Marvel’s Eternals falls flat

Dailey Jogan '24 and Cecile Walsh '24

On Nov. 5, 2021, a year after the originally planned release date, the long awaited Eternals movie was released to theaters. With a movie budget of 200 million dollars, Gemma Chan and Richard Madden take the leading roles in the new series of Marvel movies.

As long time viewers and enjoyers of the Marvel cinematic universe, it’s needless to say that we had high expectations going into this film. In some ways, they were met, in other ways, they were very much missed.

Although this is the first movie in the Eternals era, we saw many verbal and cinematic parallels to the preceding Avengers movies while watching. The movie followed the same blueprint as many other recent Marvel movies such as Black Widow and Shang-Chi. They all have similar causes of conflict, but were executed in different ways from one another.

The intricate timeline, used to explain where the Eternals were during the past tragedies, only added to the overall confusion of the movie. The main plot was explained briefly and without much clarity, leading us to confusion and the constant need to ask what was happening. Multiple times throughout the movie, there were scenes where it was very difficult to follow and generally scattered.

Some characters also felt pointless and unnecessary to the plot as a whole. Many felt like they were there only to fill up space due to their lack of dialogue and low presence in the action scenes, even if certain characters are meant to be featured more heavily in upcoming films.

Many of the characters were just confusing in general- there wasn’t much cohesion or anything to follow. While each character did have a distinct personality and distinguishable traits, the true connection of some of the characters felt inconsistent at times.

The script was written in a style that was very true to the Marvel brand, with big speeches and missed jokes. While the script wasn’t bad as a whole, it did feel repetitive at several different points through the two hour and thirty seven minute movie. There were many moments in the movie where we were able to accurately predict exactly what was going to come next.

The writers of the screenplay, Chloé Zhao, Kaz Firpo, Ryan Firpo and Patrick Burleigh, used foreshadowing as a subtle tool that was visible from everything to the clothes to witty remarks.

Despite the script leaving something to be desired, the acting did not disappoint. The emotion and deliverance of the lines is not to be understated when looking at the movie as a whole. Many actors we had not heard of prior to the movie inspired us to look into more of their work after seeing such vivid depictions of their characters.

The action scenes met but did not exceed expectations. The use of green screen and CGI was apparent and occasionally overwhelming and unbelievable. Some of the movements felt like they were taken out of the Twilight movies; we felt it was odd because Marvel generally does a very good job on its special effects.

However, the introduction of new powers did keep the whole theater interested and intrigued. We also felt the costume and set design was done very well, giving each character their own personality that set them apart from the others through their clothing and setting.

The musical composition of the movie allowed the action to be the main focus of many scenes. It did not distract from the tension in the high intensity moments, however it added to the overall experience of the moment.

The attention to detail was nothing less than expected coming from a Marvel movie; everything was done with intention and continuity was strong from scene to scene. Nothing should be overlooked even in the small, seemingly unimportant, details of the movie.

The additional two post credit scenes only added to the suspense and anticipation for the next movie to be released, leaving us with mere moments of what is to come. These scenes include a new character played by a popular figure in the media that will draw new fans to the franchise on its own, something we were very excited about.

While there were some downsides to the movie, there were some parts that were riveting and attention grabbing, as expected from a movie with so much build up and dedication put into it. There were comedic scenes that would elicit a bubble of laughter from the audience, and other darker and more dramatic scenes that would put everyone, quite literally, on the edge of their seats. The playful attitude written into the movie that contained more difficult concepts to comprehend made the movie feel more watchable and overall enjoyable than it would have been without them, which is something we think that Marvel does a good job of overall.

This movie also offered a large amount of diversity through the cast and the stories. It offered more recognition for people of various audiences, particularly with the introduction of the first sole ASL communicating hero. This not only offered members of the audience the opportunity to feel more seen and comfortable, but allowed for Marvel to express themselves as a more inclusive company.

Throughout the week leading up to the release, the reviews of the movie came in rating it very poorly. After seeing these, we tried to go into the movie with an open mind, wanting it to be the best. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite make the cut.

To conclude, do we think Eternals is the best movie Marvel has ever released? No. It doesn’t stand out or feel all that revolutionary from other movies that have been produced. Is it worth the watch? Probably. Depending on where the universe heads with upcoming projects, it doesn’t hurt to be filled in on different plotlines this movie offers, even if they are difficult to wrap your head around.