Eternals Review

Brainless, box-ticking nonsense for another ensemble assembled through throwing darts at a board of famous faces, Marvel storms through into another set of heroes and villains with Eternals. Hundreds and hundreds more unused, wasted characters wait in the wings to be adapted. Terrifying. It is not the act of pushing these characters into the spotlight, but the impact it has on the smaller teams out there making unique features. Round and round the novelty, dullard carousel goes as it adapts a group of F-List heroes and thrusts them into the same, budget-flexing arms of the Cinematic Universe. Scroll the text up the screen, why show when you can just tell. Scrolling pages of words, half of which are jargon specific to this lifeless universe, the other half explanatory adjectives providing froth-mouthed fans with a reason to care.

It’ll not work for those that aren’t fully on-board the Marvel train and steaming through life with a jolly romp with Spider-Man here or Iron Man there. Celestials and Deviants do battle, fancy synonyms for good and bad do battle with one another. Once more, Marvel proves themselves unable to craft something that can break the mould or offer something different to audiences. Chloé Zhao went from directing the incredibly well-thought-out Nomadland to the dreary and lifeless world of Sersi (Gemma Chan) and Richard Madden (Ikaris). What makes it so hard to care for these characters are not just longstanding issues for the Cinematic Universe that makes them look like a novel bunch of Power Rangers but a lacklustre attempt at making CGI effects and monsters at all interesting within this world that has been gone over with a fine-tooth comb.

Spotty that fine-tooth comb may be for Eternals, it is fascinating to see how lifeless the structure and worldbuilding is for this one. The use of actual locations rather than green screens for some scenes, a monumental change of pace and a challenge for this never-ending series of nonsense adaptations. A desire for everything to fit together makes it hard to drag Eternals out as an independent or unique concept. It is tied so closely to the MCU, not just by its characters and structure but by its lack of variety and its inability to showcase something that is not the same, trite storytelling as before. Dangerously close to everything else, with the unimportant fight scenes bringing vague chemistry between a large ensemble and fight scenes that do very little.

Demoralizingly uneventful and nothing of note, Eternals is the usual dud and drab affair. Barry Keoghan and Kumail Nanjiani are wasted, Salma Hayek a novel casting choice and Kit Harington a man who just needs to capitalise on his name value in the post-Game of Thrones wave. It is hard to feel much love for a movie commissioned with profit at its heart. The primary goal is cash, the tertiary goal is something unique. The issue is not that these movies make money, but that the same movie has been making money, duping people into believing this story of flashy, generic CGI beasts and disappointing visuals are worth hours and hours of their time. Eternals looks worse than most, not because it dared to be different, but because it fled for the shelter of complacency almost immediately.

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