On Nov. 5, Marvel released their movie, Eternals, which follows a team of ten immortal beings and their quest of fighting creatures to protect the people on Earth. They have secretly settled there in the shadows to protect them for thousands of years.
Similar to Doctor Strange, these superheroes are more like wizards. Eternals were created by Celestials, which are humanoid creatures from space. Each of the Eternals has their unique power, from the ability to create illusions to the ability to look into the minds of humans and hypnotize them. Ajak, who is played by Salma Hayek, is the leader of the group. She has an orb in her chest that lets her speak to the Celestial that made them and healing powers.
Some of the crucial characters also include Sersi (Gemma Chan), Gilgamesh (Ma dong-seok), Thena (Angelina Jolie), and Ikaris (Richard Madden). Sersi is the main character in the movie and has the power of manipulating matter. Ikarus, who is the “loyal soldier,” can shoot energy beams from his eyes. Thena is the goddess of war and can manifest different weapons using cosmic energy. She suffers a psychological affliction that causes her to forget where she is in time from all of the memories she has acquired from other worlds. Gilgamesh is physically the strongest hero of the team and has super strength. He is also the one that agrees to take care of Thena.
The film is big on family and protecting the ones you care for, which was one of our priorities this past year. Director Chloé Zhao helps portray different types of platonic and romantic affection by displaying different characters and their bonds with each other. Some of the platonic relationships we see are between Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Gilgamesh, and Thena. Zhao shows us that complex relationships can exist in big superhero movies and don’t have to end up like Sersi and Ikaris, where it is clear that their relationship is romantic.
The movie is something we have never seen from Marvel before. New heroes and new notions are introduced as the movie is mostly focused on space and dives deeper into the cosmic side. They are constantly expressing how the project “changes the MCU forever.” The movie certainly suggests that Marvel still has a lot more in store for us and Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is only expanding. Eternals felt like an introduction to this new concept, and the last scene shows that these characters are a part of a big conflict in the future that will then change the MCU.
I watched the movie in 3D with one of my good friends. It was also the first time I have ever watched a film on its premiere date as well, so I was pretty excited for the whole experience. There were two post-credit scenes, and it is always exciting to find out who the real Marvel fans are in the theater based on whether or not they stay seated.
One of the things I thought was done well was the CGI work. The scenes where Makkari is speed-running were super clean and satisfying to watch. Another thing I truly appreciated was how diverse the casting was. Kingo, played by Kumail Nanjiani, is the first South Asian hero in a Marvel movie, and Makkari is the first deaf hero. Unfortunately, deaf and South Asian representation is rarely shown in the film industry, so to have superheroes that portray those communities was long-awaited by many. With gay parents, Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and Ben (Haaz Sleiman) in the project, the LGBTQ+ community is also represented.
Overall, I would give the film a 7.5/10, which is an average rating in my book. Despite this, critics might disagree with me. According to Insider, Eternals is “the lowest domestic debut for an MCU movie since 2015’s ‘Ant-Man.’” Although the project opened with $17 million at the box office over its first weekend, it’s underwhelming compared to other Marvel movies that were released this year, like Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. With a 48% Rotten Tomatoes critic score, some argue that the unusually low rating is because of its diverse casting, which is weird to me because I would think most critics and audiences have been asking for diversity.
I would recommend Eternals to people who like movies about family and tight bonds because you can feel the love between the characters while watching the film. Watching the characters’ eyes light up when they are around each other is very comforting to me. Despite this, be aware that there is an intimate scene featured. You can also expect a few funny lines throughout Eternals, just like any other MCU project. Nothing makes me happier than hearing laughter around me when watching movies in the theater. It gives me faith in humanity and makes me believe that there are still good people and moments in the world.