Marvel’s Eternals Review
Less than a few days before it was set to release, Eternals, Marvel’s latest film in the MCU, also became the latest movie to get review-bombed. As a longtime fan of Marvel Comics, I didn’t let this get to me. People were just abusing the power of Rotten Tomato’s to be trolls. However, then I actually sat down in a theater and actually watched the movie; all 2.5 hours of it. My ultimate verdict on this cinematic version of Jack Kirby’s creation for Marvel? Let’s just say that I’m looking forward to seeing the How It Should Have Ended episode for this film.
Ancient Alien Heroes
In the film’s synopsis, we learn that the Eternals, this group of super-powered aliens, got sent to Earth 7,000 years ago by the cosmic beings known as the Celestials so they can protect it from the Deviants. And that’s basically all they’re allowed to do. Outside of that, the Celestials forbid them from intervening in human affairs so that they don’t become dependent on them. However, following the events of Endgame, the Deviants suddenly return and begin attacking the Eternals, forcing them to reunite after centuries of being apart. Except for the Deviants soon prove to be the least of their worries, with an even greater enemy lurking where they least expect it.
At the risk of spoiling the ending to the film, the Deviants end up being a red herring of sorts. They’re touted in the promotional materials as the big bads of the movie, but by the final act of the movie, they end up taking a backseat to the true threat to Earth. In addition, while they retain their evolutionary abilities from the comics, the majority of them are little more than mindless animals. One of them does become sentient, but he ends up being dealt with very easily. That said, they are intimidating to look at, and make for good adversaries for the Eternals.
As for the Eternals themselves, the group of immortal aliens is fairly interesting. They’re not as flashy as the Avengers or as funny as the Guardians of the Galaxy, but you can tell that they all have a strong bond with each other. The actors are also pretty good; it was nice to see Richard Madden on the big screen, considering what happened to him as Robb Stark.
The Runtime Felt Eternal
Now, the main problem that this film had was that it was too long for its own good. The film has a 156-minute runtime, which isn’t unusual. Plenty of MCU films go past the two-hour mark, with Avengers: Endgame stretching past three hours. Unlike most MCU films, though, Eternals doesn’t do a good job with its extensive runtime.
To put it bluntly, the pacing for this story was all over the place. There are frequent flashbacks throughout the movie to the Eternal’s past on Earth. While these wouldn’t be out of place in a comic book, in a film, they can be risky to rely on. In addition, the movie relies far too much on exposition, not doing a good job of balancing it with the action we’ve come to expect from the MCU. Again, this isn’t unheard of, but the difference is that most MCU balance out the talking with clever writing and good jokes. Eternals has these, but they can be few and far between. By the time the movie ended, I was ready to just skip the post-credits and leave.
Good Effort, But Average Film
As far as MCU films go, I don’t think that this is one that I’m going to rewatch on Disney+. To be honest, I only came to see Richard Madden and Kit Harrington appear onscreen together for the first time since season one of Game of Thrones. However, Kit’s character barely does anything in this film!
The film’s not without its positives. When you look at the Eternals and how they interact, you get the feeling you’re looking at a once tight-knit family that’s trying to reconcile. However, the movie was just too long for its own good. In addition, considering how the climax involves the fate of the Earth (again), you’d think that at least a few other heroes would show up to help. Not even Dr. Strange can ignore a threat like what they face in the end.
Good Effort, Marvel, but this just wasn’t for me.
I Give “Eternals” a 3/5
To learn more about the Eternals, Celestials, and Deviants, click here.