Eternals a welcome entry in the MCU – movie review

By Alexandra Heilbron on November 4, 2021 | Leave a Comment

Kumail Nanjiani, Gemma Chan and Lia McHugh in EternalsEternals follows the story of 10 superbeings who were created in 5,000 BC to protect the universe from creatures known as Deviants, who destroy any beings they can get their claws on.

The Eternals, made up of Sersi (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Thena (Angelina Jolie), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Gilgamesh (Don Lee) and their leader Ajak (Salma Hayek), are forbidden from getting involved in or helping with any human conflicts. They weren’t able to help the Avengers when Thanos wiped out half the population on Earth. The Celestial Arishem, who created them, has tasked them only with stopping Deviants — nothing more.

Each of the Eternals have different powers, so whenever Deviants turn up, they need to join forces to battle them. When the Deviants have finally been destroyed, the Eternals, with nothing to do and with their hands tied due to the restrictions placed on them, are divided. Some of them, especially Druig, want to help humans, which leads to the Eternals splitting up.

In the present day, Sersi has fallen in love with a human (Kit Harington) on Earth, and Sprite, forever 12 years old, is tagging along. Gilgamesh is watching over Thena, who has been having violent outbursts due to the extent of the thousands of years of memories overloading her brain. Phastos has a human husband and child, and Kingo, hilariously played by Kumail Nanjiani, has become a Bollywood star/diva. Ikaris rounds them up because he has a message to deliver from the Celestials that affects all of them.

The movie jumps back and forth in time, showing us what they’ve been through over the past 7,000 years. The cinematography and special effects are breathtaking and make the movie an enjoyable one to watch, despite its length. What takes away from the story is the fact that we only get brief glimpses into the personalities of each of the Eternals and their connections to each other. With a running time of two hours and 37 minutes, a little more time could have focused on that, to get the audience a little more involved in caring what happens to them.

A big plus for this movie is the diversity of the characters and the talent of each and every cast member. Lia McHugh, playing the youngest and most effervescent of the Eternals, stands out, as does Gemma Chan, playing Sersi, who often takes on a leadership role within the team in her quiet and thoughtful way.

Eternals is an ambitious undertaking and it will undoubtedly be received as a welcome entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the multitudes of fans looking for something a little bit different than any other Marvel film they’ve seen before. Making her Marvel debut, Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao had her work cut out for her, but she makes an impressive first entry in the story of the Eternals.

As always with Marvel movies, there are entertaining credits sequences and a card that tells audiences the Eternals will return. That’s good news, because there’s still so much to learn about these characters. ~Alexandra Heilbron

4 out of 5 stars

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