Eternals Review – A Film That’s as Complex as Family


As a whole, Eternals is one of Marvel Studios’ most ambitious solo films to date. Not only is it epic in its scope, but it’s beautifully shot as well. Yet, the potential problem with Eternals lies with the unapologetic way with how much lore it puts on the viewer. Thus, Eternals is a lot of movie. Although it’s similar to Jack Kirby’s original run, the film has multiple stories are fighting for dominance. After all, you have to explain who our heroes are, their mission, and the other beings that intertwine with them. 

As for the story, it’s a mixed bag. Of course, with a movie that’s very bloated and convoluted as this, that’s not that surprising. Some storylines are compelling, such as the mystery surrounding the Eternals mission for Arishem. Then, there are storylines where it’s not as engaging, some of which are spoilers for the movie. Nevertheless, Eternals’ bevy of storylines all come together to be Marvel’s most thought-provoking and thematically dense film yet. It’s to the point where the themes often matter more than anything that’s going on with the story. It’s masterful in how Chloé Zhao’s vision and style are able to bring these complex ideas together with such grace and heart. 

This is probably the “cinema” that directors like Martin Scorsese and Denis Villeneuve were talking about when they were criticizing “Marvel’s formula.” This film is going to be divisive, but Marvel Studios is wise in letting creative auteurs like Chloé Zhao play within the sandbox. It allows the franchise to feel fresh without sacrificing any of the connected storylines. There will be inevitable comparisons between EternalsShang-Chi, and Widow. However, Eternals couldn’t be more different. It doesn’t even feel like a Marvel Studios flick—it’s almost like its own movie. Much of the MCU elements aren’t even in this movie, just certain name drops that were in the trailers. You could take out the Marvel logo, and audiences would think this is an original superhero IP. 

Chloé Zhao has created a film that has the massive scope that Marvel is famous for, but it somehow also feels more intimate than anything else Marvel has done before.

Yet, as thought-provoking as the film is, much of the movie’s fun happens when it focuses more on relationships between our heroes. Marvel has prided itself on creating hero relationships that are engaging and entertaining. That doesn’t change with Eternals. The ensemble has great chemistry, and they all each get their moment to shine. Not to mention, each character has their own story and motivation. Unfortunately, much like the saturation of storylines, some are more engaging than others. At the same time, it’s a little uneven in how much screen time it gives to every character. Not to mention, those who are expecting a glut of superhero sci-fi action may be a bit disappointed. If you love dialogue, you’ll love this movie.

For one thing, Gemma Chan and Richard Madden both nail their roles as Sersi and Ikaris, respectively. Chan brings such a humanistic and gentle performance to Sersi as opposed to Madden’s cold and confident performance as Ikaris. However, both Brian Tyree Henry and Kumail Nanjiani steal the show with their warmth and humor. Lauren Ridloff adds an almost exciting element as well. 

Overall, Eternals is an evocative, emotional, and ambitious superhero epic. Chloé Zhao has created a film that has the massive scope that Marvel is famous for, but it somehow also feels more intimate than anything else Marvel has done before. It has laughs and plenty of surprises and heart to go with the saturated story it’s trying to unpack. Yet, this is not an action-packed superhero flick that a typical Marvel fan would go and see. However, with everything that is going on in the film, fans won’t mind it as much. After all, Eternals has officially blown the lid off of the cosmic side of the MCU. I can’t wait to see how this film influences the future of the MCU.

Rating: 4/5 atoms

Eternals hits theaters on November 5th.

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