Eternals ★★★½

So Eternals is a really weird one. It's somehow both better and worse than I hoped/expected. It's an uneven movie that has problems... but those problems are more due to it not being longer... and it's already 2.5 hours long! It's baffling to me that Marvel did three tv shows on Disney+ and didn't pick Eternals for a good 8 hour scripted series and stuffed a movie spanning thousands of years into 2+ hours instead.

So the flick is another MCU joint about a largish team of immortal beings sent to Earth thousands of years ago to fight a tentacle alien dog menace that was threatening the lives of the nascent human race. Now, thousands of years later, they live among us but mostly separate from each other. But it turns out the evil devil dogs are not all gone and they have to get the band back together to fight them before some world ending catastrophe hits.

I rather low-key enjoyed this film, for the most part. It really commits to its big ideas and I appreciate the effort and the film-making skill. And, as far as MCU movies lower on the scale, I think it's a more cohesive and well-formed movie than, say, Avengers: Age of Ultron. And yet the heroes don't really fit the vibe of the MCU... they almost feel more like they'd fit better in the DC movies.

This movie's major problem is that it wants us to feel more for these characters than we possibly can given the runtime. There's too many characters and too many big ideas. And we are told one thing about the overall plot in the beginning and then something else later and there just isn't enough time in between to feel surprised or betrayed or terrified or anything. These characters have been alive and working with (and separate from) each other for thousands of years and we just don't get enough screen-time with them. And I wouldn't want this movie to be too much longer... so the story just feels too crammed for a single flick.

As far as the characters and acting go, most everyone is fine. It's kind of fascinating to see how much star power they stack the deck with when nobody really is the star of the film. Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayak are probably in this less than Richard Madden and Gemma Chan.

And we get a final action scene that kind of doesn't work. It's ten seconds away from a blue sky beam fight, frankly. We get scenes between characters who weren't developed enough and a final resolution that just feels like the runtime got long enough that they decided to cut the fight short. I'm not sure our heroes ultimately did anything to resolve the plot... versus the plot just resolving on its own.

But I still give it a decent score for trying very hard and succeeding more than it fails. I will always credit a movie for sticking to its big ambitions and not turning everything into a joke. It's committed, wisely of foolishly.

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