Eternals Has Heart, Despite What Critics Say


Audrey Smith, Writer

Marvel fans have been particularly blessed this year with getting more movie content. With so many films having been delayed due to the pandemic, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been releasing all the delayed projects this year.

The third film the studio released this year was Eternals, released exclusively in theaters on November 5 and directed by Academy Award winning director, Chloe Zhao.

Unlike most Marvel movies, it received lots of negative reviews from critics, while it scored higher with audiences. Although this negativity can be off-putting for some viewers, Eternals is a movie you won’t want to miss.

Most of these negative reviews have come from review bombing on Rotten Tomatoes by homophobic critics upset at the first openly gay character in the MCU. Despite these reviews, Eternals still remains one of the most diverse MCU films to date, which is a good sign for the future of the studio.

The 26th film in the MCU’s canon follows a mythical group, called the Eternals, who were sent to Earth 7000 years ago by the Celestial Arishem to eliminate the Deviants (creatures that prey on humans). The last of the Deviants were killed off 500 years before the events of the film, and the Eternals have since split up.

The film includes several flashbacks to the group’s time together throughout, and the audiences learn the unique relationship between them. You also learn that the Eternals cannot interfere in any earthly conflict unless it involves the Deviants. The film kicks off with the reappearance of the Deviants and the events that ensue.

Eternals stars Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kit Harrington, Kumasi Nanjiani, and many more.

Despite having ten main characters, the movie does a great job of letting the audience get to know each character. From the stoic leader Ikaris, to the deaf Makkari, to the Bollywood star Kingo, Zhao’s directing allows for you to understand the characters’ motives, and relationships to one another.

This feature is quite different from previous Marvel movies. The heavy character examination creates a slower pace for the movie, which can turn some viewers away. However, having a character-based movie rather than a plot-based movie can also pull viewers in, as they grow attached to the characters and feel more sympathy for them.

Although this does create a more lackluster ending, as the focus is more on character conflict rather than conflict with the Deviants. Hopefully, in the Eternals second film (which has already been approved by Marvel) the film will focus more on the plot since the characters have already been well established.

For more traditional Marvel fans, do not worry, the film still contains the studio’s trademark quips, and a similar plot sequence to other MCU films.

One thing that the critics have all agreed on is Zhao’s use of explosive visuals. Beautiful imagery is one of Zhao’s trademarks, and it even helped her win several Oscars for Nomadland earlier this year. In Eternals, Zhao includes far away shots of the landscape, beautiful effects for characters’ powers, and slow motion, close-up shots for fighting.

On the director’s visuals, Variety Magazine elaborates, “That filigreed network of light, floating and darting through the air, serves many purposes, and it’s the most tangible figment of Chloé Zhao’s artistry – visual effects that dance before your eyes.”

While the film may be “Certified Rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes, I advise to not listen to the critics and to truly give the film a chance. I promise you will not be bored with minimal action scenes because longer scenes of the Eternals interacting with each other have proven to be some of the most entertaining scenes in the MCU.