Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Movie Review: Eternals

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Some fun action, nice change from usual origin story
Cons: Repetitive plot in middle of film
The Bottom Line:
Superhero team
Story drags in the middle
Could have been better

“Well, I Guess You Must be the Pilot.”

I’ve done it.  After letting myself get behind on the Marvel movies last year, I’m all caught up again.  I didn’t intentionally save Eternals for last, but it was the one I’d heard the most mixed reviews for, and I can see where they are coming from.

This movie is a bit of a departure for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Our heroes are a team of eternal beings (I know, shocking from the title) who were sent to Earth millennia ago in order to protect us from the Deviants, horrible creatures that would have killed us off long ago without the Eternals.  Once the Deviants were vanquished, the Eternals went undercover, living among us.  A new attack by a Deviant in modern London makes them start reuniting.  However, a shocking discovery along the way will change their understanding of who they are.

Yes, I’m being vague and not going into the characters too much.  Honestly, that’s because this is a group film.  In some ways, this is focused on Sersi, played by Gemma Chan, and you could argue that this is her story.  But I still feel like this is more about the group of characters than any one character.

I do complain about superhero movies, especially first ones, being formulaic.  I didn’t feel that was the case here at all.  While most of the story takes place in the present, we do get some flashbacks to other times to help flesh out the Eternals backstory.  That was a very welcome change of pace.  We also didn’t have the characters learning about their powers.

On the other hand, outside of one or two characters, we didn’t really get to know any of them.  I liked them, but I wasn’t that invested in them or their story.  It’s hard to balance an ensemble movie like this, but this one didn’t do it for me.

Then there’s the story.  It started well, and I was intrigued by what the characters were learning.  But then the plot got into repeat mode as we hunted down a member of the team, told them what was going on, got their reaction, went on to the next one, etc.  It grew repetitive.  I was ready to get on to the action.

When it comes to action, we are well rewarded.  The action is thrilling and fun.  The special effects are great as well.

The acting?  I felt like it could have been a little better.  Maybe I just don’t know the characters, but I felt like they weren’t that connected to each other or the story they were telling.

Parents are sure to expect the action related violence and the little bit of foul language in the film.  There is a heterosexual implied sex scene about thirty minutes into the movie.  While we don’t see any body parts, we do see skin, and it is easy to figure out what is going on.  We also learn another member of the team is a homosexual and meet his husband over the course of the film.  You know your kids best, so you can decide when you are comfortable with them watching this PG-13 rated movie.

The repetitive nature of the plot made this movie less than it could have been.  I’m sure we will see the impact from Eternals in upcoming Marvel stories, so I’m glad I saw it.  But if you are only casually following the Marvel movies, you can skip this one.

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