Audiences will instantly realize they’re in a very different thematic Marvel movie from the opening movie scrawl in ETERNALS. For the MCU, there are a lot of firsts:
- Sex scene
- LGBTQ superhero, Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry)
- Deaf superhero, Makkari (Lauren Ridloff)
- Chloé Zhao becoming the first Oscar winner and woman of color to direct an MCU film
- Superheros with both South Asian and Latina representation
Yet, for all those firsts, which should be the norm, the movie sadly sticks too close to the “team assembly” plot structure. This generic plot keeps the film soaring as close to the sun as Icarus (Richard Madden) can fly. Also, keeping the movie within our orbit is the movie’s villain- the Deviants. Unfortunately, they look too cartoony and video game-like. Heck, even the battles felt like I was in the middle of a PS5 game battling an apex predator instead of watching a Marvel film.
There’s a lot of ground to cover in ETERNALS. The plot spans 7,000 years and is comparable at times to a DC Zack Snyder soap opera. Complete with clunky dialogue where characters ask each other, “what do we do now” on repeat occasions.
If I appear to be complaining about ETERNALS, that’s because I am. I’ve been highly conflicted over the last 24 hours since seeing the film and determining if I should give it a 🤮 or a 😊 . Last month, I gave DUNE a 🤮 due to it turning a simple prologue into an over-complicated pointless, tedious, dull waste of time that lacked empathy. As a result, I didn’t care about anything on the screen in DUNE. With ETERNALS, the space soap opera theme is similar; however, the film has so much heart that it’s more difficult to dismiss. Empathy in a movie creates compelling characters that serve the story versus the story serving the characters. Rather than try to figure this out on an emotional scale, I used a weighted scoring system.
The results show that ETERNALS barely passes the grade. So if you’re ready for a flawed, entirely different superhero movie, I recommend seeing ETERNALS on the big screen. It may not have the Rotten Tomato score of DUNE, but I promise you that you’ll at least care about what’s happening.
ETERNALS is available theatrical.