“Eternals’, is the third MCU film of the year following July’s “Black Widow” and September’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” The premise is this: Since the dawn of human civilization, human history has been guided and protected by a clique of god-like aliens sent to Earth to guard against attacks by monsters called Deviants, who manifest as giant screaming iridescent animals.
Among the group, we hear conversations about family, religion, war, technology, evolution, and more, and the film itself does present some interesting ideas. Some examples were.
- The Eternals, we learn, are incapable of evolution and are threatened by a new phenomenon that involves adaptation suggesting; stability versus chaos.
- Later, we see that humans have great potential for good, but instead waste their abilities on harming each other; does that failure make them unworthy of salvation?
- One of the main heroes is introduced via a lecture about the importance of apex predators; later we learn that the Deviants are more than just killing machines. Is it moral to exterminate them?
Unfortunately, these interesting points are never examined further; Eternals might be the first Marvel Studios movie that didn’t benefit from being in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If Eternals didn’t have to become a Marvel movie, it could have been amazing —but they had to take time to address why they didn’t fight Thanos and they had to mention the Avengers. So it went from a generational exploration of time and space to a zip, pow, wham Marvel movie, with all of those ideas and possibilities getting pushed to the background.
Eternals has a lot of heart and beauty but feels like a balloon that tries to hold it together while being filled beyond its bursting point; it’s too much—and not enough.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t totally hate the movie; I actually really liked it all the way up to the third act. It’s evident Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) is an Oscar-winning director but like I previously stated, this would have been so much better if it were a standalone film, outside of the MCU. Not only could all the philosophical ideas mentioned above have been addressed; there also wouldn’t have been the frustration that the world was ending and not one other MCU character showed up to help. NOT ONE!!!!