Eternals ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Gonna be one of the early ones to the inevitable "this was great, actually" re-evaluation that will happen within about ten years or so - Eternals is phenomenal; the first MCU film to truly grapple with the mythic nature of superheroes and how they relate to modern mythology. If anything, Chloé Zhao's real win here is that she is able to tell the story she wants to tell here. The homogenized nature of the MCU means that while yes, many of it's films are great and have strong quality control, it's difficult to directors to make their own visions possible and while I think the jury is still out on whether or not this opens the floodgates it absolutely should be the start of a new era.

Much has already been made about Zhao's work behind the scenes here but rarely discussed, and possibly the most important aspect left untouched, is her obvious anime influences here. Having repeatedly stated in interviews about her love of manga and anime, it's shown in full force here - not just with the stylistic influences that range from Neon Genesis Evangelion and Saint Seiya to the work of CLAMP and even a bit of YuYu Hakusho, but also in how it's constructed. This is a film that is keen on exposition, but while it can be overwhelming on a first viewing, it's very much anime-esqe in how it uses exposition not as a clutch but as part of the process and appeal. The dense lore and ideas ARE the story, and Zhao understands that goes in full force with these hefty narrative goals and grand, cosmic stakes that absolutely work.

Gorgeous visually as well, Zhao's style is fully intact here, even bringing in some new camera movements to play here as well that shows her style as still ever evolving and fluid. The cast is particularly fantastic as well, with it being one of Marvel's most lavish ensembles ever and up there Black Panther and WandaVision as one of their best acted projects. Everyone is memorable here, but the real standouts end up being Barry Keoghan, Lauren Ridloff, and Angelina Jolie, all of whom absolutely kill it here, with Brian Tyree Henry also very good here particularly in the climax of the film. And of course, Ramin Djawadi's score is fantastic here as per expected, easily being one of the MCU's best scores to date.

Definitely gonna have to mull it over more as it's a lot on first viewing (a rewatch is sure to come) but honestly? This is a top tier MCU film and I hope that we get more director driven, big swings like this in the future from Marvel. Cinema!

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