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Eternals - Movie Review

Eternals

Holy EPIC storytelling, Batman!  Err, Ikaris, I mean.  The Marvel Cinematic Universe has expanded way beyond Iron Man and Captain America, both of who are mentioned here, as Eternals take flight!  This is a film where Marvel, courtesy of Jack Kirby (who really wanted to bring SPACE and GODS into the Marvel realm), takes on a heavy load of mythology and MARVELizes it, thus creating a universe where the likes of a young kid like Spider-Man can gawk at the beauty of a Goddess and do battle in the stars and even centuries past.

"put enough humor into the history to make the film both digestible and triumphantly thematic"


To say that Eternals definitely opens doors that have been previously closed is an understatement.  Directed by Chloé Zhao, this is superhero movie that is, at once, poetic in its story and sweeping in its motion as we traverse a whole lot of human history before we get into the meat and potatoes of just why and how this band of superheroes - more like offshoots of the evolutionary process - factor into the MCU.  Is it perfect?  Nope.  It is a tall order to present this particular group of superheroes in a manner that works in a movie, but Zhao manages to do it, warts and all.

Hopping into The WayBack Machine, Eternals begins in 5000 BC as Ajak (Salma Hayek), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) , Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Druig (Barry Keoghan) , Gilgamesh (Don Lee), and Thena (Angelina Jolie) are sent to Earth in order to protect the planet from the genetically engineered Deviants, who are rapidly becoming a problem on planets throughout the galaxies. 

But who sent the Eternals?  That role is filled by a Celestial, Arishem The Judge (voiced by David Kaye), who - wanting the Deviants to not mutate any further - made sure they had a natural enemy in the Eternals, a much longer-lived race of super beings that must not interfere in human history.  They are to defend the planet from the destructive Deviants . . . but, somewhere along the way in this mission for Arishem, Ajak lost faith in the vision.  She saw too much and as the Eternals went their separate ways upon the death of the last Deviants, questions remained left dangling in the air about their mission and their own mortality.Eternals

They are brought back together - after centuries (and I do mean centuries) have passed because a new breed of Deviants has been unleashed, thawing out as a result of global warming.  But these Deviants are more aware than the ones from the past and in their awareness is a curious commonality that both Eternals and Deviants share as a new God being born puts the whole planet in danger of extinction.

Sounds heavy?  Eternals is exactly that, flexing on what DC still manages to drop in its world building.  It’s the 26th Marvel film; the first to feature an openly gay character; the first to have a multi-racial cast; the first to openly embrace a cosmic clash of the ages; and stands as a MAJOR step forward in moving the chess pieces in its plans for more madness for marvel.  There is a lot at play here and, as we are already seeing, this film is dividing critics and audiences, who probably want Marvel to stay grounded.  It won't by any stretch of the imagination.  There are BIGGER stories to tell on MUCH BIGGER canvases.  Eternals is just a glimpse into what the future holds for Marvel.

Thankfully, Zhao and the cast put enough humor into the history to make the film both digestible and triumphantly thematic as we go from Babylon to Bollywood and beyond.  Eternals hits all the right notes to leave you on a Marvel HIGH on its way to a mid-credit scene which teases the Ebony Blade, Black Knight (Kit Harrington), Blade (Mahershala Ali), and a few other surprises, one of which features a very recognizable face.

Eternals is a lot of things for the MCU.  Thankfully, it is also very human.  The movie is now playing in theaters.

4/5 stars

 

Film Details

Eternals

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for fantasy violence and action, some language and brief sexuality.
Runtime:
157 mins
Director
: Chloé Zhao
Writer:
Chloé Zhao & Patrick Burleigh; and Ryan Firpo & Kaz Firpo
Cast:
Gemma Chan; Richard Madden; Angelina Jolie
Genre
: Action | Fantasy
Tagline:
In the beginning...
Memorable Movie Quote: "We're Eternals. We came here seven thousand years ago, to protect humans from the Deviants."
Theatrical Distributor:
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Official Site: https://www.marvel.com/movies/eternals
Release Date:
November 5, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: The saga of the Eternals, a race of immortal beings who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilizations.

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Eternals

 

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