As we all know, the end of the world is near. Thanos snapped his fingers and exterminated humanity. This opens up the possibility of future superheroes and parallel galaxies deciding how to save what little is left on the blue globe. Eternals’ fight is not to resurrect human life but to protect it against the evil Deviants. The Eternals, a 10-member team with varying goals and objectives to the Avengers, have one purpose: to protect humanity and guide their evolution. The plot isn’t as straightforward as it seems on paper.
Eternals boasts an all-star star cast and the largest ensemble post-Avengers. Salma Hayek is the spiritual leader Ajak of the group. She is the all-seeing Oracle, who guides her fellow heroes and makes sure they don’t wander. They do stray.
Angelina Jolie plays Thena. She is the most sinister and complex of the Eternals. Her fight with the Evil Deviants isn’t what makes her so interesting, but rather her own mind. Richard Madden plays Ikaris, the Alpha of the group. Lia McHugh portrays Sprite, a woman trapped within a girl’s body. The other Eternals, Kingo (Kumail Nagani), Gilgamesh(Don Lee), Phastos (19th century), Phastos (20th century), Phastos (16th century), Makkari (18th century), Druig (17th Century), and Sersi (15thcentury) – all provide comic relief, love story and variety to this Marvel adventure.
Eternals runs for more than two and a half hours. This is only second to Avengers: Endgame’s almost three-hour running time. It’s not the length that is the problem, but Chloe Zhao, director of Eternals, struggle to include as many backstories as possible and subplots to give the A-list star her due. Some characters get more screen time, even though they are less interesting than others. While we see Sersi, Ikaris and Phastos pondering over their broken relationship, Makkari or Phastos aren’t allowed enough screen time to share their past-life experiences.
Eternals is visually stunning. Eternals is visually stunning. The action scenes, particularly the opening montage are spectacularly choreographed. The film fails to build characters and subplots you are interested in.
Chloe Zhao’s attempts to tick diversity and inclusion boxes seem a little contrived. We support gay superheroes, and it’s time for LGBTQ representation to feel natural in MCU movies. Yet, Phastos’ love story of him and his partner doesn’t get the screentime it deserves.
Eternals attempts to be everything, but ultimately ends up being very close to nothing. It’s worse when you compare Eternals to Avengers. There are a few references to Avengers, but you can’t help but smile every time you hear it.
Eternals would have been a success if it had spent as much time in its writing room as in the VFX studio. Eternals is not the Marvel movie, so don’t expect too much. You might have a good time. Eternals is home to an army of superheroes, but not one that’s worth cheering for. Perhaps next time.