Director Chloé Zhao applies her distinctive aesthetic imprint to “Eternals,” Is Eternals A Movie? Let’s see…
Director Chloé Zhao imprints “Eternals” with her own artistic fingerprint, but she can only do so much to bend the Marvel Cinematic Universe to her way. Is Eternals A Movie As a result, the film is a blockbuster of extraordinary soft beauty that simultaneously struggles to meet the colossal demands of a gigantic action extravaganza?
In a nutshell, it’s a shambles. It’s also 2 hours and 37 minutes lengthy, which I can’t emphasize enough. Nonetheless, since the brilliant, diverse ensemble is so large and so much world-building must take place, “Eternals” ultimately feels hurried and disappointing.
The mythology in this film is both complicated and frequently ridiculous, with the film coming to a stand around the one-hour mark for a lengthy information dump. By the end, you may still be confused about what’s going on, but you may also not care.
Zhao, the recently minted Academy Award winner for Best Picture and Director for the sparse and personal “Nomadland,” does, however, demonstrate a lot of her trademark style. Those of you who were intrigued by Zhao’s choice and wondered what her version of the MCU might look like will be relieved to learn that she manages to find magic hour wherever she goes, from a breezy sunset on the shores of ancient Babylon to ominous storm clouds gathering on the plains of present-day South Dakota.
Working with cinematographer Ben Davis, who previously filmed “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Doctor Strange,” and “Captain Marvel,” she frequently allows us to slow down, take a breath, and savor a moment of realism and calm. The sun-baked heat of the windswept Australian outback is palpable. A nighttime action scene set in a torch-lit woodland is exceptionally beautiful.
They, however, do not endure long. Because there’s a large, raucous comic book beast to feed.
Zhao and her co-writers Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, and Kaz Firpo lurch around in time in an awkward manner to convey the narrative of a group of immortal creatures that live covertly on Earth. Each has his or her own special talents, but they also have the quick wit that has been so common in Marvel films. The casting and qualities on exhibit here are groundbreaking and, at first, glance, give us hope that we’re in for something completely new.
Natural variety is at work in ways we haven’t seen from the Avengers, for example. The inclusive aspect of “Eternals” seems both exhilarating and seamless, from the leadership of Salma Hayek’s Ajak and Gemma Chan’s Sersi to Brian Tyree Henry and Haaz Sleiman as a homosexual couple with a young boy to Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari, whose hearing handicap is her superpower. Angelina Jolie’s Thena is a fierce warrior who also suffers from mental illness, which is handled sympathetically in the film. Lia McHugh, on the other hand, brightens things up as the androgynous, eternally young Sprite.
Perhaps most notably, two characters have actual intercourse, which is unusual and long overdue in a cinematic universe where everyone is super-hot, strong, and clad in form-fitting clothes. The sequence is quick, but it does a lot in conveying a deeper and more sensitive feeling of humanity in these comic book characters. Tony Stark and Pepper Potts were most likely responsible. Clint Barton most emphatically did because he had children. However, most prior romantic relationships have involved mild flirtation at most, so seeing these characters act like adults in this fashion is another another evidence of the potential that lurks inside “Eternals.”
However, there is a storyline that will leave your head as swiftly as it came. In a nutshell, the Eternals have dispersed over the planet in the millennia after they came on Earth in a spaceship resembling a massive, black marble Dorito. They’ve been quietly leading mankind and combating voracious, sinewy beasts known as Deviants all along. However, a potentially cataclysmic incident compels them to abandon the comfortable lifestyles they’ve built for themselves, reassemble (if you’ll excuse the pun) and utilize their combined talents to avert what is effectively the apocalypse.
Again! To follow “Eternals,” you don’t need to be well-versed in Marvel lore in general or Jack Kirby’s trippy comic series in particular; aside from a brief reference to Thanos and why these heroes didn’t intervene to stop the events of “Avengers: Infinity War,” this feels more like a standalone film than most in the MCU. Having said that, if you’re a fan, you’ll get more out of the film, and the necessary end-credit scenes will mean even more to you.
As centuries-old, on-again lovers, Chan’s Sersi, with her transmutational skills, and Richard Madden’s Ikaris, a flexible, Superman-type figure, star heavily. As endearing as Madden is, Chan has more chemistry with Kit Harington, who plays Sersi’s mortal, London-based lover, Dane Whitman, who shares Sersi’s interest in archaeology. Whatever emotional stakes these characters may have, soaring around and zapping enemies with eye lasers takes precedence. You can feel the strain of trying to juggle everything. And the climax action spectacular is so slick and cacophonous that it might have been pulled from any number of soulless sci-fi spectacles from the previous decade, suffocating all the minor pleasures we’d liked along the way.
As a pretentious Bollywood star, a freshly buff Kumail Nanjiani gives some chuckles, Don Lee provides a compassionate presence despite his massive size, and Barry Keoghan only needs to come there to have us experience his creepy mood. All of these performers demonstrate that they are ready for the job of establishing complex characters amid the frenzy of the MCU machinery. Regrettably, they—and Zhao—can only function as cogs.