Connor Carey’s review published on Letterboxd:
Eternals was one of my most anticipated movies of the entire year but these past few weeks leading up to it's release especially when the reviews started to come out have been brutal and my expectations quickly dropped. This was the least excited I've been about a new Marvel movie in years, and I genuinely had no clue what to expect from it walking into the theater. To my surprise I actually ended up really liking it even if it's a deeply flawed film. For the first half or so of this, I really didn't understand where all the hate was coming from but as it enters it's second half it becomes clearer and the flaws become way more apparent.
Starting off with what I liked though, this actually feels much different from a lot of other MCU films, and you can really feel Chloé Zhao's touch all over it. Zhao does a really good job at helming all the action too and I admired how ambitious it was. It looks gorgeous and while there's some rough CGI like in any Marvel movie, I appreciated how much less there was and how they favored shooting in actual environments rather than just using a ton of green screen and digital effects. It's very exposition heavy which can be a little much at points, but I really loved all the world building and it left me wanting more by the end. I also didn't mind the structure of this either and the flashbacks were some of my favorite parts. But by far the biggest thing worthy of praise is the incredibly diverse and terrific cast.
I'll get more into the characters later, but I thought everybody in this cast (with the exception of Richard Madden who felt slightly miscast) did a really great job. Gemma Chan makes for a very likeable protagonist, Kumail Nanjiani is a terrific comedic relief who steals a lot of scenes, Kit Harrington does great with the limited screen time he gets, and I can't wait to see more of him, Brian Tyree Henry, Don Lee & Lauren Ridloff all add a lot of heart and Barry Keoghan might've been my favorite character in the entire movie. But to me the clear standout of the cast was Angelina Jolie who stole every second of screen time she had. She's easily the most well-developed character and the one I personally got behind the most. She also gives easily the best performance in the entire movie and is a straight up badass.
As much as I loved the characters their honestly my biggest issue with the movie as a lot of them aren't really given the development they should've. There's simply way too many of them and despite being nearly 3 hours long, by the end you feel like you barely get to know most of them. As much as I loved Nanjiani, Henry & Ridloff, I genuinely don't think any of their characters really needed to be in this and it would've allowed you to get to know the others a bit more. This film is way too long too, and really starts to drag as it enters it's third act. The third act is really where you start to notice its flaws and where the writing is at it's weakest. It's hard to talk about without getting into spoilers but I didn't really care about anything in the climax and didn't think it was particularly well done but the ending and mid credits scenes at least ended things on a strong note.
Eternals is a lot of movie and I understand why it's not clicking with a lot of people but in my opinion it works far more often than it doesn't and starts off genuinely great. Even with everything that doesn't work, it's refreshing to see Marvel actually do something different and not follow their typical formula for once. It's far from Marvel's best but I also wouldn't say this is even close to being there worst. I hope the mixed reviews don't stop them from continuing this story because there's a lot of room for improvement and I actually want to spend more time with these characters and learn more about this world. Might be a bit controversial but I think this might be my favorite Marvel movie released this year.