I walked into the movie theater to watch Eternals, Marvel’s new superhero epic, with extremely low expectations.
Not because it introduces us to 10 (ten!) Completely new faces with superhuman abilities, but because all the preliminary reviews for it were extremely bad: “The Worst Marvel Movie to Ever!”, “Porridge”, “The Director of Thor: The World of the darkness “has rested that his film is no longer the worst in MCU *”, etc.
Add to that the dubious combination of Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao for an earthly film like Land of the Nomads, a screenplay that is still part of a film universe of armored avengers, cartoon gods and aliens wiping out lives with the click of a fingers. Let’s not forget the sharp politically correct propaganda that surrounded the “Eternal” like an aura long before the premiere.
After all that has been said so far: no, “Eternal” is not so bad. This is not the beginning of a revolutionary new wave in comic book cinema. Not even Marvel’s most successful film.
However, if you leave your expectations at the door of the cinema, you will not feel the time wasted – a group of beings with superpowers are trying to save the Earth, again. So much. You will not remember the “Eternal” forever, but you will not try to forget it.
The film tells the story of how the Celestials, giants with an important role in the universe, thousands of years ago sent to Earth a group of their trusted Eternal – beings with human appearance and various special abilities to protect evolving humanity from the monstrous Deviants – predators with an appetite for crumb.
At the same time, the Eternal are forbidden to interfere in other human affairs or to deter our natural conflicts, as their leader, Ajak (Salma Hayek), must repeat century after century. That’s why we haven’t seen them in the war against Loki, the battles with Ultron, and even the one with Thanos in The Avengers. Their job is one: Deviants do not tease (of course “eat”), people.
And since the Deviants seemingly disappeared a few centuries ago, the Eternal remain on Earth and live among us for centuries their eternal life, without growing old and (almost) without being able to truly feel human.
Until Deviant appears and they do not feel the call to reunite.
The script from now on offers a generally predictable story about the assembling team of characters who have to face a new threat, but with a few differences related to the internal conflicts of the External – from whether their mission is moral, whether it is right to let people kill each other, can they lead a human life, love and have a family, etc.
All this is presented by speaking. With a lot of talking. Within minutes, Chloe Zhao and cameraman Ben Davis shoved the camera into the faces of two arguing characters. And disputes on the above topics as much as you want.
Because the “Eternal” full of conflicts between his characters is actually in conflict with himself.
Somewhere out there, the potential for superhero drama is dormant, though we’ll hardly ever see something like this dedicated to the Scottish fighter complex – how you live forever among mortals, and how human emotions and empathy at one point prevail over orders, over “programming.” .
All this is expressed here in the above-mentioned conversations, which overwhelm the viewers with the inner torments of each Eternal, without being able to fully unfold any of them.
And let’s not forget that the viewer will not even remember the names of the Eternal – the film presents us with 10 main characters. It is possible that by the end of the film the viewer will call them by their strength, the name of the actor in the role or any of his leading roles (“The Fast”, “The Chinese”, “The One with the Widgets”, “Angelina”, “Salma” and “Rob” Stark “**).
On the other side of this coin is the typical Marvel movie with CGI monster battles and a huge threat to the planet. Here – nothing new, which for some who like the formula of MCU, will be a plus. For others, who have a fight, a fight, a laugh, a fight, a little drama, a laugh, a fight, it will be a minus.
One of the most successful things in the film is the humor in the face of the eternal Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), who became a star in Bollywood, and his Indian assistant and completely normal man Karun, who is making a documentary about the return of the Eternal.
As another compliment to the script, it should be noted that the villains, who in this case are few and not necessarily “evil” in the most literal sense, are diverse and with meaningful motivation.
These two films – the dramatic-human and the comic – fight in a common package for 2 and a half hours, which is not enough for even one of them to shine completely.
Zhao, probably attracted by the cultural diversity in the script, took on a task that was impossible from the very beginning – at the script level. The director has tried, but with this film, in this studio, in this still moldy period, MCU can’t expect a nomination for any distinction.
Interestingly, one of Marvel Studios / Disney’s main advertising moves around “The Eternal” – the diversity of actors and characters, is actually a lot in the background and not intrusive. And this film is the dream of the modern politically correct fighter for social justice:
- Gay couple with adopted child + first kiss between men in a Marvel movie – checked;
- The first deaf-mute heroine in Marvel – ticked;
- Dark-skinned (and larger) superhero – canceled;
- Latino superheroine – checked;
- Asian superhero – checked x2;
- Indian superhero – canceled.
She is very fast and speaks sign language. You will remember this. Not her name.
Don’t frown – the risk of being forced into everything that really existed is avoided. Yes, the questions of how it is possible to have a deaf-mute Eternal and what exactly requires a married Eternal to be exactly in a homosexual relationship, but Disney has proven to be progressive and that’s it. This neither helps nor harms a film with other unresolved challenges.
Eventually, I came out of the movies with the belief that The Eternal might be one of Marvel’s weaker films, but it was more interesting to me than the terribly predictable Black Widow and also the boring Captain Marvel. In other words, we’ve seen worse superhero movies.
This one at least has a little soul, nothing that is pressed by everything they have tried to push inside.
* MCU – Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Marvel movie universe in which all the characters from the various series of Marvel Studios, based on comics, coexist.
** If you’ve been a Game of Thrones fan, you have good reason to see this movie – starring Richard Madden (Rob Stark) and Keith Harrington (John Snow) in a sympathetic supporting role. Let’s not forget that the music is by the same composer – Ramin Javadi.