ethxn🏴☠️’s review published on Letterboxd:
“I don’t wear a cape.”
Capeshit like you’ve never seen capeshit before!
Eternals has been heavily compared to Denis Villeneuve’s Dune (2021). As someone who has now seen both, I can heavily disagree with the narrative that they are similar in any way besides the fundamental aspects of filmmaking. Other than both providing fantastic cinematography, a stacked cast and a beautiful world-building globe trotting adventure, these films couldn’t be more different in their plots.
Chloe Zhao’s fantastic pitch to Kevin Feige, the one that he claims was the best he had ever heard, was painstakingly presented to us in an articulate and engaging way. The eternals are revealed to have been a guiding hand for humanity of planet Earth for millennia. It was with their help, humanity survived its infancy and grew to the height it has today. With life comes conflict, and with conflict comes new life. Personally I sincerely believe the theory that humanity has actually been granted tools and knowledge for the advancement of early civilizations many times. Whether it was through necessary knowledge or actual genetic modifications, modern humans were created, altered in a way to get where we are now. Aliens have certainly arrived on our planet and their ships are eerily similar to the Eternals’. I know this, because I’ve seen them myself. It was both awe-inspiring and nerve wracking to view the enormity of the Eternals spaceship on the big screen. If you seek the full story of my experience please check out my review of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).
Heavy spoilers from here on out in this review, it’s hard to talk about Eternals without really diving deep into the events of the film. Understand that you reading this review at all is very meaningful to me, so thank you.
A lot of the film is told non-linearly and it wasn’t until the third act where everything comes together in an explosive and mesmerizing way. You see the result of actions made by Ikaris and Sprite, Kingo’s acceptance of the disagreement and outcome and Sersi’s final acts regarding the team and their fate.
Eternals opens with a necessary explanation of the Celestials, Eternals and Deviants. The deviants were created to protect intelligent life on young planets, but the deviants eventually deviated from their original objective. The eternals were then created to kill off the last of the deviants and prevent the death of intelligent life.
I absolutely adore how the teams outfits sync with one another. The colors are vibrant and their unique power sets are entertaining. I love everything about the Eternals look. The films CGI is amazing and I absolutely lost my mind with so many of these scenes. The MCU has truly been changed, radically and existentially.
Zhao’s film is full to the brim with expertly crafted context for character motivations and wonderful character relationships. The Eternals are split on their true goal. Thena played by the magnificent Angelina Jolie had her mind wiped after she learned of the Eternals true purpose. Her character crafts beautiful weapons and she’s seen at odds with her team. Sersi, played by the MCU’s lovely Gemma Chan returning for the second time as a new character. Richard Madden’s Ikaris was certainly a standout performance for me. I so desperately need to see more of my boy! Dane Whitman portrayed by one of my favorite actors, Kit Harrington, has so much promise. I really hope Kevin Feige knocks him out of the MCU’s park. I need a Black Knight film, that would absolutely be a homerun in my book.
Druig, performed by Barry Keoghan was really interesting as well, I would love to see more of him and I don’t doubt that we will. Lia McHugh as Sprite was cool, so was Ma Dong-seok as Gilgamesh. Salma Hayek as Ajak was fun, her knowledge about the emergence lead to her demise however I find it fascinating that as life grows on the planet, so does the celestial seed. The snap returning almost 4 billion lives on the planet had accelerated the growth. Wow.
After Madden’s Ikaris, my second favorite of the film had to be Makkari, performed by the beautiful and extremely talented Lauren Ridloff. I love Lauren so much. Her smile makes me feel so warm. Kumail Nanjiani was awesome, very cool to see him in such a badass and fun loving role, my mans is so jacked now! Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos felt the most human to me other than Sersi. His unwillingness to put himself at risk because of his family felt relatable and I’m glad there was one eternal who felt this way so strongly. The eternals clearly love humanity, so much so they intertwine with them over millennia.
I can’t believe Harry Styles as Eros, Thanos’ brother, is in this film at the last moment. With Pip the Troll as well. Eternals 2 could be even better now, somehow! The celestial arriving to earth angry about how the Eternals destroyed the newborn celestial has gotta be some of the most wild shit I’ve seen in the MCU. Also, I believe Ikaris’ fate is left ambiguous for a reason. Sure, flying into the sun must’ve meant he wanted to die. But in comicbooks and films made based off said comicbooks, no one is ever truly dead. He will be reborn. Ikaris will return. The Eternals will return...
The only disappointing part of Eternals is that there doesn’t seem to be any clear connection to the soon-to-arrive mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is unfortunate and purely of my own fault for believing it was possible but perhaps I missed something small. I love how the MCU continues to push an overall narrative and wanted to see that here, but in these uncertain times we see an unwavering Marvel Studios continue to craft their ever-growing cinematic universe the way they want to, not how the fans want it. They set up building blocks for the future in even their most unique films. Zhao took a group of fairly obscure comic lore characters and brought them to life in the best way possible. I can only hope the future grants us more experiences like this.
I really hope to see an Eternals sequel, if not that’s okay I guess. I would love to see what other adventures the Eternals can take, prequel, sequel or not, I want to see more from Zhao. X-Men, anyone?