Eternals ★★★★

Quickie Review
From the dawn of time, they came. Moving silently among you down through the centuries. Making their presence known to humans who see them but never interfering unless they have to. However, others might've not known they were among you...until now. (I know that was a loose take on the opening text from Highlander but you have to admit that it fits well with the characters and events in this movie) Double Oscar winner Chloe Zhao (Best Director, 2020, Best Picture, 2020) brings her naturalistic and now-instantly recognizable style & vision to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the 4th film in phase 4 and overall 26th film in the long-running franchise and we meet a race of beings who have been on the planet Earth for as long as we can remember. They are the Eternals. Ajak (Salma Hayek), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Gilgamesh (Don Lee) & Thena (Angelina Jolie) each have unique abilities that reach limitless boundaries and for years, they were told never to interfere with earthly conflicts or humanity wouldn't learn themselves to be better, not even when Thanos decimated half of the planet's population with a snap for a brief time. However, Earth faces a new threat to the planet known as Deviants, a genetically engineered race of monstrous beings designed by the Celestials with the intent of progressing and ensuring the development of life in the universe by wiping out apex predators on many planets until they evolve and begin hunting down all life, thus creating the Eternals as a means of stopping them. It's the Eternals' time to interfere but will it be to stop the Deviants? It has all the usual MCU trappings you've come to expect like big, effects-laden action, quippy humor and a post-credit scene or two but when you have Chloe Zhao at the helm, it's not going to look like the usual MCU title. Marvel smartly gave her creative freedom and with that freedom, everything's shot on location instead of just a room full of green screen that was filled in later with CG creations and combine her director talent with Ben Davis' cinematography and you have some of the most breathtaking shots ever executed for a movie in the MCU. Meanwhile, the other elements are a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are elements that are quite good like some of the action sequences, Chan & Henry's performances and the score by Ramin Djawadi, returning to the MCU for the first time since the very first MCU movie Iron Man (not 2002's Spider-Man as everyone has recently said). On the other hand, the acting varies a bit in quality, the visual effects don't always feel seamless and flawless, the script has some issues, the pacing is touch-and-go and the character development has some holes but the other positives I haven't mentioned along with the ones I did mention outweigh the negatives so it isn't too bad after all. Eternals has its issues but it's far from the worst the MCU has to offer as some people have said, thanks to some good action, decent performances, solid music score and Zhao's exceptional direction, among others. And yes, they will return.

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