Eternals ★★★★

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

This review may contain spoilers.

Holds up on rewatch, spoiler thoughts to come.

Things I LOVED about this film:

As much crap as the MCU gets for being too visually and structurally similar and bland from installment to installment, the choice to set most of the film in real locations all across the world with natural lighting was cool to see from a big budget blockbuster.

The heel turn for Ikaris was unexpected for me given his status in the comics. So it was shocking to me. Though it didn't have emotional weight (as it should've), as a viewer I was still left surprised by it.

I appreciate the thematic examination of religious zealously, especially considering the world we live in today. Ikaris and Kingo's arcs when it comes to their ultimate choices to forego stopping the Emergence were fascinating.

Arishem and the Celestial sequences are some of the best stuff the MCU has ever put out. Not only is it awe inspiring to see literal Gods the size of planets and universes show their will, power and influence, but it also hints at the MCU's ability to adapt the weird from the comics. Philosophically this is great too, the Celestials are nuanced. Threatening as they are straight forward with their explanations, these. beings are perfect figures to represent the cosmic creation of the MCU. The Living Tribunal and Galactus next please. The end of the film really shows this with the abduction of the three earth based Eternals. Their powerlessness and the fearless Celestials who do not fear the strength of the beings they created is terrifying and amazing.

Every one of the characters has an arc. While crowded, each character or notably a pairing of two characters is given something to do thematically resembling their connection to humanity as well as their self worth as Eternals. Particularly loved Thena and Gilgamesh's storyline (was not what I expected at all). There's a lot here to examine and some get more play than others, but that's okay.

I quite enjoyed the jumping back and forth between the present and the past as the story could only be told this way. In my opinion, it reveals slowly how the characters have come to be this way. Through these flashbacks, bits of information are revealed about the group's powers, mission and eventual break up. When it coincides with the modern day, it's as if they are making amends with their past. It also does wonders for the twist later on, revealing the whole film was him stalling in order to prevent the other Eternals from stopping the Emergence. I also love the great third act which isn't a super big battle with faceless beings, but with characters we have come to know. Yes there's not a ton of emotional weight, but the concept of a celestial destroying the planet gives the film stakes and the battle is pretty great to watch. The score in that final section is brilliant.

Things I DID NOT LIKE in Eternals:

Sprite. Though the character was fine and well developed, the performance was flat and left something to be desired. On first watch, I thought this may be an attempt to make her character seem more alien as she doesn't connect with humanity. But unlike Ikaris, who is justly cold and alien, Sprite is empty and devoid of that emotional connection that she says she has. Now, while I do like the character's arc, I warmed to it in my second viewing, I thought the performance brings it down a lot. Stereotypical sassy teenager who isn't actually a teenager.

Forced humor. While I enjoyed Kingo's attempts to lighten up the film. The humor feels out of place most of the time with forced cultural references to Batman and Superman. It clashes with the dark story the film tells. It's no Josstice League in how it handles it, but it still feels out of place. I did like some jokes, but when there were jokes in the present day story, more often than not, they were misses.

Lastly exposition. Though I feel it is necessary to explain the heavy HEAVY science fiction/comic book lore of the celestials, deviants and eternals, I do feel like at times the writers over did it. Mad Weery and the true origins aside, the film could have cut back tons on the exposition when it came to advancing human technology and loving these people and actually showing it. I think it is implied given one's understanding of history to know the human atrocities and its beauties as well, but It could have a gone a little further in examining past these Eternals. The humans aren't the focus of the film Eternals and that's okay, but to have slightly more presence and character could have helped immensely in making this top 10 in MCU.

A Counterpoint:

PS- One of the critiques my friend has was one second they'd be one place and the next they'd be millions of miles away and to that I'd say this; Sprite has teleportation powers and these are Eternal beings with superpowers (one can fly) and another has a private jet. They can get around just fine. If the film wanted to be longer by showing their travel and more development, I wouldn't have minded, but my guess is audiences would have.

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