Eternals

Eternals

Where to begin with Eternals? A film plagued with delays, a mixed reception from critics and the first big Marvel project after the Infinity Saga that ended Phase 3 of the MCU. Sure, we've had stuff like Black Widow and Shang-Chi but they were far smaller scale than a $200 million epic directed by Oscar winner Chloe Zhao (Nomadland). Now, I'm not a fan of Zhao's work but I was open to see what she could bring to the Marvel table and unfortunately, it's the worst entry in the constantly churning saga yet.

Eternals introduces us to a new set of characters, more powerful than the Avengers but somehow, they'd never been introduced prior. There's explanations as to why they didn't interfere during the past 25 films but none of them feel logical or believable in the slightest. Constantly flipping backwards and forwards in time to establish a cast of 10 characters in one film is an undertaking, but Eternals completely fails on almost every single level. Nobody is fleshed out enough for you to care about the stakes, about the supposed risks of their actions and at a whopping 160 minutes, it's a genuine chore to sit through the entire, bloated mess.

Eternals is noteworthy for being mostly shot on location, instead of the typical Marvel green-screens which sounds like a positive, but it only ends up hurting the film in the long-run. The blending of truly atrocious visual effects and on-set cinematography is an eye soar to say the least, never quite achieving the intended effect from Zhao and Marvel. None of the action ever feels impressive, thanks to the poor CGI and lack of energy from Zhao behind the camera. Considering her previous work was mainly focused on character studies of a single person, action definitely didn't seem like Zhao's forte and it only shows why here.

Speaking of visuals, the cinematography is award-worthy... if the Razzies are calling for "Blandest blockbuster of the past decade." Everything is so visually dark, to the point that I couldn't make out the slightest of facial features on any of our lead protagonists for the first TWO acts, until it gets a bit lighter in that final mess of a third act. The film is so poorly lit, which is most likely down to Marvel not used to filming on location, so it comes across as the most lifeless, drab looking film in the franchise hands down. Even something like Thor: The Dark World was watchable, this is downright unacceptable.

The only true redeeming element of the film is how it portrays the character Phastos, the first gay character in the MCU. There's been constant shifting from Disney that every one of their properties has a gay character (even with Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie supposedly being bisexual) but this is the first time any of their properties has treaten the subject seriously, not just something they could cut out for foreign market and I admire Zhao's effort to portray this character in an authentic, compelling manner. That's about all I can say positive about this film.

When a film has character names such as Sprite and Druig, you can't expect me to take it seriously but aside from the usual unfunny Marvel qupping, Eternals is deadset on being the next Avengers, the thing is, those characters had chemistry. Even if the films weren't always great, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and the other characters always felt like they got along, like genuine characters. Nobody in Eternals feels believable, feels real or authentic in any way. It's like an imitation of what a Marvel film usually is, a lazy, poorly constructed hodgepodge of ideas that never fully hit the mark that the team was so desperate to achieve.

It's ambitious in all the wrong ways, it's overbloated and becomes tedious after the 50 minute mark, it's forgettable and uneventful in the ways of Ant-Man and the Wasp and has no personality whatsoever. Eternals is, quite frankly, an utter disaster. What a disgrace to Jack Kirby's legacy, taking these vibrant, larger than life characters and giving them the most lifeless advertisement for future attractions possible.

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