Eternals ★★½

The aspect I enjoyed the most is also the aspect that sinks it: it feels like a kid playing with action figures, lively and creative, with a near-total disregard for anything resembling substance. It's not dense, but it hurls fresh mythos and characters at the audience with abandon, and I got a real kick out of seeing Zhao inject so much New into the MCU. Eternals is a big swing, with a running time to match, and its major shortcoming is that it puts so much effort into generic plotting that it neglects to give much catharsis to its very distinct individuals or to the assemblage of its team. Even with certain players being allowed effective grace notes—I'm eager to see more of Sprite, Phastos, and especially Kingo—the film's emotional punch is ultimately as weightless as its CGI. You want to exit this movie feeling invigorated in the way you were by The Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy, but the response it evokes is more of a resounding "okay, then!" Still, it's no disaster, and if any Marvel movie is capable of transitioning out of the mainstream and generating a cult following, it's this one. Eternals belongs on the back wall of a video store in the '80s, and the right people will find it there in spirit.

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