Eternals is the latest Marvel film to hit theaters and it’s really been hyped as a very different entry in the series. It’s introducing a whole lot of new lore, characters, etc. It ends up being a fun adventure. The climax starts getting a little close to the point where I want to say it would start attracting some attention from the other Marvel heroes but it holds itself back just enough where I can believe that nobody showed up. In real time it wasn’t all that long before the event ended after all. It’s not quite the smash success I would consider Shang Chi to be but there’s a lot of interesting plots you can continue from this.
The movie starts by explaining that the Celestials are the ones who created the universe and they send beings known as Eternals down to planets in order to protect the life there. 10 Eternals were sent to Earth to protect it and they have done so for 7000 years. They are only to fight when creatures known as Deviants appear. Otherwise they are supposed to ignore all other conflicts and villains so that humans can solve their own problems. Well, the Deviants have returned so the Eternals must band together to fight them off one last time. After such a long period of time will they still have their fighting skills? Also, the Deviants appear to have grown much more powerful this time around.
In quite a lot of ways Eternals feels more like a DC film than Marvel. It has a darker color pallet than the usual adventures and these heroes are all based on gods due to the fact that Sprite would tell tales of their exploits over the last 7000 years. There is a body count here and the film can even get a bit dark at times at least with some themes even if the film itself I would consider light hearted. The team itself is even built like the Justice League to the point where you immediately see Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash in some of the characters. There are even 2 DC references as Superman and Alfred are brought up. It’s certainly a fun change of pace there and the Deviants are like something out of Apocalypse.
Throughout the film, the question is brought up on if these Eternals should have helped humanity. My response to that is of course they should have. There’s a world of difference between doing nothing to help the humans and doing everything for them. I’d say it’s clear that they had to help and intervene throughout the years and their inaction would make them appear to be villains after a while. There is a lot of debate on that within the film of course so you’ll get to see their discussions on it. Usually the side for non-action just uses their orders as an excuse though.
The film’s definitely more on the dialogue heavy side but there are enough fights sprinkled in throughout the film where I’d say it still earns the action title. The creatures often don’t seem to be much of a threat to these heroes but there is one in particular that is an exception to this. Still, the movie has solid special effects to show off the heroes’ abilities. The best fight in the film is easily the battle by the Beach. I can’t say much more than that but it’s also very much like a Justice League kind of moment and it’s handled really well. I’d definitely have been on board with more big action scenes like that. Fights against monsters are cool and all but battling other metahumans is even better.
The effects for the Celestial also looks really good and you can see the size of that guy well. He would make for a very imposing threat in the future. Perhaps the next Thanos although I’d like to have him shrink for the actual battle so we can get some hand to hand in there. For the soundtrack, it’s decent. I wouldn’t say there are any tracks that stand out a whole lot. At most I would say the Bollywood theme for when Kingo was starring in the movie was catchy. Beyond that there is quite a lot of variety in the music so you’ll probably be able to find at least one track that you like.
Where the film is a bit weaker is that the pacing can be really slow at times and it is leaning a lot more into the romance angle than other films. There are at least 3 main romance plots here. Sersi gets two romance plots here, one in the past with Ikaris and one in the present with Dane. None of them work all that well. The first one you can at least buy into a bit because they knew each other for so long and while there was a huge gap before the second one, I don’t think she ever properly thought of an answer on how you can make the relationship work when she’s an immortal and the other guy is a human. I mean that’s bound to get a little tricky after some years.
Then you have Sprite who wants some romance but is doomed to be an Eternal who looks like a child. It’s almost like a curse to her because she will never quite grow up and it does remind you that being immortal on its own is not always a fun thing. She was the worst member of the group to be honest. Her sarcastic nature could be good at times and she has her share of good moments but at the end of the day her willpower isn’t great and she causes a lot of issues.
As for Phastos, he’s the inventor of the group and has grown tired of participating with the group. He regrets helping humanity improve their technology now that it has been used for warfare. Ultimately his resistance doesn’t last very long as the team has to get the job done and he does have a family to protect. His subplot on being at home was really just there to include some PC elements to the film and I could have done without it. The scenes don’t add anything to the film except to yell to the audience about representation. Marvel had mostly stayed away from this before so it’s a shame that this bridge had to be crossed. It’s a short scene in the grand scheme of things but it wasn’t a good one.
As for Sersi, she’s a good character. At the very least I was glad she didn’t run back to Ikaris when he showed up since ghosting her for 2000 years just seems extremely petty. Honestly I would have liked her to have even been a bit more antagonistic to him given what had happened. She keeps a cool head throughout though and while her powers aren’t very offensive based, she is able to use them in a variety of ways which is good as a support fighter. Ultimately she makes the right decisions throughout the film as an Eternal.
Ikaris certainly got a lot of the promotional material here as the guy has a similar powerset to Superman which is even brought up in the film. He’s very much one of those guys who puts following orders above everything else. I tend to always have issues with those kinds of characters and Ikaris is no exception. Friends and family have to come before orders, same with justice itself. Ikaris fights for what he believes in during the film but the movie points out that this can easily be a flaw.
Then you have Kingo who is one of the more comedic characters in the film. I like how he found such purpose in his life while being away from the Eternals though. The guy had his hobby and turned that into a career passion. His scenes were always some of the most entertaining ones throughout the film. From all of the Eternals, I would trust him the most to have my back. He has his goofy side but steps up when needed.
Makkari is the speedster of the group and she can’t speak verbally but knows sign language. It’s a fairly unique situation for a superhero to be in and the fact that the rest of the fighters learned sign language speaks to their comradery. Her speed is quite impressive and I would say it’s the best showing in the MCU. If not for using the absolute worst speed technique: “endlessly running in a circle so the villain can take you out” she would have really been dominating most of the characters. For good reason she is excused from most battle scenes since they would be over in a flash. Her raw power seems fairly good as well given that she was dealing damage with her attacks. Compared to the rest of the Eternals I felt like she didn’t get to do a whole lot but she was fun.
Druig is one of the more morally dubious members of the group. He has telepathy though so that makes sense as fighters with that ability are usually tempted rather easily. See, he can not only read minds but control them so Druig makes the case that he could end all war on the planet with relative ease. It is true but taking away free will would instantly make him a villain. He was right that Ajak was taking a truly awful approach to the whole thing and his initial solution was correct. Mind controlling someone to temporarily stop a fight is fine. There’s nothing morally dubious about forcing someone to stop before they murder someone else. It only goes too far when you keep the control over them past that point and Ajak ruled the place with such an iron will that he just kept escalating his side as well.
I can’t say I would trust Druig very much compared with the rest. As for Ajak, well she’s the leader but like Ikaris she is big on following the rules even when they are the wrong ones which is an issue. She would certainly not rank as one of the more likable Eternals especially as we learn more and more about her during the movie.
Gilgamesh certainly has a powerful name. Any fan of Fate will understand why this guy gets so much hype and in general you’ll get a lot of Fate Go flashbacks here with part of the film taking place in Mesopotamia. He’s more laidback than the rest of the characters and seems to be one of the most powerful Eternals. He seems to think he is the strongest although Ikaris could likely defeat him. Gilgamesh is a nice guy who looks after Thena and just seems more ready to fight for justice when needed. His character brought a fun dynamic to the mix.
As for Thena, well she’s definitely one of the characters who really likes to fight. She gets a ton of hype throughout and while I would say she doesn’t always live up to it, (Her win record in the film is not very good to say the least) she always gets back up for round 2. Her energy weapon fighting style is good and does make her a good match for many opponents. It’s just that she always has to fight the strongest opponents in the film which puts her in a tough situation. She has to deal with a lot during the movie as well so she isn’t always in peak fighting condition. I imagine in a sequel we’ll see her look even better.
Karun is the comic relief character in the film but he really does an excellent job in that role. Pretty much all of his scenes are rather funny. He’s the kind of guy where you can instantly tell that he means well. Karun may not be some kind of fancy super hero but he certainly knows the difference between right and wrong and tries to lead by example. He doesn’t scare off easily and takes a whole lot of risks during the battles. That’s the kind of guy you want to have by your side when you need a photographer.
Kro is the Deviant who actually gets a role here. I’m not sure if he ever really got a name in the film but Wikipedia says that is his name so I’ll role with it. He’s almost like Parasite to an extent as he can absorb your powers through contact and keeps getting stronger. I thought he was a really solid villain. My only issue is that he was really underused. There were some really interesting concepts with his evolution and then they seemed to almost be thrown away. When Kro randomly showed up during the best action scene in the film I had a bad feeling about this because the film was nearly over and there wasn’t time for another fight.
Sure enough, there isn’t much of a fight in the end and I was completely unsatisfied with how his plot ended. Kro was great, no doubt about that but he should have been saved for a sequel. I felt like the ending just wasted his potential because this guy was really interesting. I suppose the sequel may have more of Arisham as the villain but it depends on if the film will portray him as a villain or not. I like the idea of this guy being the next Thanos that fights everyone 10 years from now and I had a good feeling about that but based on one of the scenes after the credits start, I’m not sure about that plan now. Of course I can’t say what those are so you’ll need to watch to find out.
The base ending (Final scene before the credits) is really solid though. This is how you end off with a great cliffhanger. You’re reminded that not everything was tied up quite yet and one loose end had not been addressed. It’s extra fun because you have to start thinking what this means for the next films and also this is an event that should now get SHIELD involved. I would say that one of the extra scenes weakens the cliffhanger part of this a bit because now we’ve got more of a destination but either way it was a really effective way to end things. It comes out of nowhere and immediately raises your hype.
As for the final two scenes, well the first one has to be the standout. We see some new characters and basically get a preview of what the plot might be for the sequel. Meanwhile the second scene gives one character a good end to his character arc. You might have wondered what the point of this guy was but then he has a cryptic speech near the end. Well, the extra scene showed you what he was talking about and it’s quite effective. I don’t see him being nearly powerful enough to do much of anything to help fight the threats that the Eternals deal with but maybe I’m underestimating him.
Okay time for some spoilers. Skip the next 4 paragraphs if you haven’t watched the film yet.
It goes without saying that I lost a ton of respect for Ikaris and Sprite when they turned out to be traitors. Both of them got off way too lightly if you ask me. Sprite really tried to murder Sersi and should not have been let back into the fold so quickly. It’s great that they had the restraint not to murder her, but take her to prison or something. As for Ikaris, the characters were way too sympathetic to him considering that the guy murdered their leader in cold blood and nearly murdered them.
Come on now, there is being forgiving and then there’s being a door mat. This action made the Eternals appear to be closer to the latter. He can be forgiven in time and all but not right on the spot like that. I was kind of hoping Thena would have taken him out during the fight or maybe Sersi upgrades her technique again and finished him off. That would have been more satisfying than him seemingly committing suicide in the Sun. I wasn’t buying his tears at the end at all and it’s actually something I’ve never liked for villains. Ikaris makes a big show of yelling and blasting at the air to show that he wasn’t happy with how he murdered Ajak but…he still did it. At that point you go full villain and keep it moving but he’s not going to win any sympathy points from me. He tried something similar in the climax and I’m just shaking my head at that. Also, with an ending like this for Ikaris there is still the off chance that he could have survived somehow which would leave room for him to show up in a sequel.
The best fight I was referring to earlier was with Ikaris vs the rest of the Eternals. You have to get some really good Justice League vibes from that. I’ve always been on the side that says Superman would solo the League (Which I’d say Justice League proved rather well) but in this case I think the full Eternals team would have been able to beat Ikaris here. The main difference is Ikaris isn’t nearly as fast as Superman is with how he was getting blitzed by everyone and while his strength is great, it isn’t as imposing as Superman’s. It helped make this a really balanced matchup though since it was hard to say which side would win. I love team fights like this and it was absolutely the highlight of the movie.
With how the film ends, I’d like for this to lead into the Infinity Gauntlet comic start except with Arishem as Thanos. Basically the Eternals free the others in captivity and crash-land back on Earth as they warn Dr. Strange that Arishem is coming to destroy the world. We then get to call in all of the Marvel heroes and it’s the next big event film. That would definitely be awesome and I’d prefer it to the Eternals just beating this guy straight up. We’ll see though, there are a whole lot of ways this could play out.
With the Eternals in the verse now, this will be a great help to the Avengers since their ranks were thinning. If the Eternals actually star to help humanity of course, if they stick to the shadows then things won’t change a whole lot. It’ll be nice to see the two teams interact at some point. It might not be the same without Ironman or Captain America but there’s still a lot of good banter to be had. Of course we need to see the groups fight it out. Assuming we get the X-Men and Fantastic Four soon, the planet is definitely going to be jam packed with heroes so villains better beware.
While the film is really serious a lot of the time, I do want to underscore that it has a lot of good comedic moments as well. The balance is handled rather well as the heroes aren’t cracking jokes during a serious moment but know when to have fun as the proper time and place. The team has a good amount of banter between them and you should be smiling at quite a few moments. Aside from one joke that’s more on the crude humor side and will have you wincing, pretty much all of the other jokes do land.
Eternals is a movie where there is quite a lot of happening and that’s to the film’s benefit. It’ll probably take you some time to collect all of your thoughts on the experience but it’s in a good way. Better to add more and more things to your film than to under deliver. Some items should be saved (Like Kro) but if you don’t completely know what the future holds with regards to sequels and such then it makes sense to have everything in now. Low key I also like how more and more normal civilians are getting comfortable with superheroes and just mentioning them casually. If heroes were around in the real world and saved the Earth several times then I imagine it would very quickly become rather casual. We’re not quite in the comics yet where people can be fighting in the streets with super powers as people keep walking but it would be fun to see it get to that point.
There’s one moment early on where I was sweating it out since a dog appeared but fortunately Eternals took the high road. That’s definitely one way to build suspense early on. The early parts of the film did a good job of almost feeling more like a horror title at times with how intense the Deviant designs are. They did quite a good job on that as the beasts are memorable and also look rather unique. Again I don’t think they are much of a threat once the heroes are around but for the Eternals who can’t really fight, it’s definitely a big deal to see these guys around.
Overall, Eternals is a good movie. It’s not hitting the ball out of the park the way that most of Marvel’s newer films do but it’s not bad or anything. I think what will hurt is that there just isn’t a lot of replay value. The romance scenes will have you a little bored and while some interactions about the mission and such are engaging, other speeches just can’t be taken seriously. This is really a film that you don’t need to see twice compared to something like Shang Chi where a second watch would work really well right away. The film is really long which isn’t inherently bad for replay value but there are still long periods of talking with no real action. Discussions about how tough their mission is will be engaging the first time but you may find the film to be dragging a bit otherwise. Still, it’s worth the first watch so you’ll definitely want to check it out to see the next wave of Marvel.