Eternals Review: An Exciting But Overloaded Marvel Blockbuster

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“Ambitious” has been a key word to describe the work and operations of Marvel Studios from the very beginning. There was no guarantee that their plan to run a multi-series, single-canon franchise would work – especially without the rights to key characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four. When it turned out to not only work, but became a global phenomenon, however, the creative push continued and inspired bets on obscure superheroes and budding filmmakers. Marvel’s moves go against what is traditionally expected of a big hit in Hollywood, where it so often results in the sole production of echoes and copies. Instead, the company viewed its popularity as a license to try and experience new things, confident that the public will follow suit.

At Chloé Zhao’s Eternals is what one might call the most obvious result of this philosophy that we have seen since James Gunn guardians of the galaxy in 2014. The titular group is held in high regard by comic book fans as the creations of the legendary Jack Kirby, but they are little known in the grand scheme of pop culture; and although Zhao is now one of only two women to win the Academy Award for Best Director at the Oscars, she was hired to make the blockbuster almost six months earlier. Nomadic country went into pre-production. These combined elements don’t look great on paper, but Marvel has stuck to its vision and committed to it.

Over three years after Chloe Zhao was hired, ‘ambitious’ remains an apt adjective to apply to Eternals, but with a caveat. The film has an impressive reach, compelling characters, and compelling driving philosophies, but it’s an adventure that also tries to bite a little more than it can chew. Along with a ‘bring the group together’ narrative with 10 main characters and doomsday stakes, it also mixes in epic romance and non-linear storytelling – which is a lot for a film to undertake. He is mostly successful in keeping all of the balls in the air, but the juggling itself is also too noticeable when you’re watching, preventing you from being fully engaged in whatever he’s trying to do.

Going further back in history than any Marvel Cinematic Universe movie before it, Eternals presents his eponymous group as cosmic beings who arrived on Earth 7,000 years ago to bid for the divine Celestials. Their job is to guide the development of human evolution without direct interference – helping species to progress and grow slowly without overtly taking control or specifically influencing big choices. Simultaneously, they are also responsible for the slaughter of the Deviants, who are monstrous and unusually dangerous creatures whose wickedness threatens humanity in its infancy.

Having succeeded in shepherding Homo sapiens Through their childhood over thousands of years, the Eternals of the modern world have the freedom of their leader, Ajak (Salma Hayek), to live essentially traditional human lives until the heavenly Aramesh tells them otherwise. The group – including the Matter-wielding Sersi (Gemma Chan), the Illusion-Generating Sprite (Lia McHugh), the Swift Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), the Mind-Controlling Druig (Barry Keoghan), the Flying Ikaris (Richard Madden), the inventive Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), the energy madman Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), the fearsome Gilgamesh (Don Lee) and the weapon generator Thena (Angelina Jolie) – spread all over the world .

In the wake of Thanos killing half of all life in the universe and the Avengers bringing everyone back, Sersei and Sprite live together in London, the first is dating a charming and sweet man named Dane Whitman (Kit Harington), but their existence changes in an instant. While all Deviants are believed to be extinct, and have been for centuries, one of them, surprisingly powerful, attacks both heroes over the course of a party and effectively changes their worldview. Understanding the danger of monsters, a journey is set out to gather all of the Eternals – and during the adventure, deeper and darker secrets are uncovered that could threaten life around the planet.

Simply put, Eternals is trying to do too much.

With Sersei, Sprite, and Ikaris uniting in the first act, and Thena and Gilgamesh still together in the 2020s, the heroes must travel to six different locations around Earth to get their whole group together, and well that would be. lots of narrative meat for any other movie to sink your teeth into, Eternals goes for more. In addition to its current story, the film frequently travels back in time to flesh out the long history of the central characters and their mission on Earth – not to mention the work to maintain a common thread recounting the conflict-laden romance between Sersei and Ikaris. . That’s a lot for any blockbuster, even with a battery life of over 150 minutes.

At best, all of these operations serve to add more depth to the characters and not distort their stories and personalities; at worst, it can be so overwhelming that you don’t know exactly where you are in the story. It’s never dull, as it spices things up on a regular basis with Marvel’s staples of humor and action, but it does seem complicated, and that convolution hampers its ability to get its larger themes across well.

Eternals aims for cool ideas and concepts, and it mostly delivers.

This is particularly unfortunate as the material covered by the film is legitimately impressive to see coming from a mainstream blockbuster. There is a tremendous amount of religious commentary coming out of the story, mostly extending from the relationship between the Eternals and Aramesh, who for all intents and purposes in the context is god. As humans grapple with existential questions about existence, heroes are fully aware of their purpose, and this in itself is an exciting prospect to see examined. This is the strongest aspect of the film, and the ideas it contains are handled in interesting ways, but they are ultimately clouded by the plot.

Chloe Zhao is cooking up a wonderful feast and the cast of the Eternals is wonderful.

Or Eternals the best is in the arenas where you expect to be successful. The size of the set proves to be narratively unwieldy, but it’s also a great collection of personalities, and each of the characters is performed really well. Kumail Nanjiani takes pride of place as a stage thief, with the film taking full advantage of the actor’s wonderful comedic gifts without reducing the emotional conflict Kingo experienced, but Gemma Chan is also charismatic and dynamic in what is essentially the main position of the protagonist, and each of the other team members adds interesting colors to the drama.

Eternals Also has the distinction of being visually stunning and unlike anything we’ve seen before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There is a significant and distinct appreciation for natural beauty, and the heavy production use of the on-site shoot allows for magnificent cinematography that amazingly captures the greatness of our world in a way that is both exciting and themed. . And even when there’s a lot of visual effects involved, whether it’s in various fight sequences or the epic one-on-one encounters with Aramesh, Chloe Zhao is still able to ground it in a way that adds weight. formidable.

In terms of overall quality, Eternals is a mixed bag, but it’s also an easy-to-enjoy movie for what it is. While maintaining a familiar DNA it takes bold impulses for new ideas, and even when that doesn’t fully connect, you can appreciate the effort and still have something to chew on. It’s not one of the best releases we’ve seen coming out of Marvel Studios, but still manages to be an interesting and exciting blockbuster movie.

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