[Warning: this article contains spoilers]
Last Friday, the newest installment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe was introduced to the world: “Eternals.” Now you could go to official movie reviewers and get a far more holistic and comprehensive review of the movie but why would you do that when you have us, your friendly neighborhood uninformed idiots?
Sure, neither of us has ever taken a film class, nor have we ever wanted to, but we have at least seen a few movies in our day and we are positive that that is more than enough experience to make us reviewers. If cheating once makes you a cheater, then we are mediocre cinephiles at best and that basically makes us Brandeis film majors.
On that note, let’s dive in.
Four words for you—Kumail Nanjiani finger guns. If that doesn’t make you want to see this movie I don’t know what will. I mean come on, it’s kind of amazing that it’s 2021 and the best way to portray lasers coming out of someone’s hands without computer-generated imagery (CGI) is making finger guns with your hands. This was honestly my favorite part of the movie. Does this say something about the movie? Maybe. Does it say something about my personality? Most definitely.
Does the movie have a low Rotten Tomatoes score, yes. But I think it’s important to keep in mind the standard that people hold Marvel to, since it is much greater than any regular movie or heck any DC movie. So a good movie can get written off as an awful Marvel movie. Remember when everyone hated “Captain Marvel?” And then it turned out the people reviewing it were just sexist and wanted Brie Larson to smile more. I think a similar narrative is being written for “Eternals” where you have this diverse cast and then there are those Marvel fans who are getting too nit-picky about who was cast rather than the content of the movie.
That being said, was the movie confusing? Yes, yes it was. I left with more questions than I came in with. But another thing about the Marvel franchise is that nothing (and I do mean nothing) is intended to be stand-alone. Everything in the MCU connects in some way. And I think, or at least I hope, that the plot holes in this film are going to be filled out over the next couple of years as we continue into phases four and five. This is one of the great things about Marvel—things can be brought up in one film and then not returned back to until 10 films from now. They always find a way to tie things in and make it make sense.
But I genuinely liked the film. Not love, but like. I got what I went for, which was laughs and action, which is what I expect from Marvel movies. “Eternals” had a good mix of comedic relief and dope action scenes and I found myself enjoying my time not ready to rush out of the theater. Was it as good as “Shang-Chi?” No. But it was alright. I think this film will also suffer from more negative reviews because of all the hype that surrounded it due to the star-studded lineup they have for the cast. I don’t think it fully delivered on the hype but it most certainly wasn’t a flop. In fact, I would say that this movie made me more hooked to see what the MCU does in the next phase and theorize what could potentially be brought into the MCU.
A common critique of this movie that I’ve seen is that the producers didn’t choose a villain, that the film couldn’t make up its mind on who is good and who is bad. But I think that’s kind of the point of this movie, since they aren’t fighting some physical villain: It’s a dilemma of morals. It’s like the trolley problem in psychology: do you move the trolley onto a set of tracks where you only kill three people or do you not move it and instead kill 20 people on the tracks because that’s the trajectory it’s on? The protagonists of the film are deciding whether to let Earth die to create new life, or to save the Earth and prevent that new life from being born, thus breaking the cycle of the universe. Who is to say which is right or wrong? And I think that by making the lines blurred on who is “good” and who is “evil” speaks volumes.
Final opinions for you: Druig (Barry Keoghan) and Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) are my new favorite Marvel couple (sorry Wanda and Vision); making Ikaris (Richard Madden) fly into the sun was hysterical; Sersi (Gemma Chan) does in fact have a type; swords are dope af and I did think Kit Harrington and Richard Madden were the same person for the first 30 minutes.
When I was purchasing the tickets for the movie I was shocked to see that they were only priced at $11 a ticket. I mean on opening night? That is a freaking steal if I ever have seen one and I was preparing for the worst. Needless to say, I was right in preparing that way for this film. The opening fight sequence between the Eternals and the Deviants got my blood pumping and my heart racing. I thought that it could only go up from there! I mean hey, watching superhero throwdowns is one of the biggest pulls for superhero movies and the opening did not disappoint—but the beginning was where it peaked for combat action in my mind.
After that sequence, the movie becomes a sloppy superhero soap opera. The film then has to portray the day-to-day tasks of the Eternals as they assume “human” lives and to follow all of them becomes a bit of a mess. The plot was pretty sloppy, just like the desert sex scene that was seemingly thrown in just to have one between Ikaris and Sersi. I mean why? Sand is going to end up everywhere! That just seems like a chafing accident waiting to happen when they put their skintight superhero suits back on.
But as we navigate the lives of the Eternals throughout the film, we learn that one of the Deviants can absorb the powers of the Eternals that it manages to catch. How? Why? I don’t know. The film never explains why this one Deviant was able to evolve and they then kill him off like it was nothing. This Deviant was making Ikaris look like a little boy with his pants down but Thena (Angelina Jolie) was able to kill him like it was nothing? It just did not make sense because of the answered questions and it was only amplified in confusion because it was not the only plot—there were two.
The second plot saw the Eternals trying to stop the emergence of a Celestial from the Earth’s core that would destroy the planet. Both plots were half baked as the indecision concerning what plot to explore deeper became more and more evident. To make matters worse, Ikaris then just flew into the sun! Was the whole movie a set up for the worst joke based on a fable ever? I cannot even discern anything from the film to take away from it except that Harry Styles is somehow an Eternal and Thanos’ brother? Just like Victoria said, I am truly hoping that Marvel pulls everything together because this confused me to no end.
Final thoughts: This movie seemed more like an X-Men movie to me. It is in the MCU but does not really involve the Avengers plot a whole lot, especially since the Eternals cannot interfere in human matters. So where do they go in the next arc if they cannot interfere? It truly seemed as if this film followed the X-Men format of being in the MCU.
The plot was messy and character arcs seemed off. What pulled me into the MCU over the DC Universe is that the MCU is full of people trying to understand their place in the world with their superhero qualities. Iron Man, Spiderman, the Hulk, Captain America: each and every one of them are struggling to live in a world which does not include them. That is what makes us look up to them: they face adversity and find a way to overcome it. “Eternals,” burdened by a messy plot, follows gods attempting to live among men, and it did not deliver. But was it cool to watch? Yes! Did I get to see as much of jacked Kumail Nanjiani as I wanted? No, but no one comes to me for advice on that. All in all, I am holding onto the hope that knowing Marvel, the next “Eternals” movie should hopefully bring it all together.