For a film this big, it was only fitting that two reviewers came together. The Eternals is such a large film for the Marvel Cinematic Universe that two Echo writers have come together to share our thoughts and take on this film. I, Cameron Santangelo, your trusted Eastern Echo movie reviewer, have teamed up with our other trusted reviewer Marie White to discuss this film, hopefully, this is the first of many! With that being said, let's dive into this massive MCU project!
Eternals is a completely different type of Marvel movie set inside the Marvel cinematic universe. Eternals follows the story of a race of immortal beings sent from Olympia to protect the earth from deviants that rain havoc. The Eternals must live alongside humankind and follow the rules given to them by a celestial being Arishem.
What worked in the film?
Marie: I truly just want to take the whole movie and shove it into this review, but I’ll pick some of the things that were on top. The story as a whole, made me melt. It felt so unbelievably fresh, and not just another Avengers movie, which I love, don’t get me wrong. Seeing new characters (good and bad), new creatures (apart from the usual MCU things), and just overall a new type of Marvel movie inside the MCU is amazing
The cultural aspects of the movie were top-notch. The characters’ names themselves are ancient and they play on all the myths and legends that go with them. Ikaris, Thena and Cersi, just to name a few. I’m a sucker for mythology, so these callbacks throughout the film to all these different tales just made me absolutely giddy.
Representation in this movie was great (and should be the norm). Marvel has been in it deep with their lack of LGBTQ+ representation in their movies, but this movie was a step in the right direction. Not only was there LGBTQ+ representation, but also a deaf character and people of many different races and cultures appreciated throughout the film. It’s important for people to see themselves in movies, especially children (though I’m not sure if this movie is entirely right for little eyes).
Cam: This is a lot of film to cram into a small review, but here goes. Marie makes a great point about representation. The representation of LBGTQ+ was excellent here. Superhero films in general have a lack of LBGTQ+ representation and that particular character was also African American, so a double plus for that. Having a deaf character was a great touch. Now we are seeing more and more deaf representation in films. Representation matters to people.
Overall, the world-building was decently done in my opinion. This film did not make me wonder about the setting like Dune or other Marvel films like Guardians or Thor. We get the Eternals going from time period to time period which builds on the fact that they were always within society just observing. This makes me wonder why this film did not take more chances with explaining where they were during the Avengers time and how they interpreted those events in their eyes. The world building was handled decently, I just wish more was explained.
Kit Harrington was, in my opinion, one of the biggest stars of the film in the short time he had. He made me laugh and his overall acting touch gave the film more of the feel that Chloe Zhao was going for here. Personally, this film made me wonder more about his character background more than Eternals. Obviously, his character means a lot to the MCU, but that will come much more down the line.
What did not work in the film?
Marie: Honestly I don’t have many criticisms with this movie, but there are just a few things I can nitpick. First, I wish there was just more character development all around. I know it’s extremely hard to give enough time to every character (especially when there are 10 Eternals themselves), but I truly just wanted more. I knew the celestial being (Arishem) was important in the beginning, but we didn’t find out much about the celestials till a little over halfway through the film. It does make sense after you know their purpose but in the beginning, it’s just a lot of characters (and things) being introduced all at once. This does make sense seeing that it is the first Eternals movie, and characters need to be introduced and built up. But it just had a lot of characters and you only got sneak peeks into their lives.
This point leads into the next, being that I just wanted more from the film in general. Like I said I’m nitpicking, but I just wanted more information throughout the film as a whole. It ran a little over 2 and ½ hours, but I could’ve gone for 3+ hours of this film (I’m very greedy).
Cam: Gosh Marie is going to make me sound like a contrarian here! There were things that just did not work for me in this film. Starting off is the lead couple Ikaris and Cersi(sorry to spoil). They just did not have chemistry in this movie. This felt very forced and driven just for the overall plot of the film and to create a dramatic plot device. They did make me believe as a viewer that they could ever be a couple. Plus, that cringe-worthy sex scene between them made me uncomfortable. Not a great choice by MCU here.
To be honest, I did not find the Eternals particularly interesting. The backstories behind these characters just were not enough for me to be honestly curious about them. They were more so presented as these undying beings that are super strong and then that was it.
The overall pacing on this film was not strong. It took about an hour for the story to pick up and get going. Now that is on the overall direction of the film and story. This could have been done much better in my opinion. Chloe Zhao is great, but this film just did not make me feel excited as previous Marvel films like Shang Chi or Black Widow. Maybe Chloe was going for a much more serious tone with more character-driven plots. If that is the direction, then it should've been done with much faster pacing and excitement.
Last thoughts and overall rating:
Marie: To truly enjoy Eternals you need to look at it with a new set of eyes and not expect or compare it to a Marvel Avengers movie. Eternals is a new wave of superheroes that truly has me excited to see what comes next in the MCU. If you have or haven’t seen Marvel movies before this is an amazingly fresh take to see. I give Eternals a 5/5, and I’m simply in love with this movie.
Cam: Eternals was different and went off of the typical Marvel formula. This Marvel film was definitely in the middle of the pack for all of the MCU films that have come before it. Chloe Zhao took chances, some paid off and some did not. Eternals will get a 3/5 for me. By the way, stick around for the credits, they will not disappoint.