Walker Rutter’s review published on Letterboxd:
When people say “I have mixed feelings on this”, in regards to a piece of art (movie, music, TV, etc.) they generally tend to mean “that was kinda meh. There were some good parts, some bad parts, but this was pretty middle-of-the-road and mediocre.”
When talking/thinking/writing about Eternals, Marvel’s newest team-up movie, when I say, “I have mixed feelings on this” what I actually mean is: “even though this movie is very flawed in a lot of areas (more so than most MCU movies), to the point where I’d think to myself ‘but why doe?’ when watching, I still get a lot of genuine enjoyment from this and I really like it.” I think a lot of the criticism this movie gets is valid. Yes I think the movie is over-stuffed with too many characters, which can lead to some of them feeling underdeveloped. Yes I think the pacing and structure is kinda wonky and the non-linear narrative hampers some of the potentially powerful arcs the characters go through (which end up happening off-screen in between the past and present timelines). Yeah I think some (not all) aspects of the lore and world-building aren’t fully thought through with their implications and there are a lot of interesting ideas that go untapped or don’t reach their full potential. And for sure, the final scene before the credits was a weird choice to end the movie on (I don’t deny it’s a cool ending but the cliffhanger nature of it makes the story feel incomplete, which is even weirder when there is no confirmed direct follow up for this). But somehow, whether it be because of the amount of good quality overpowering the bad, the fact that I had a really fun theater experience (over 2 1/2 hours and I didn’t feel the need to go to the bathroom NOT EVEN ONCE), my expectations thanks to the early mixed reviews being pretty much scrambled so it being not terrible made the movie seem better than it actually was, the possibility that I’m a biased MCU normie soyboy shill, or the fact that I’m human being capable of opinions that just likes what he likes and doesn’t like what is boring or (unironic) cringe, I actually really enjoyed and liked Eternals and would both love to watch it again, and to see a follow-up with these characters and this world. I think the cast did a great job with what they were given, most of the humor worked for me, the actions scenes were really fucking fun, Chloé Zhao's direction was pretty good, the cinematography was excellent, the visuals (minus one mo-cap character in the post-credits who looks hilariously bad) were fantastic (I swear my jaw was open every time Arishem appeared), the score by Ramin Djawadi was pretty okay, the ambition and scope it tries to take on it noteworthy and I like that the narrative focused less on action and more on the character's moral dilemmas, which led to some interesting dialogue and solid (if kinda undercooked) themes. I also like the story in concept. It's execution, not so much. But despite the obvious clunkiness with how the story executes itself, now that the exposition and set-up is out of the way, and with the number of main characters being dealt with at once has been decreased (plus they’ve already been introduced so we already have a general sense of their personalities and ideologies), I feel like any direct follow-up has the ability to be a lot more flexible with the characters and storylines. I would love to watch these characters and their conflicts with the Celestials continue on because (one) I love all this epic hardcore space fantasy stuff with giant space gods and their creations and (two) I want the untapped potential I mentioned earlier to be leaned in on. I want the possibilities and implications to be explored (in a good way) to make this whole new corner of the Marvel universe to feel more epic and lived-in. But to get back to what I think of the actual movie and not its potential future, I overall think it’s fine, but a lot of its questionable creative choices will definitely make this movie more hit or miss for a lot of people. This just happens to work for me (and again, I acknowledge its flaws and agree with a lot of the criticism this gets) and I think it’s a neat departure from what a lot of the MCU has done before. And again, I love that we’re exploring the more cosmic side of the MCU a lot more. More thoughts to come in the future (I want to rewatch it before I cement my opinion) but to finish this off here’s my ranking of the Eternals members from my least favorite to favorite:
Okay that’s my (current) thoughts on Eternals. Time to get back to the other stuff I’ve held off on logging for the past nearly 5 months.