8mm Film Review (Non-Spoiler): ‘Eternals’

I enjoyed watched Eternals last week and  and finally got around to writing this review.  Eternals is currently the lowest rated Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) rated film (by critics) on Rotten Tomatoes  (at 47% of this writing) which I think is a disservice to the film! I saw the film on Thursday evening of opening weekend, and the verified audience rating, was 80% – with over 5,000 ‘verified’ reviews). Having recently caught up on watching Marvel’s Black Widow (I thought the film kind of sucked), I would have to say that I enjoyed it way more than Black Widow, but not as much as I enjoyed Shang-Chi.

The scope and scale of Eternals is kind of unprecedented. First of all, you have 10 super heroes over a history of 7,000 years as well as some other backstories about the universe. The back-and-forth between the past and present can get disorienting at times. Because of the scale and scope, there is a lot of exposition, but that would be the case of any origin film.  With Eternals, this is multiplied because of the time scale and number of characters. As to be expected from a Chloe Zhao film, the cinematography and overall design was fantastic. It’s a  visually beautiful film. Marvel definitely did not spare any expense on the quality of visual effects as well (except for the mid-credit scene).

The official summary of Eternals is:

Marvel Studios’ Eternals features an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, the Deviants.

I can understand the criticism, since at some points of the film, there are definitely pacing issues. The film is long, and it has to be long given the scope and scale. Some of the reviews I’ve watched say that the film would have been better as a Disney+ Marvel series, but I don’t think the economics would work out as a series. Many critics complain about not having a lot of action – which I can understand, but the film is really setting up the next stage of the MCU. Tonally, Eternals is not like your typical MCU film – very different – definitely more serious and somber in nature. There are definitely elements of humor sprinkled here and there, but much more sublte.

The acting is great. Gemma Chan plays a major role as Sersi, a bigger role than I thought she would have. Not all of the Eternals get equal time treatment and there are definitely a few surprises that caught me off guard. The I know a lot of haters were slamming Eternals as somehow politically correct and “woke” because it had a diverse cast of superheroes. That’s sad. The Eternals’ mission was to watch over humans as they developed over time, so it totally makes total sense to have a diverse group of superheroes. Some have been review bombing the film because they think Marvel is being “politically correct.” Eternals had its first sex scene, but it was really brief. I mean, no big deal, I think you see way more on broadcast tv, and there was a same sex kiss scene, which was brief, and again, no big deal.

As far as the mid-credit and end-credit scenes, I am an MCU fan, but I do not know everything about the universe beyond the comic books I read as a kid (Spider-man, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Galactica, Secret Wars, etc.), so after the film when I got home, I checked out the Internet to learn more about what exactly I watched.

If you like Marvel films and if you like Chloe Zhao films, you should definitely see this film.


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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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