Eternals [Grade: 86.25%]

Director: Chloé Zhao

Story By: Chloé Zhao, Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, and Kaz Firpo. 

Cast: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Brian Tyree Henry, Angelina Jolie, Lia McHugh, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Ma Dong-seok, Harish Patel, & Kit Harrington

* * *

I could see this film being more successful as a really serious, yet comedic and middle aged take on the Marvel universe… or even a comedic film about a group of underground, power holders who want to be like the Avengers (like a Blankman meets Thunder Force meets Kick-Ass type of film).  

* * *

Below are my grades for key components in #Eternals that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character (pertaining to arc/development &/or delivery). FYI: My A=95, A- =90, B=85, B-=80…etc. My D- =60 and my F=50

Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch/$$$, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start, OR experience is intentionally relevant to the genre and executed well–nothing more), Wait for Streaming, Don’t Rush, & Don’t Watch.

I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.

* * *

Theme: A

Plot & Story: A-

Pacing: B

Character: C

* * *

Entertainment Factors

General Public: Interesting Enough

Film Enthusiasts: Interesting Enough

Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Worth the Watch/$$$

Marvel Fans: Interesting Enough

* * *

TAKEAWAYS:

1. I found myself more actively interested and attentive during the second half of the film—i.e. the second part of Act 2, and all of Act 3. The first half of the film came off a little messy to me due to some of the editing choices. I was aware that the “back and forth” was meant to shed some light on each character from the past before we saw them in the present, but it felt so rushed and random to the point of me eventually not really having the ability to care about/invest in who they were.

I don’t know why they didn’t just use all of Act One to be the past…??? 🤷🏾‍♂️

2. The moment I started to realize one of film connections/similarities, I knew what the twist could possibly be…so it wasn’t as exciting when it happened. 🥴

3. Sooo… was Sprite age-phishing in an adult club? Not sure how I felt about that… doesn’t really seem safe… 🥴

4. Eternals is a story about a group of powerful beings brought about at the start of existence to watch over and protect humanity in order to complete an ultimate goal for the universe. I found the story to be pretty strong EXCEPT for the love story that was woven in—it really bothered me. 🤷🏾‍♂️👍🏾

Act One shares the screen time jumping back and forth between the past and present, but starts with our team in early Mesopotamia showcasing glimpses of their power as they fight against these creatures who seem to feed on humans. Additionally, we see the cultivation of this love story that, for me, disrupted my ability to hold on to the core story at times. 

Act Two eventually remains in the present, spending time getting our team together; setting up the conflict which follows through on, and impacts the ultimate goal for the universe; and continues with this “love” piece for a sense of continuity and additional impact on how the plot moves.  

Act Three brings the action and intensity as the ultimate goal for the universe intersects with humanity and with the love story (and the way the “love story” was utilized in Act Three was such a forced and lazy cliché to me).

5. It was honestly really difficult for me to invest in the characters. The ONLY character I found myself attached to was Kingo, and I think it was because he was the most interesting and entertaining character of all. After Kingo, I was really loving Thena who had the potential to lead the arc for all the characters, but wasn’t utilized well in my opinion. 

Now overall, the arc for the team was strongest during the second half of the film once the conflict is known. I also think this was the case for me due to the the second half of the film being the most cohesive with editing, so the characters were able to actually move through the plot more seamlessly vs in the first half where the choppiness of trying to cover 7-8 quick back stories that attempted to be impactful later on might have interrupted the ability to be as smooth and purposeful. 🤷🏾‍♂️

6. Also, to piggyback off point #3, Sprite worked my nerves… wasn’t a fan of her at all. 😂🤦🏾‍♂️

7. I… [sigh]… I just wasn’t completely sold on Hayek as Ajak. I don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t clicking for me. 🥴🤷🏾‍♂️

8. I liked how they wove in conversations about, and the transition from, the old Marvel/the Avengers with the characters. 👍🏾

9. The scene between Thena Phastos’ son. 😂😂😂

10. “People deserve the right to live their lives on their own terms, and following their own timeline” is one message that seemed to be the clearest from beginning to end. 

We see this in the statements made constantly throughout the story by Salma Hayek’s character, via Druig, subtly with Sersi, through the interaction between Kingo and Karun, with the conflict, and also in response to the ultimate goal for the universe showing alignment alignment with the plot.

Now there’s also this side messaging around the strength/power of “love” that was also, and I say this begrudgingly, executed pretty well. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

* * *

Overall #Eternals gives Justice League – meets The Suicide Squad – meets I am Number 4 – meets X-Men – meets Power Rangers Zeo – meets The Boys’ The Seven.

So listen… the film isn’t bad. I think there’s a familiarity that many of us have with Marvel films that we haven’t quite had the chance to cleanse our palette of just yet which makes this film a little hard to get into and digest in the same way (I also have always said that I’ve been a little leery about what the Disney touch might do the Marvel feel). The first thing I said to myself when the film started was, “Whew… these are some old / clearly middle aged superheroes…” followed by, “this is an odd mix for a team.” All that to say, it can be an adjustment for some. 

Additionally, I do think the love story really messes up the overall vibe of the film at times. Personally, I would’ve been okay with hints of some flirting that later on in the franchise becomes something more obvious—let us grow with the characters as they grow with one another, basically. 

BUT…the action scenes are solid, the visual effects are strong, the representation is ASTRONOMICAL, and Kumail Nanjiani was great comedic relief. 

#ALSO: Stay for the 2 post-credit scenes if you go see it. 

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