Director Chloé Zhao rounds up a diverse, cosmically aligned collection of heroes in the MCU’s latest release, Eternals.
The Eternals are a celestially developed alien race who have lived secretly on Earth for over 7,000 years. They were sent to protect humans from an extra-terrestrial enemy called The Deviants. After they accomplish this mission, they remain on Earth, awaiting their return home.
Unlike other Marvel superheroes, the Eternals aren’t normal people who rise to become heroes. The Eternals are superheroes that become normal people. They integrate within the human race, concealing their powers. They do not even join the Avengers against Thanos – but they could have. As The Deviants resurface, the group comes together again to defend humankind.
New Heroes to Love
The character development is exceptional. Each hero has clearly defined motivations and abilities. The team’s spiritual guide, Ajak (Selma Hayek) is symbolic in her steady, maternal nature. Sersi (Gemma Chan) and Ikaris (Richard Madden) are commanding in their leadership and their love story. Lauren Ridloff, who is deaf in real life, plays a magnetic Makarri with an affection for the easy to dislike hero, Druig (Barry Keoghan). Keep an ear out for his Irish accent, it seems to come and go.
Kumail Nanjiani is gorgeous and funny as Kingo, but his sidekick outshines him. Angelina Jolie as Thena puts off some intense “Girl, Interrupted” vibes. Sprite (Lia McHugh) is an early favorite, but her obsession with Ikaris throws me. Phastos, the much talked about openly gay character is played by Brian Tyree Henry. He’s wonderful at bringing both intelligence and comic relief into the team.
Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington plays Dane Whitman, Sersi’s other (human) love interest. While it’s hard to shake the Jon Snow out of the Kit Harington, there are multiple hints that he has a future in the MCU. As always, stick around for the end credits.
Despite this huge new palate of characters, the film is surprisingly easy to follow. We get an intentional mapping out of the storyline with flashbacks and current events. (There’s even a deliberate small jab at climate change). The visuals and content are overall dark. Both the wide shots and pre-battle scenes have a blue tint to them before illuminating with fantastically executed CGI.
Overall, the action scenes appear less frequent than in other Marvel movies. There’s a lot more intimacy and drama, that makes the movie somewhat slow-paced. They ALL say a derivation of the phrase “missed you” too many times. However, I don’t think it’s deserving of all of the negative reviews. Bonus points for a couple jump scares, DC shoutouts, and the first MCU sex scene.