Nate Richard’s review published on Letterboxd:
I have to disagree with those claiming that Eternals is the worst MCU movie, the thing I did appreciate the most about the film is Chloe Zhao had clear ambition while films like Thor: The Dark World felt so generic and cookie cutter.
That being said, Eternals is a far from a perfect film. Is it entertaining; absolutely, but it just gets way in over it's head and really struggles balancing everything in the movie. This ultimately leads to a lot of the film's characters feeling flat, despite the A-level talent behind each of them.
The cast for Eternals is insane, Gemma Chan is terrific in the lead role of Sersi and as the film's true lead, she really did a fantastic job carrying the film. When Kumail Nanjiani was first reported to be in the film, I was extremely excited as he always elevates anything he's in and he does a great job as Kingo, but he unfortunately feels a bit underutilized and some of the directions they take his character just didn't work and felt choppy. Barry Keoghan, Lauren Ridloff, and Don Lee are all really enjoyable here as well in their roles. Angelina Jolie, in my personal opinion, may just be the film's MVP, I absolutely loved her character of Thena and it felt like a different role from what Jolie typically plays.
The film's visual style is definitely something to behold, Zhao makes sure that Eternals doesn't feel like every other Marvel film. It's clear Jack Kirby's original designs were a clear inspiration and otherworldly designs were incredible to look at on the big screen.
Unfortunately the film has a whole just feels like an absolute mess. The film's constant flashbacks and nonlinear story telling structure really bogs the film down and messes with the overall pacing resulting in the 2.5 hour runtime being felt. A lot of the dialogue is extremely exposition heavy, with one vital scene in particular feeling so heavy-handed in it's delivery to the point where it's almost laughable.
The film really struggles with balancing all the characters and plotlines which leads to the film's climatic battle scene feeling dull and didn't have the emotions that it was clearly trying to invoke. Admittingly, I wasn't really too big on a lot of the film's third act reveals, some of it just felt jarring and had little to no build up.
Eternals is incredibly messy, but once again this is certainly not the worst MCU film. I'm honestly a bit bummed that the film has been reviewed so harshly as I'd rather have more ambitious swings like this in the franchise instead of films that constantly follow the same structure.