This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Maddi’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Your family has some serious anger issues.
Eternals once again proves Marvel are on a roll this year with their recent releases, perhaps excluding Loki and Black Widow. I went into this with pretty low expectations, and left with a feeling of gratitude and excitement of the future of the Eternals within the MCU.
Whilst I loved the majority of this non-stop flick, I’ll start with the issues I had with it. My biggest problem was the chaotic nature that comes along with a film with as many characters as this. There was always going to be a character side-lined, underused, or underdeveloped… Eternals had these too spare.
Each character is crafted to have a specific ability, which I was a big fan of, until I realised the inconsistency between them. Whilst Ikaris was extremely over-powered, other characters like Sprite and Kingo were left looking weak and boring. Some characters clearly got more detail and depth over others. A few characters also felt unoriginal, like Ikaris’ uncanny likeness to DC’s Superman or Makkari’s power of Quicksilver or The Flash. However, I loved the subtle links between Gilgamesh and Shang-Chi, and Phastos and Doctor Strange. It will be interesting to see if these link somehow.
This leads onto my next point of wasted potential. There was always going to have to be a character to die… but why Gilgamesh? The most loveable and true character fought till the end for Thena and his family, yet didn’t get the limelight he deserved. Kingo cowardly flees from the final fight, which is a shame, as every other Eternal gets the chance to fight. Whilst his skills can’t match those of his family, he deserved to be there alongside them. Salma Hayek’s Ajak was shockingly killed-off early into the movie too, but returns frequently through flashbacks, and her death proves a pivotal point within the movie later on.
This feature took a risk incorporating so many time jumps and settings, but I do think it worked. It helped to develop a feeling for the characters and their background, although there is still a lot to be desired. Despite Star Wars being renowned for it’s iconic opening crawl, I was disappointed to see it here. The Eternals’ history felt crammed into a two minute sequence because Marvel knew there was no other way to introduce such a diverse and unique group of characters - it’s logical, but a shame nevertheless.
The most underused characters are Druig and Makkari, who both have tons of potential together and individually. It’s shameful to confess I was more intrigued by their love affair, than that of Sersi and Ikaris. Druig clearly possesses a lot of power through his mind-control, although it appears useless on other celestials, whilst Makkari managed to hold her own phenomenally against Akaris, much like Phastos and his technology.
The Deviant/human hybrid character felt completely unnecessary to the story-line, except to bide time. The plot could easily have stuck to just the Eternals battle against Arishem and his immoral plan for Earth. Another example of wasted potential.
However, I did truly enjoy this movie. Whilst it’s got a long run-time, and takes a while to truly get going, it’s fantastic once it finds it’s groove. It solidly introduced the group individually, before presenting them as a unit - the search for everyone was the highlight of the movie for me.
The cast are all fantastic, with Kumail Nanjiani providing comic relief and Barry Keoghan delivering the emotions. I’ve seen a lot of comments on Gemma Chan and Richard Madden, and I thought they individually delivered stable performances, even if their chemistry was off. Angelina Jolie is as flawless as ever.
The cinematography and fight sequences are visually stunning in their own rights, but it’s the CGI which really blew me away. It’s so integral to the story-line, and through the intricate designs, truly look realistic and desirable on-screen.
Both the end credit scenes are super intriguing, with the disappearance of some of the Eternals! Whilst I’m still unsure on the casting of Harry Styles, I’m ecstatic about the future of the Marvel Universe, and how the Eternals will return…