The Eternals, a race of immortal beings with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years, reunite to battle the evil Deviants.
The Chloe Zhao directed MCU flick is a lengthy epic that is all about the creation of life , humanity, the progress and conflicts and the eventual destruction of it all for the inevitable creation of something new and thus the cycle shall repeats. The Eternals has a lot of ambition and unique stories to tell, which leads to Zhao using exposition whenever possible including an opening crawl that gives you further insight into the world.
We follow the Eternals from Mesopotamia and before to modern day as we see their impacts throughout history and how they shaped human existence and advancement throughout. The first half of the film is spent hopping from one timeline to another, with jarring stops in the present day where a neccessary armageddon is steadily approaching.
In the flashbacks, Zhao hurriedly takes us through the Eternals’ arrival on Earth, how a few instantly fell in love with humans while others were frustrated by their greed and violence.
The characters are mostly half-written, inspiring barely any affection and emotion from our side. But at least it looks beautiful as the vast story unfolds in front of your eyes. For Eternals, Zhao brought on board cinematographer Ben Davis, who has previously worked in five other MCU films. She also brings in her own love for the golden hour, dusk and landscape shots, wedging in the setting sun wherever she can.
The film looks gorgeous, packs in a ton of interesting ideas, character introspections and the general superhero gist. But despite all of its flamboyance and grandeuer, its weak character development, stoic performances from most of the cast,unfunny humour, and the obvious pandering to DIVERSE audiences lets the Eternals completely down especially by the end.
Zhao seems uninterested in action and thus the sequences come across flat as well, Angelina Jolie is easily the best actress but has little to do and Salma Hayek as Ajak is wasted.The most screen time goes to Gemma Chan who plays Sersi. She is perhaps the most one note actress I have seen which is really detrimental as the film relies on her and Ikaris’s(another Eternal) romance, her eventual hero’s journey as in the end she is the one who carries out justice.
Their romance which even includes a sex scene(first in the MCU) but their general lack of chemistry renders it all emotionally hollow, devoid of uniqueness and personality.
There are a few other Eternals(Phastos,Druig,Sprite and Kingo) and all of them have great ideas for their characters which are just cruised past without exploring their depths and meaning.
Thus we are left with a film which has too much to offer for its own good. For it sacrifices its characters and glosses past them by the end of the film to hurriedly remind you with its credits sequences that the next one will be great.
This is perhaps a notch above or two above the last MCU release, Black Widow. Unlike that lazy, uninspired snoozefest, Eternals did aim for a lot, however was very unsuccessful in delivering on most of the fronts. A lot could have been better but I guess it isn’t the worst.
At the end Eternals is watchable and yet perhaps skippable, for its lenghty runtime and uninspiring characters don’t warrant anything precious from our side.
Review By-: Sachin Sisodia
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