Eternals ★★★


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Eternals is a very mediocre movie. This film was easily one of my most anticipated films of this year and the 2021 MCU project I was most looking forward to seeing out of their stacked lineup. Despite that each trailer failed to fully live up to what I was expecting I still had hope for the great film I’d envisioned back when it was first announced in the layout for phase four but pretty much as soon as the extremely mixed reviews and now infamous rotten tomatoes score arrived I began to prepare for a disappointment. In hindsight I believe the reason I was so excited for this film, at the time even more than No Way Home, was because it seemed unlike anything else in the franchise and it’s directed by the most recent winner of the Best Director Oscar for her work on the also Best Picture winning film Nomadland. While this film is certainly the most unique outing the billion dollar franchise has to offer that honestly isn’t necessarily a good thing. The last two films in the MCU stuck to a formula but unlike this one they were actually good despite being nothing too new to the franchise (the shows are doing great in that department though). 

I’m still all for Marvel taking risks with ambitious genre mixed superhero films but this one was really a misfire. If it wasn’t for the two great post credit scenes that very interestingly set up future projects, the signature humor, and references this addition wouldn’t have even felt like a true MCU film. Although I would have never expected at the beginning of the year for this one to manage slipping into my bottom five MCU films I still liked it more than many others did. I mean a MCU experience in theaters can never go wrong and there was quite a few aspects that I liked especially the incredible visuals which kept my score above a two and a half rating for now. Also I think this film landed some of it’s bold punches that are being widely talked about in the media, mainly the first openly gay character and the sex scene, much better than I thought they would. It’s hilarious that this film with MacDonalds ads playing on the Disney channel has a full blown but brief sex scene in it. 

The plot is okay it’s an enjoyable but very convoluted story. The romantic relationship between Sersi and Ikaris is interestingly surveyed throughout the story in a way that makes it appears to be this humanized dilemma which further makes their connection to Earth/it’s earthlings seem more realistic. When it comes to the quieter moments between those two characters the story was actually really good. While it may be an unpopular opinion I believe the back and forth structure of the story, despite being admittedly messy, kept me more engaged than I would have been. 

There’s a lot of big flaws with the story the biggest ones being that just in the first act there’s so many emotional/important character moments before we even have time to begin to care about all these characters which sort of stunts our liking of them even more in the long run and for an almost three hour story it feels incredibly rushed because of how much it fails to meet the grand scope of the situation. For a story that primarily focuses on it’s characters and themes only one or two of each were actually executed well. There was simply way too many characters trying to be properly balanced too. The pacing is pretty good there’s some slow moments here and there but for the most part it’s well paced due to the general entertainment of the story.

 The acting is good Gemma Chan gives a good performance. I expected the cast to all have an equal amount of screentime but surprisingly she took the leading role but I’m not complaining because her performance was nice. Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kit Harington, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Mia Dong seok, and Harish Patel give pretty good supporting performances as well. Nanjiani and Patel stole the show with such fun performances as the two most effective sources of comedic relief. The cast is wonderfully diverse with more Asian, a deaf, and a gay superhero being added to the mix. 

The direction is decent from Cholé Zhao, her strong sense of direction shines through the quieter moments and certain tones but besides that her vision felt sort of all over the place. She went from giving some phenomenal direction in Nomadland to subtle yet lackluster direction in a new MCU film. I really wish I could have came out of the film saying her direction was great like everyone had hoped but for me it was generally disappointing. The script is very mediocre it’s a poorly executed and messy script that only had a few redeeming qualities saving it from being completely bad.

The cinematography is great this film has many memorable shots that utilize color schemes and landscapes in a way that fits with all the types of scenes it’s being displayed in throughout the film. The score is gentle when it needs to be and thrilling in the action packed moments too, it’s got to be one of the best scores in an MCU film. The visual effects are incredibly detailed and stylishly dim as well. They really are some of this year’s most eye popping and impressive effects let alone some of the best the franchise has put displayed on the big screen. The comedy is hit or miss but the ones that hit were funny and possibly even clever. The action sequences are all exciting but lacked any high stakes despite being so fun. In terms of the Oscars this film has a Best Visual Effects nomination in the bag but that’s pretty much all. The ending is a predictable note by note happy ending that until the very last few moments and post credit scenes had me wanting more. Overall Eternals has some of the best technical aspects it’s franchise has shown us but not even those can save this film from the reputation of being a general disappointment and ranking amongst the weaker films of the MCU. 

🔜The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

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