Chloë zhao comes from a highly decorated span of films that could be best described as intimately naturalistic, to take on the latest and grandest marvel movie yet. Maybe as another attempt at marvel trying to embrace different approaches in their storytelling process following the craze of wandavision and Loki, eternals both succeeds and fails where past marvel films avoided.
From the comic pages of jack Kirby, comes the larger than life itself story of beings who have been here for centuries aiding humanity and that scale can be felt throughout the movie by the bold incursions into our history and the unflinching size and power of the characters.
Everything aiding the story is heightened to breathtaking levels, from the magnificent score by Ramin Djawadi to the amazing cinematography of Ben Davis, and the set design, costumes and a large part of the vfx, all work in tandem to draw the audience into the latest dimension of marvel heroes.
Chloe’s hand can be seen in moments breaking the natural flow of an ordinary superhero movie with her spending delicate time of breathtaking scenery and character interactions that both elevate the film but also slowed it down extensively.
The writing itself is marred by extreme cases of exposition which is expected for such a freshly minted lore, and the usual marvel dabbing of humor which works in some places but completely takes one out in others.
Eternals is a lot to take in on a first look. The movie itself feels like a sequel where the liberties of familiarizing with the characters in-depth was done in a different film, but since no such film exist, all the characters are squeezed down our throats that prove too much in too little time regardless of the long 158-minute runtime. That being said, the characters are handled with intention and there are enough moments of growth, motivations and connection with each other and the audience.
The ensemble cast is amazing to watch. Gemma Chan is spectacular as Sersi. Richard Madden is amazing as Ikaris and they share electrifying chemistry together. Angelina jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh and the other eternals sell their characters well enough with the little time they are entrusted on the screen.
The movie tries its best to escape the winning formula of marvel’s predecessors while still holding the gleam of a comic book film, which only lands it in a murky space where if it wasn’t the 26th marvel film, it wouldn’t feel like it should live up to existing expectations. The kind of space where comic book films such as v for vendetta, watchmen and blade thrived no longer exist and as such, eternals brave take feels out of place.
The movie falls short on the antagonist side given the vast amount of time delved into the main characters that the villains just don’t impact the story that much nor cause a valid intensity of stakes. On the Brightside though, the movie opens some doors into the larger marvel universe that offers excitement for the next phase of marvel movies.
In conclusion, eternals is fun to watch. There are obvious flaws and the plot took too much to handle on one plate, but still offers some of the best worldbuilding and visual from marvel to date. Sequels or not, the lore of eternals is well translated into the big screen. Marvel and general movie fans should give it a try.
Ps. Two end credit scene, both with interesting promise for the future of marvel so keep some pop corn for the credits.
Au revoir, till the next watch.
By Kelvin Kyle