HomeEntertainment‘Eternals’ Marvel’s eternal disappointment

‘Eternals’ Marvel’s eternal disappointment

Published Nov. 16, 2021

BY RYAN JALILI

Anyone who was excited to see a new take on the Marvel formula from director Chloe Zhao’s latest film will be incredibly disappointed. A painfully long, exposition-vomit-filled plot with subpar acting from a star-studded ensemble easily makes “Eternals” one of the most forgettable films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

The Eternals are a race of immortal superheroes who have been secretly living among humans for thousands of years. After heading their separate ways, the Eternals are forced to reunite to battle the evil Deviants, mindless CGI monsters, after they were believed to be wiped out 2,000 years ago. “Eternals” manages to have one of the most convoluted and uninteresting plots in the Marvel catalog of films. It’s not that the film was abhorrently bad, but it commits the worst crime a superhero movie can commit: being boring.

(Courtesy of MARVEL STUDIOS)

With Marvel making an atypical move in hiring Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao, most notably known for her artistic films, including “Nomadland,” fans were expecting a different take on the Marvel formula. Even with a dream cast of actors like Angelina Jolie, Kit Harington and Richard Madden, the talented cast and fantastic director can’t save the atrociously written and confusing storyline. Perhaps if Marvel hadn’t spent half of its budget on a star-studded cast then maybe they could have hired someone to write a competent screenplay.

“Eternals” feels like an eternity as Marvel’s second-longest movie ever after “Avengers: Endgame” with an excruciating 2-hour and 37-minute running time. “Eternals” really makes the viewer fight to stay awake.

It’s clear that Zhao wants to go for a more conversational superhero film due to the long outtakes of characters discussing whether it would be moral for them to intervene in the evolution of humans. However, the film does not shy away from big CGI monster battles that the average superhero movie fan expects. Many superhero movies can balance both emotional moments and have visually stunning fight scenes, but “Eternals” makes no effort to interest the viewer in the characters’ conversations–whether it is debating if they should give humans weapons during their evolution or if Sersi should get back with Ikaris, the film never really grabs the viewers attention.

By far, the worst aspect of this film is the lack of chemistry among the characters. It feels as if they Googled the top 10 most famous actors and put them in a room together for the first time minutes before filming. The film’s worst offender is Richard Madden’s portrayal of Ikaris, Marvel’s lackluster attempt at a Superman. And those aren’t my words: “Eternals” is the first MCU film to reference Superman, a DC Comics character, in a scene where Ikaris is mistaken for Superman. Madden’s performance faces a lot of criticism similar to many live-action Superman portrayals, feeling cold, heartless and boring.

(Courtesy of MARVEL STUDIOS)

Even though the film struggles with poor writing and a less-than-stellar performance from the general cast, there are some redeeming qualities. The cinematography is incredibly impressive, and Zhao’s directing skills are evident with the beautiful aerial and wide shots of ancient civilizations. The obvious show-stealer is Kumail Nanjiani’s character Kingo, an egotistical Eternal who had spent his past hundred years as a Bollywood star. Nanjiani gives the film emotion that is desperately needed. 

Diversity-wise, “Eternals” is a great step in the right direction for Marvel. Having a female person of color as the lead character coupled with a supporting cast filled with LGBTQ, African, Asian, South Asian and deaf representation is a good sign for the direction of future superhero films.

Despite that, the cinematography and an amazing performance from Nanjiani can’t save this terribly written, disappointingly directed and stupendously boring film. 

3/10

 

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