X-Geeks

Eternals Review

By Robert Ernest (@thatRobster | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

This review is spoiler-free.

Continuing with Marvel’s phase 4, Eternals introduces us to a bunch of new superheroes who have been lurking in the background for 7000 years.

Directed by Chloé Zhao, this film feels quite far removed from the MCU and has a really different tone to what we have seen previously. There’s even a sex scene! The Eternals are a group of immortals who have been sent from Olympus and given the responsibility of protecting Earth. Together, they are a formidable force and they have some very cool powers to boot.

Led by Ajak (Salma Hayek) we see these heroes protect Earth’s evolving inhabitants from deviants throughout time. The visual effects in this film are absolutely stunning. Just beautiful. We journey through points in time as the story unfolds and see how they give history and evolution just a little nudge in the right direction, mainly helped along by Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and his genius in creating things. The Mesozoic Age in particular was spectacular.
The film boasts a truly inclusive and diverse cast. Gemma Chan is pushed to the forefront as Sersi and her ability to manipulate matter is brilliant. Even though this is an ensemble cast, Sersi does take a lead as some of the others suffer from lack of screen time and one of my gripes is that I just didn’t feel Gemma or Sersi makes a convincing lead. Her on/off love interest, Ikaris (Richard Madden) really does though, giving us a character quite similar to Cyclops who offers a hell of a lot of gravitas and consistently commands the screen. Richard is excellent to watch the whole way through. Complications in their relationship appear in the form of her new boyfriend, Dane Whitman (Kit Harrington). The Game of Thrones nerd in me found it extremely exciting to see Richard and Kit share some scenes together and also found it hilarious that Robb Stark and Jon Snow were both in love with a woman called Sersi!

Angelina Jolie is an impressive signing for the MCU and she does a great job as Thena, an incredible warrior with mental health issues that are portrayed sensitively. Her relationship with the super-strong Gilgamesh (Don Lee) is lovely to watch. While it may be hinted that there’s some romance there, their relationship is mostly formed on friendship and him wanting to protect her. Barry Keoghan gives us a very interesting character in Druig who is a member of the team who breaks loose and abuses his powers in mind control. His alliances are questionable and I wish we had more from him. The same can be said for Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) who has super speed and gains extra abilities from being deaf. Lauren is excellent in The Walking Dead and gives us equal excellence here. She exudes calm and grace and has a great moment towards the end. Similar to Druig, illusionist Sprite (Lia McHugh) jumps ship and changes alliances and her eternal youth causes rifts within the team. Last and certainly not least, a buffed-up Kamail Nanjiani brings the comedic relief with Kingo who can manipulate energy. Now living as a Bollywood star, he’s hilarious to watch as he documents the team as they reunite to work together against a new threat on Earth. Kamail is fantastic casting. His pal, Karun (Harish Patel) was also one of my most favourite things about the film. More Karun, please.

Rightly so, there have been concerns about how their absence during Thanos’ attack would be explained and I feel like this was dealt with well. Them all being told to stay out of the wars and battles on the planet was a plausible reason. The storyline throughout the film is actually really good and the twists and turns along the way keep your interest peaked. It felt like at times as the film was building momentum it would deliver a flashback and I didn’t really enjoy the back and forth. As an origin story, this felt a bit more stunted than what we saw in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings which really set this new phase off onto a strong start.

With an impressive cast and sublime visual effects, Eternals is stylish and mythological. Its concept is really interesting and a second outing will be quite exciting, just as it will be to see these characters begin to interact with the more established Marvel heroes. We normally have cameos when new characters are introduced into the world and I actually think this benefitted from not having that as this felt much more standalone for the moment. The two mid/post-credits scenes are fantastic and are worth going to see the film just to see them alone.

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