Chloé Zhao bursts into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a methodically told unique beauty of a story that unfolds with stunning visuals and some great performances. While it is sure to be one of the most divisive films of the MCU, there is no denying that Eternals sets off in a new, exciting direction for Marvel.
Sent to Earth thousands of years ago to take on ancient creatures known as Deviants, the Eternals reunite as a threats emerge that could result in the destruction of the world. Eternals is the most visually enticing Marvel film yet, combining stunning visual effects with practical shots that take advantage of robust scenery and natural backdrops, setting the foundation upon which the talented cast can shine. Led by the exceptional performances of Gemma Chan and Richard Madden, Eternals features the most diverse and complimentary Marvel ensemble yet; Brian Tyree Henry is an obvious standout for the depth of his character and his constant injection of constant humor. Some are more interesting than others, of course, but each important for the overall dynamic.
The film is a heavy lift with a grand story that requires time to be told, to explore these new characters, and to understand their presence in a cinematic universe that has long been established without them. Zhao, it turns out, is the perfect filmmaker to shepherd in the Eternals, dissecting each of them individually and as a group. Some may refer to this approach as slow, but I would argue that each choice is intentional, well thought out, and ultimately impactful. There are areas of the storytelling that could have been tightened up; the film is about 20 minutes too long, but it all works as the true breath of the story unfolds with unexpected twists and turns. The film introduces us to a new type of Marvel superhero and, appropriately, tosses the worn-out blue print of previous entries for a bold swing that greatly pays off. But have no fear, the action is plentiful and fresh while the superhero grandeur permeates throughout.
Eternals is intimate, fun, and exactly what Phase 4 needed. It’s clear that we’ve only scratched the surface of this new corner of the MCU and I’m impatiently waiting, ready for more. I loved it.
Eternals hits theaters November 5th, 2021.
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