Friday, November 5, 2021

Marvel's ETERNALS Movie Review *Spoiler Free*

Marvel Studios' Eternals Movie Poster


Director:  Chloé Zhao
Studio:  Marvel Studios
Release Date: November 5, 2021
Rating:  PG-13: fantasy violence and action, some language and brief sexuality.

Official Website:

Following the events of AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019), an unexpected tragedy forces the Eternals, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years, out of the shadows to reunite against mankind's most ancient enemy, the Deviants.

Review: "Based on the Marvel Comics by Jack Kirby"

It's been a long time coming to get that singular attribution on an MCU film! That gave me the feels when the credits rolled.

As the first 45 minutes of exposition and wooden acting plodded along, I thought the critics might be right in their negative reviews.  But then....our first scene in the modern day with Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo happens.  And from here on out, the film picks up speed and moves forward.  It felt almost like that's where the movie itself actually starts and the first 45 minutes was just prologue or something.  Which maybe explains the 2 hours and 37 minute runtime.

One of the first things people mentioned coming out of the previews was that ETERNALS is unlike any other MCU movie and the marketing has claimed ETERNALS changes the MCU forever.
Both are correct.

In fact, it not only doesn't feel like any Marvel movie so far, it actually feels very much like Marvel Studios doing their own version of DC's Justice League.  For those who've complained about Henry Cavill's dour version of Superman, Richard Madden as Ikaris (the Superman analogue here) makes Cavill's Superman seem downright cheery and bubbly.  Angelina Jolie as Thena (the Wonder Woman analogue) is an extremely necessary jolt of star power that helps balance the others who don't quite have her level of screen charisma. 

The actual comics history and purpose of The Eternals is substantively changed to fit within the MCU paramaters and for the most part, I think it works quite well.  In the end, not only does The Eternals add to the history of Earth in the MCU, it makes a dramatic change to the landscape that is about on par with the "blip" and Loki's introduction of timeline variations and multiversal implications.  I'm sure these will be plot points referenced in other films and shows going forward.  Not the least of which is the future of Dane Whitman and his family's legacy.

On the cosmic level of the MCU, The Eternals has reset the power structure on the space/time chess board and I'm intrigued by the vast possibilities of where this story can go in the future.  
The mid-credits sequence is the most "Marvel" moment of the entire film, and it will also elicit fanboy squeals of delight by old school Marvel kids from the 70s and 80s who are now grumpy too-old-for-comics fans. 😃  The after-credits sequence is an excellent and intriguing after dinner dessert tease.

I enjoyed it immensely.  For a longtime Kirby Eternals fan, I was suprised by so many thematic and conceptual elements that were retained but also suprised by the new ideas and expansions logically brought into the mix.  A few head-scratchers in terms of wondering why some particular choices were made (such as no Zuras at all and Ikaris's hair color change) but taken as a whole, it all pretty much worked for me.