Review: ‘Eternals’ shines in ambition but falls throughout

“Eternals” slowly stumbles around runtime


Courtesy of Marvel.

Recent Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao was tasked with directing one of Marvel’s most ambitious projects yet, “Eternals.” The team had never been established prior to their movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). “Eternals” follows a group of immortal beings who have been secretly living among the people of Earth who have reunited after not seeing each other for many centuries. 

Along with being Marvel’s most ambitious project yet, it’s also one of Marvel’s worst-reviewed films. Despite the numerous criticisms, a lot of it is nitpicking and pure homophobia. Even with the flaws outdoing the positives, there’s still a sense of appreciation for what Zhao was able to achieve. The uniqueness of it compared to the rest of the films in the series makes this movie enjoyable or at least a bit interesting to watch. 

Like any other MCU film, each film succeeds or fails in many elements such as soundtrack, action and acting, but with “Eternals,” something noticeable off the bat was its cinematography. The cinematography by Ben Davis mimics the exact grand scale atmosphere and beauty of a comic book panel drawn out by Jack Kirby. Every wide shot fills the audience with goosebumps, especially toward the end. With every MCU movie, along comes an over usage in CGI but it was held back this time which made it feel like a breath of fresh air. 

The crammed-in characters in “Eternals” was a mixed bag because some of them felt underdeveloped or overdeveloped. A few characters even disappear from the film with them given a lazily written reason for their absence. There are too many characters with too little time. Even with the runtime being two hours and 30 minutes, it doesn’t feel like there’s any justice within everyone. The most important characters such as Sersi (Gemma Chan) or Ikaris (Richard Madden) are given so much screen time, yet the viewer isn’t interested in them at the end. The more interesting characters are the ones who aren’t given much to do such as Druig (Barry Keoghan) and Makkari (Lauren Ridloff). Ajak (Salma Hayek) felt wasted as she served as the emotional factor for a lot of the characters but the impact was missing. Kro (Bill Skarsgard), the main antagonist, is the typical MCU villain who wants to destroy the world for their own sake. He was completely underdeveloped and wasn’t even properly introduced until around the second act. There really isn’t much else to be said about the other members as they are either uninteresting or unlikeable. 

The MCU formula is what keeps every movie in the franchise consistent in tone for the most part, but that’s where “Eternals” fails the hardest. It’s trying too hard to be something else while still being the same thing. It’s like doing every homework assigned to a student in one night. When it’s trying to follow the standard MCU formula, the film feels slow in pace. The comradery of everyone in the group can’t even help the pace as it’s told from the beginning that they’ve been a family so no further establishment is needed. It’s all shoved in the viewer’s face and not a single connection could be made due to it. 

There’s so much to say, but it can’t be put into words easily. A lot of its praise mostly comes from the fact of its uniqueness. “Eternals” could definitely improve in its sequel, which it is definitely going to get, but for its first installment, it’s a 4/10.