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The Eternals (2021)


Part of the genius of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is the slow introduction of characters. Adequate time is allotted to get to know each character before they are combined with other characters. The first Avengers film was after Iron Man, Captain America and Thor had been introduced. Only three main characters were introduced. The Eternals is a 100% new cast with eight new superheroes to keep track of. It is too much to fit into one film and too long of a list to put into a review.

The main characters are Sersi, Gemma Chan, and Ikaris, Richard Madden. They have no on-screen chemistry yet are paired up together. After living together for thousands of years, Ikaris finally takes notice of Sersi and through a one-day-long montage falls in love with Sersi and we get a sex scene in an MCU movie (in addition to a same-sex kiss). The relationship lasts for a few hundred years before they part ways. This film has a very difficult time noting the difference between millennia and centuries. The Eternals have been around for millennia, yet all the problems occur in a matter of centuries.

The film was written and directed by Chloe Zhao, of Nomadland fame. I applaud the diversity that Marvel is bringing in, but I think there could have been better fits. Zhao had lots of lingering shots like Nomadland, but the scenery was more CGI and overall, less interesting. The dialog is overly simple. There were multiple times during the film when I thought to myself, that is the line I would have written. The lines were all the most obvious and easiest choices to fit into the story. Many of them were the ‘tell’ half of ‘show and tell’ immediately following a well-executed ‘show.’

This film will hopefully stick out as one of the worst MCU films, because if this is the direction the MCU is headed, then we are in trouble. The film had too many characters without enough emotion. It had been built up for years since we first saw a shirtless Kumail Nanjiani. He might have been the biggest letdown. His superpower was shooting lasers from his fingers and requiring no muscles. He is also absent from the climactic fight scene, which still puzzles me. Most people will see this once for completeness, but I doubt it will get too many rewatches.

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