Eternals (2021)

7000 years ago, a group of super-powered, immortal beings were sent to Earth to fight against the monstrous Deviants. Long thinking their mission complete, they’ve formed lives among humanity while they wait for their masters, the Celestials, to call them home. It’s those masters who banned them from interfering in other human struggles, be that the wars and injustices throughout history, or a mad Titan making half the population snap out of existence.

However, while these Eternals might have stayed in the shadows during Earth’s darkest moment, those events have not left them untouched. And now with the Blip – the return of over 3 millions souls to the planet – it seems like their mission wasn’t as over as they’d thought.

I’ve made no secret that I’ve been a fan of the MCU since Iron Man (2008), but I must admit that even my interest has been waning since Endgame (2019) more or less finished off the overarching story. Phase 4 hasn’t impressed me much so far with Black Widow and Shang Chi, and yet I was still looking forward to seeing this one, thinking it might offer something a little different from the 25 movies we’ve had so far – goodness knows the series/universe needs it!

And… well, yeah, I think we do get a little bit of variation; I’m not sure it’s enough, or doesn’t bring in a few new flaws, though. Chloe Zhao (who won the best director Oscar for Nomadland) does seem like a very different direction (pun intended) to helm the movie, and she definitely does a great job in making it look amazing.

Honestly, I really enjoyed watching this when it was playing. I like my superhero movies, and this one has plenty to offer. I particularly liked the historical flashbacks, giving us brief moments from those 7000 years. However, they were fun but ultimately shallow, and I never quite bought the existence of these shiny-suited alien beings mingling with the locals.

The cast themselves do well, but there are perhaps too many to introduce even in 2½ hours and have the audience feel too much attachment. And it does have the familiar issue that the characters given most focus are not necessarily the ones that feel most interesting. I knew going in that Angelina Jolie (Thena) wanted more of a cameo than a big role, but Selma Hayek feels very underused, as do most of the cast, to be honest. I personally rather liked the diversity – all (ish) of mankind represented, makes sense – but some of the accents threw me a bit.

I knew nothing about the Eternals going in to the movie, so the little twists and surprises in the plot kept me entertained.

All that said, almost as soon as the movie finished I started picking holes and overall just finding the whole thing a little shallow, and a little messy. Nothing really felt explored sufficiently to really hook me, or make me care too much. Which is a shame.

Still, it was enjoyable in the moment, and I think a second outing might help develop the characters and their individual powers a lot better. Feels like the MCU will be about for another 7000 years, anyway 😉

Released: 5th November 2021
Viewed: 14th January 2022
Running time: 156 minutes
Rated: 12A

My rating: 7/10

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