I'm beginning to wonder if Marvel Studios' films are starting to become too much. Are audiences getting tired of the supernatural, action films that have been produced over the last fifteen years? When are there too many superheroes? Do we need a flow chart to keep track of them all? Well, if you weren't overloaded enough, here come the Eternals.
One could say they are the originals and all of the other "superheroes" have followed in their footsteps and, while you wouldn't be wrong necessarily, no one knew who they were or where they were. All that changes this week when Eternals opens in theaters nationwide.
With the screenplay written and the movie directed by Academy Award winner, Chloé Zhao (Nomandland), Eternals begins long before the Avengers roamed the earth. These immortal aliens who were created by the Celestials, came to Earth over 7,000 years ago to protect the people from their evil counterparts, the Deviants. Once the Deviants were defeated, the Eternals stayed on earth, hidden until it was time for them to leave. Unfortunately, before that could happen, the Deviants re-emerged to once again threaten the human race. Separated for centuries, these ten immortals reunite to battle the villains.
With an all-star cast, Eternals has a lot going for it. Salma Hayek (The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard), portrays Ajak, the group's leader and the bridge between the Eternals and the Celestials. Angelina Jolie (Maleficent) is Thena, a warrior who can create weapons out of cosmic energy. Gemma Chan (Crazy, Rich Asians) plays Sersi, an empath who can manipulate objects. Upon Ajak's departure, Sersi becomes the leader of the group. Rounding out the cast are Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) as Kingo, Lia McHugh (Into the Dark) as Sprite, Brian Tyree Henry (If Beale Street Could Talk) as Phastos, Lauren Ridloff (The Walking Dead) as Makkari, Barry Keoghan (American Animals) as Druig and Don Lee (The Outlaws) as Gilgamesh.
Unfortunately, an award-winning writer/director and a cast full of talent can't save Eternals. Hayek is ok but doesn't seem to be playing much of anyone other than herself. Madden does decent work, but the script can be too cheesy at times to take any of them seriously. Chan is the standout, with a gentle quietness that hides a leader under the surface. Henry and Nanjiani offer some comic relief along with Kingo's valet/assistant Karun, played by Harish Patel (Run Fatboy Run). Jolie was a disappointment as she seemed to be playing a snobbish and bitchy, mentally disturbed person (much like her real-life persona). The rest of the actors are good but nobody other than Chan stands out.
While the special effects are well done and the various scenic views are beautiful, Eternals' story is choppy and a little confusing. At a run time of two hours and thirty-seven minutes, the movie drags at points and doesn't really seem to be going anywhere very fast. The action sequences are typical of a Marvel movie and well-choreographed, but they can't make up for other areas where the film is lacking.
Besides a few references to Thanos or an Avenger here or there, Eternals doesn't blend with the MCU. It has a different look and feel, even more so than Black Widow did this summer. Of course, the ending and end credit scenes leave the movie open for a sequel, but one can only hope that quality will prevail over the lure of the almighty dollar.
Eternals is a decent film but not the best offering in the MCU (heck not even in my top ten) and sadly, it comes out in November because Marvel could have probably made some extra cash on Halloween costumes.