it’s a safe bet that’s a big yes. The standouts include young Lia McHugh’s Sprite as a world-weary soul with a secret. Brian Tyree Henry is also terrific, bringing a sense of humor and heart to this world. Harish Patel adds a bit of fun with his friendship with Kingo. And finally, Gemma Chan gives one of the most sincere performances in the film as a woman torn by her present and past. It’s a solid collection of actors who do their best to make this story work.

The components are there to make a fun and engaging superhero flick. However, something is missing. Sure, the look of the film is impressive. As well, there was some serious money spent on the talent involved. Even the score by Ramin Djawadi works well. Yet it’s the script that doesn’t quite thrill. The story and pacing lag heavily. And this didn’t do this film any favors as it travels back and forth through time. With a ton of exposition and a couple of oddly timed comedic moments, and even a quick and unnecessary sex scene, it’s a bit difficult to fully invest in their plight. The ultimate goal and reason for the Deviants return may be slightly unexpected, but it’s just not that interesting. Sure, all this leads to a few twists and turns near the end. Unfortunately, getting to that point is only mildly amusing.

Eternals is a decent flick, but it rarely manages to rise above what we’ve already seen from the MCU. With the visual style here, this could have been a brilliant introduction to this world of these immortal heroes and villains. The ideas presented can be strong, and it was nice to see a slightly different approach to this already crowded superhero genre. Even still, it was difficult to get overly excited about what is essentially a massive budget monster flick with ethereal-looking people trying to stop them. However, this is certain to be a hit. And who knows, with all the introductions out of the way and a couple of revealing post-credit sequences, there are exciting possibilities for the future of the Eternals. Let’s just hope the “Celestials” can come up with something more enjoyable for the sequel. Be warned though, a few too many spoilers giving away information on this one, so avoid reading them if you can.

Eternals

AVERAGE

6
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Source: JoBlo.com

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JimmyO is one of JoBlo.com’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.