‘Eternals’ Movie Review: Marvel’s Most “Meh” Movie

Eternals Movie Review

When it comes to new Marvel movies, I geek out over all of them. Or, almost all of them. Throughout the various trailers that dropped over the last year, I have to admit this was the first Marvel film I wasn’t super excited about. 

But why? Was it that I just didn’t know these characters? Was it a bad trailer edit? I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I assumed that going into Eternals with low expectations probably wasn’t a bad thing. Maybe I’d be pleasantly surprised?

Eternals does feature a whole new group of MCU superheroes, aptly named, the Eternals. These ancient aliens have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. They were originally sent here to protect humankind from the Deviants, an ancient type of monster that wreaked havoc in ancient times. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces the Eternals to reunite to once again fight the Deviants, who have returned.

Take a look at the trailer below.

Eternals Movie Trailer

Eternals Movie Review: What I Liked and Didn’t Like

Where to start. There’s a lot that happens in the 2 hours and 37 minutes run time, and all of it feels clunky and unorganized. Sure, Marvel was going for epic vibes here, but this movie’s size ends up making it feel like an untamable beast – even for someone as talented as Chloé Zhao, the director.

The Script

The story is predictable and dull, and that’s where the real failure of this film happens. It’s just a mess. Even with a few glimpses of more traditional Marvel humor, looking at you Kumail Nanjiani, the plot lacks the heart of what we find in virtually every single MCU movie.

The Cast

The cast is huge. However, the characters they portray feel bland, which is a real disappointment considering these are the most diverse group superhero movie we’ve had to date. The cast does what they can with the script, but ultimately they’re stuck in a film that doesn’t do them justice.

The outstanding ensemble cast includes Richard Madden as the all-powerful Ikaris, Gemma Chan as humankind-loving Sersi, Kumail Nanjiani as cosmic-powered Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as the super-fast Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as the intelligent inventor Phastos. The film also stars Salma Hayek as the wise and spiritual leader Ajak, Lia McHugh as the eternally young, old-soul Sprite, Don Lee as the powerful Gilgamesh, Barry Keoghan as aloof loner Druig, and Angelina Jolie as the fierce warrior Thena. Kit Harington was cast as Dane Whitman. 

Technical Aspects

On a positive note, Eternals is a beautifully shot movie. The cinematography pairs well with the visual effects and sound design. It’s just not enough to make up for all that is lacking with the story, which Zhao co-wrote. 

Eternals Movie Review - Eternals Poster
Eternals Movie Review

So What Went Wrong?

I struggle with pinpointing exactly what went wrong here. I mean, obviously, it was the script, but how did turn out like this?

Zhao’s last film, Nomadland, won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress. There’s no questioning Chloé Zhao’s talent. Simply put, she’s brilliant. So what happened with Eternals?

Most Marvel films don’t leave a lot of room for directors to put a more personal stamp on the film. Perhaps the only exception to that is Taika Waititi’s work with Thor: Ragnarok. And while that can be a good thing, as it keeps all the films feeling (for the most part) the same, it can also be a problem when you’re working with something just doesn’t work.

Perhaps Zhao didn’t have room to do what she wanted here. Or perhaps Marvel pushed back on changes she wanted to make. As much as I love Marvel and Zhao’s work, I left Eternals with one feeling, meh. 

One last note, when it comes to end credit scenes, no one does them better than Marvel. So make sure you stay to the very end of Eternals as well. No spoilers here, but have at it in our comment section!

Overall

Marvel’s Eternals is one that MCU fans need to see – if for no other reason than this movie sets up events that we will see play out in future Marvel films. But don’t go into this film expecting the magic that Marvel is known for delivering. Eternals is too long, overwhelming uninspiring, and feels like Marvel’s unwanted stepchild. 

Eternals Movie Review: 

Grade: D

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Emma's Geek Girl Blog, Featured, Movie Reviews, Movies

Responses

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  1. I will still watch The Eternals if only to keep up to date on MCU storylines, but your review seems in line with what most other critics are saying about the film.

    1. Yeah I know there are some folks that work a lot with Disney/Marvel that gave it great reviews. But I feel like even they know – they just felt like they had to give it a good review. I would have loved for this one to have surprised me and for it to have been great. But the best thing I can really say about it is that I didn’t hate it. haha

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