Eternals ★★★

Marvel Cinematic Universe (Phase 4) Film 26

Many thousands of years ago a race of super beings known as Eternals were sent from their home planet of Olympia to Earth to protect humanity from another race of deep space creatures of great power known as Deviants. After mostly ridding them from the galaxy they settled on Earth among primitive man, sworn not to interfere with mankind's natural path of evolution, but always there to protect them from the Deviants and only the Deviants if they return. They were thought to be eradicated five centuries ago, but now they're back and they're stronger than ever.

I started this film off as I do with every phase four Marvel Cinematic Universe film and television show, dreading the decline in the plots and casting. Until this point it's been a small slide with Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings both being decent enough films but not quite as good as many of those that came before them. Eternals is a sharper decline more in line with what I feared would come to pass. It wears the 2020s on it's sleeve and that's rarely a good thing.

As with every Marvel Cinematic Universe film before it, Eternals is a stunning display of the cutting edge of CGI FX of it's time. In fact it's one of the high points of the film. The casting and plot on the other hand....ooof. They are the weak points not because they're completely awful, but because they not good enough. Even in the far fetched overall MCU story, Eternals is just unbelievable and doesn't fit. After 25 films involving The Avengers or believable fringe characters there's no way you can deliver a set of villains like the Deviants and a group of heroes like the Eternals without the Avengers picking up on their battles as a threat to Earth and swooping in to kick their asses. This is a problem that will continue when Marvel Studios forces The X-Men and Fantastic Four into the mix, unless they utilize the multiverse. The story starts off pretty generic but in the second act it does manage to get really thick and interesting. The villains and heroes are questionable. It's a shame that the progress is killed by the lackluster ending.

Kumail Nanjiani is one of those actors that I just can't stand, and I find it nearly impossible to take him seriously as a superhero. However, by the third act I was pleased to say I finally saw him play a role that I really liked. Kudos to Kumail. Ma Dong-seok's portrayal of Gilgamesh fucking rules, and it's one of the few characters that I can safely say was cast perfectly. The rest of the cast and characters are a mixed bag. It would have been nice if they got rid of annoyances like Sprite and Druig and gave us more like Ikaris, Thena, and Gilgamesh. Phastos is another interesting character. The nerd of the team, his technology involuntarily causes humans to kill millions of their own and his heart is heavy with the guilt of every one of their deaths. One of the main things a good actor/actress should be able to do is cry when needed, but in this film there were CGI tears. An actor/actress who can't cry is comparable to a secretary who can't type and has no communications skills on the phone. Don't get me started on how I lost track of the amount of wannabe Avengers pose scenes. UGH!

There was a scene that actually made me emotional and that's pretty rare in these MCU films. It's a testament to my main complaint that encompasses all of my criticism. It's unbalanced. Every time you get a good scene, you get a ton of bloat with it and an overall running time of a monstrous two hours and thirty six minutes. It's completely unnecessary and only serves to exacerbate the lack of balance in everything from the writing to the cast. This is a universe in which the Avengers killed Thanos and yet they are not around to address these CW network looking bargain store versions of themselves. The main things I got from this film is excitement for Kit Harrington's future in the MCU and the character unveiled in the post credits scene.

Any time you play Skeeter Davis' End of the World I'm sold. ALMOST! It didn't work this time. Then again, this is the real start of the impending doom of phase four that I predicted, so maybe the placement of that timeless classic of a song makes sense. Here's to hoping Spider-Man: No Way Home can correct the course.

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