Eternals (2021)

[5]

Spoilers ahead.

A group of immortal beings called Eternals were sent to Earth centuries ago to fight a bunch of monsters called Deviants so the human race could survive and thrive. After all the monsters were vanquished, the Eternals lived among the humans for eons and kinda fell in love with them. So it really sucks when they learn they’ve been lied to by their god-like boss, a ‘Celestial’ named Arishem. Turns out the Eternals are really just fancy robots Arishem made to prepare planets for destruction. Arishem basically blasts his seed into a planet where it gestates for millennia. Then the baby Celestial destroys the planet by literally bursting out of it Alien-style. Humanity’s only hope is that the Eternals love us enough to go against their boss and abort his baby.

With most Marvel movies, the difference between a good one and bad one is the charm of its cast. Kumail Nanjiani brings some humor as an Eternal-turned-Bollywood star, and Angelina Jolie gets some sympathy as a warrior prone to schizophrenic breaks when her memories act up. But overall, this batch of characters is pretty stuffy and reserved. The casting is uniformly terrific, but these simply aren’t the warmest characters in the Marvel universe.

Eternals is better with ideas. I like that our protagonists are basically neophyte humans trying to forge some sort of family — that’s the emotional glue that holds the movie together. I also like the subtext dealing with creators and creatures, servitude and slavery, and the perils of technological advancement. Eternals is probably the headiest Marvel movie yet, and one of the best directed, imbued with grace and beauty by Oscar-winner ChloĆ© Zhao (Nomadland).

And yet it’s not enough.

It might be that the personalities just aren’t strong enough. Or that the ideas aren’t explored deeply enough. Or maybe we’re all just fatigued with end-of-the-world scenarios after Avengers: Endgame. Or maybe there are just too many damned superhero movies.

Probably a little of all the above.

With Salma Hayek, Richard Madden (looking sexy as FUCK), Gemma Chan, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Barry Keoghan, Kit Harington, Lauren Ridloff, Don Lee, and Harish Patel.

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