Starring Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kemel Nanjani, Barry Keogan, Kit Harrington, Brian Tyree Henry
Fresh off winning best picture and director at the last Academy Awards for her masterpiece “Nomadland”, Chloe Zhao delivers the most unusual Marvel film in some time. Unusual is a welcome diversion from the familiar superheroes, whose origin stories have been played out to exhaustion. While the big question of how these “Eternals” fit into the MCU, that concept becomes less interesting as we dive into this new, complicated superhero story. “Eternals” give “Game of Thrones” fans a reason to celebrate by reuniting cast members Richard Madden and Kit Harrington who played brother in the series, along with award winning composer Ramin Djawadi. Once you understand what deviants are, who the Eternals represent and how celestial's are created, this vast world of beings starts to make sense.
Eternals, like their name, have been around for thousands of years, watching over planet earth as far back as Mesopotamia 5000 BC. In present day, when Dane Whitman (Harrington) learns of his girlfriend Sersi’s (Chan) real identity, he can’t help but ask why they never helped The Avengers. She explains, why they were instructed not to. After protecting earth all these years the Eternals, who have in the last few hundred years, went separate ways, must reunite as their true purpose finally comes into focus. The Eternals, vary in their abilities also vary in the way they choose to live their lives, Phastos (Henry) has chosen the family life, while Ikaris (Madden) has isolated himself from most of humanity, Druig (Keogan) chooses to directly interfere with the fate of local tribes.
What’s refreshing about Zhao’s entry into the Marvel world is that these superheroes can be defeated and killed without the kind of resistance and fan fair seen elsewhere.
What’s refreshing about Zhao’s entry into the Marvel world is that these superheroes can be defeated and killed without the kind of resistance and fan fair seen elsewhere. The playing field is leveled here, creating actual suspense in fight sequences. Another aspect of “Eternals” that we rarely see anymore is super beings interacting with regular humans, the consequences their actions have on the everyday Jane isn’t ignored in this script. An eclectic and diverse cast of newer faces and seasoned professionals add to the intrigue. While the origins of this group and their purpose bloats the screentime to a typical Marvel film, Zhao manages to keep us mostly invested throughout, switching between comedy, action sequences and dramatic plot reveals.
While these characters really stray from “Avengers” or” X-Men”, it’s the actors who elevate the film to something more. Koegan who plays Druig in particular stands out as one of the most unpredictable in the group. The constant reminder that we are in uncharted territory is what keeps “Eternals” trudging along. If you are familiar with Zhao style and the way she perceives life through the camera, you will notice her signature touches embedded inside the multi-million dollar film. While her less is more approach won’t be as valued here as in other projects, the way she chooses to look at culture remains the same.
Zhao’s “Eternals” offers an alternative approach to the repetitive Marvel movies.