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Review: Eternals (2021)

Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals takes the MCU into darker and more mature waters. Whilst some would argue Eternals is a late replacement for the failed Inhumans experiment, never the less it shall be judged on its own merit.

The film opens in 5000 BC where we meet the ten superpowered Eternals—Ajak (Salma Hayek), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), and Thena (Angelina Jolie). These Eternals are sent to Earth by the Celestial Arishem (David Kaye) to protect it from the invading Deviants. The Eternals remain on Earth till the present day initially protecting Earth from the Deviants then once they killed them all in the 1500’s, start to carve out their own lives whilst awaiting for Arishem to call them home. The one rule they must follow is to not interfere in any human affairs unless Deviants are involved.

Jumping to modern day London, we reunite with Sersi and Sprite who now live together. It is revealed that Ikaris and Sersi were once a couple but split up over five hundred years ago and nowadays Sersi is dating Dane Whitman (Kit Harington). One night they are attacked by a Deviant named Kro (Bill Skarsgård) and just as all seems lost Ikaris appears and saves the day and Kro escapes.

With the return of the Deviants, it seems as good time as any for the Eternals to reunite but upon travelling to South Dakota they discover that Ajak, their leader has been murdered by Kro (before he went to London), gaining her healing powers in the process. The Eternals must deal with the loss of their leader and the fallout from that as well as discover the true purpose of their mission on Earth!

Now Eternals is exposition heavy at times and younger viewers may be a bit lost, but that is not always a bad thing. For all those that complain about “cookie cutter” Marvel movies there is a lot more to get your teeth into here. Zano’s cinematography adds a lot to the movie’s appeal with the various settings emphasising the unique relationships between the various Eternals.

As I mentioned, this is a different kind of Marvel movie and I think it will split audiences. Personally, I feel its biggest weakness is its length. For some 157 minutes will be too much to invest in a “superhero movie” but with that said you do get a big pay off and a clear vision of where the MCU is heading. Reflecting back, it is the mid and end credits scenes that leave me the most excited from this movie and again shows the huge visions Marvel has for the MCU’s future. That does not mean Eternals is just a set up movie though, far from it.

Verdict: 7 /10. A well laid out movie that sets the stage for the future of the MCU. Some will love it, some wont but to me it introduces a whole new element to the MCU and raises expectations of what to expect from a Marvel movie. It left me wanting more and I can’t wait to see how these storyline threads are picked up.

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