Director: Chloé Zhao
What’s Good: Everything and anything conceptualized by Chloé Zhao and you can tell them apart from the few Marvel cliches that still remain in it
What’s Bad: That not many will see this film for what it actually is because of the banner it arrives with
Loo Break: A Marvel film over 150 minutes which demands too much popcorn & aerated drinks, it’ll be a problem if you don’t take a loo-break in between
Watch or Not?: Eternals is food for the soul for those craving for a Marvel movie which isn’t exactly a theme-park ride (looking at you Martin Scorsese!).
Available On: Theatrical Release
Runtime: 157 minutes
After Robert Downey’s Tony Stark, along with himself, snapped Thanos out of existence in Endgame, half of Earth’s population came back to life and witnessed all this drama (with maybe a tub of popcorn in their superheroic hands) were the Eternals. A group of demigods were allotted to this planet by Celestials (powerful cosmic beings, first of the universe) to protect it at any cost. Sersi (Gemma Chan), in the present day, fights with a Deviant, counterparts of Eternals who were believed to be wiped-off years ago but they’re back. Sersi does the most ‘Marvel’ thing doing a family reunion with other Eternals who arrive with a different backstory with them.
Bossiest of them all is Sersi’s ‘long-lost’ (thousands of years) cheater ex-boyfriend Ikaris (Richard Madden) who possess the Cyclops-like laser beam. We’ve Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), who is currently a Bollywood star, but he uses his hands (unlike Ikaris’ eyes) to project cosmic energy, Sprite (Lia McHugh) is a 12-year-old illusion master, Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) apart from being Marvel’s first openly gay superhero is the tech-guy of the team, Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) is Flash’s alternative of Eternals but she can’t speak making her this movie’s second ‘Marvel’s first’ (deaf superhero), Druig (Barry Keoghan) reads people’s mind to manipulate them, Gilgamesh (Don Lee) has a strong-smack as his superpower and Thena (Angelina Jolie), Goddess of war who’s currently at a war with her inner-self.
They’re led by Ajak (Salma Hayek), the only one who could talk to Arishem (the judge of one and all). The Eternals go against something that is against the pre-decided plan by Arishem to eliminate planet Earth. All of these ten come together to create a tale spanning over 7000 years in 2 hours and 30 odd minutes.
Eternals Movie Review: Script Analysis
Chloe Zhao (Songs My Brother Taught Me, Nomadland) pitched this movie to Marvel’s boss-man Kevin Feige quoting William Blake’s poem Auguries of Innocence and handed him a picture of a grain of sand. The poem starts as “To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour…” This is exactly what happens with Eternals, you hold an infinite amount of drama, emotions, intra-communal combat, love, lost love in the palm of your hand, and eternity in two hours and thirty-seven minutes. Zhao co-writes this with her fellow screenwriters Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, Kaz Firpo and she has orchestrated the most unmarvelous Marvel movie yet.
I entered the cinema hall donning a Justice League tee just for fun, after reading the bashing reviews of Eternals which trapped me to believe that this could be a meh affair. I’ve already booked another shown & nearly ironed my Marvel tee to witness Zhao’s magic as a fan and not as a critic. Saying this, I also understand why my fellow critics have bashed it because Eternals not only breaks Marvel’s template it completely shatters it (along with the people’s premonitory expectations with it).
Despite the outline is similar to “assembling a team to save planet Earth from otherworldly beings”, Eternals is more about the internal battle rather than a team of superheroes doing superheroic things together to eliminate a Purple-headed monster. Zhao focuses more on Sersi’s affinity towards humans that strengthens her belief in winning against the creator of everyone, she also highlights Ikaris’ connection with Icarus (the boy who flew too close to the sun), which also displays Thena’s internal struggle to believe and remember she’s loved. All of this apart from Marvel’s first Gay superhero who is a family man not wanting to get back to fighting deviants, a deaf superhero adding to the emotional drama and a comic-relief in Kumail Nanjiani. I know I’m repeating myself but all of this in around 150 minutes.
Chloe Zhao’s love for deserted lands levels up with Ben Davis’ cinematography as she makes you breathe amid the flying grain of sands whilst these demigods decide earth’s fate by fighting among themselves.
Eternals Movie Review: Star Performance
Gemma Chan brings in the required subtlety for Sersi (completely opposite to Game Of Thrones’ Cersei) and she maintains the innocence to perfectly display her character’s empathy for humans. Richard Madden has worn a costume before being responsible for epic battles, and that helps him to get comfortable into the skin of Ikaris.
Kumail Nanjiani is outrageously hilarious with every particle of his Indianness in him beautifully supported by his side Harish Patel. Lia McHugh plays an adult superhero trapped in the body of a 12-year-old and boy does she display jealousy with an equal amount of panache. Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos doesn’t add much apart from being the first you’ve-already-read-it-thrice for Marvel. Lauren Ridloff adds an adequate amount of emotions by being the one without any words.
Barry Keoghan plays the perfect di*khead following his logical beliefs as Druig but doesn’t get enough screentime to be memorable enough. Don Lee as Gilgamesh shares a beautiful sub-plot with Angelina Jolie and even though it’s the most unexpected one, both of them shine bright. Salma Hayek breaks out of her character with her Mexican accent but she’s just about okay as Ajak and that’s what her character is designed to demand. Kit Harington shares just a couple of scenes with the promise of a whole lot of them for the next Eternals.
Eternals Movie Review: Direction, Music
The whole Martin Scorsese-Marvel drama was exactly about the point beautifully addressed by Chloe Zhao in this one. Though I’ve been team Marvel in the debate but after seeing Eternals, I felt to the core of my heart what Scorsese was trying to say. Zhao takes Marvel’s cinematic universe subtracting most of the usual things we’ve seen before adding humanism to each of her characters.
I entered the cinema hall without watching a single promo and reading a single detail about the film. Throughout, I tried to guess who could be the music composer and I was juggling between Ludwig Göransson & Michael Giacchino but it was the climax that made me realise how this could be the comeback of Ramin Djawadi to Marvel. He did compose the music for Iron Man (2008) when it all started and now he’s here with the first multi-hero film of phase 4. Music in the climax sequence will take you back to Game Of Thrones’ ‘Light Of The Seven’ cementing Djawadi’s love for soul-crushing arias.
Eternals Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, People are complaining there’s isn’t ‘Marvel’ in Eternals, I’d just conclude by answering all of them by saying – even if this had enough Marvel, y’all would’ve been the first ones to say ‘Eternals tries to mimic Endgame but fails because of Chloe Zhao’s arthouse intervention’. It’s hard to keep everyone happy!
Eternals releases on 3 November, 2021.
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Not into superhero flicks? Check out our No Time To Die movie review if you love Bond-action!