Movie Review: Marvel’s ‘Eternals’ Flatters to Deceive

Director Chloe Zhao’s latest Marvel superhero flick is not a weighty as most expected it would be, lacking the heart and soul that’s kept the MCU alive over the years.

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When Marvel first announced they were bringing Jack Kirby’s Eternals to live action, the news was graced with lots of excitement given the rich history of the characters. However, reviews have not been kind to it, and most moviegoers would have felt hard done by Marvel after raising so many expectations.

After saving and guiding the earth through many civilizations, the Eternals face their ultimate showdown with the Deviants- their archenemies, and after many years of being apart with blood between them, they learn that alongside their foes, they’ve been nothing but puppets in the hands of the Celestials who designed them for an ulterior agenda to the one known to the majority of them.

It’s all been a lie, there is no planet Olympia, and there is no home for the Eternals; rather, they’ve been made to transcend from one celestial civilisation to the other, helping their creators allegedly maintain the balance of the universe.

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However, they’re infected by humanity’s compassionate and buoyant nature (a plot we’ve been sold too many times), and decide to rebel against the Celestials, to protect the earth from being annihilated for another celestial civilisation.

The film flatters to deceive, showing a lot of facile promises and lacking the heart and soul typical of other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies (at least since Avengers, 2012). A curtailed disaster.

Angelina Jolie had been advertised as the face of Eternals, only for the movie to play out with the veteran actress playing a somewhat peripheral role that most audiences will struggle to connect with. It wasn’t even because she wasn’t given enough screen time. In fact, apart from emerging as the killer of the film’s antagonist– leader of the Deviants– her involvement was an entire waste. Perhaps she will have a bigger say in the sequel movies, but for now, it’s hard to picture how.

We also saw Kit Harrington make his MCU debut, although nothing much was expected from his first outing in the franchise, with the full package coming when he fully morphs into Black Knight. But it was actor Kumail Nanjani who mainly caught the eye with his performance, often giving the audience something to cheer about.

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Prior to the release of Eternals, Marvel had released two MCU phase 4 movies- ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Shang Chi and The Legend Of The Ten Rings,’ but they have also forced fans to settle for less in the hope that something greater was coming. That something was supposed to be Eternals, although they still have ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home at the ready for a December premiere.

Nonetheless, a genuine review of all Marvel titles, including miniseries that premiered this year, will reveal a huge drop in standards, with the exception of ‘Black Widow,’ and WandaVision in particular. Shang Chi was a little over average, the same as the miniseries ‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.’ The rest have been pretty much basic and far from the standards set in MCU phase 3.

It will now be over to ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ to save the year for Marvel as far as many critics are concerned. Especially if they want to enjoy anything near the commercial success, they had with the Avengers movie series.

Final Rating: 2/5

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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