The review of Eternals: Marvel’s Immortal Ensemble crushes an Oscar-winning director

eternal – now in cinemas around the world – has a lot to show. After all, it’s the second-longest film in the Marvel universe of all time, with a running time of 156 minutes (including credits), behind only the epic Avengers: Endgame saga. The eternal The ensemble consists of 10 immortal beings, led by people such as Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden and Kumail Nanjiani. Its story spans several millennia: from 5,000 BC. Mesopotamia as far as London today and the Spanish conquest from the 15th century to 400 AD. The Gupta Empire. There are pits of knowledge and exhibitions scattered everywhere, but even that is not enough. eternal it begins with a three-paragraph opening crawl – it’s like Star Wars, but sadder – that tells us how they became Eternals, their main enemy and their purpose on Earth.

It’s too much – and despite the fact that it takes two and a half hours, eternal buckles under the weight of the demands placed on him. It’s like throwing yourself into Avengers: Age of Ultron without knowing any of the previous MCU movies. To be fair, Marvel has taken on an overall project before: Guardians of the Galaxy. Except that James Gunn had a talking tree and a snarky car as two of the five main characters. eternal it has TEN human-looking characters that we all meet for the first time. It’s a tough battle for any writer-director, even for one who won an Oscar for her film. Earlier this year, eternal director Chloé Zhao won Best Picture and Best Director for her drama work directed by Frances McDormand, Nomadland.

Anxious, eternal it never feels like a movie with Chloé Zhao. Although that may be because I’ve never seen a Zhao movie on this scale. Until then eternalZhao was famous for offering lyrical explorations of rural America, performed with non-actors whenever possible. That made her work feel grounded, realistic, intimate, and like a documentary. eternal it’s anything but. It’s a Marvel superhero movie about immortal beings. Unrequited, the film features giants the size of the planet and feels very much like a Marvel Studios production. Sure, Zhao conveys his love for filming on location in the golden clock, eternal it has epic views and is beautiful to look at and there is a tangible feeling in some of its settings. But all this is superficial.

Zhao fails to bring the heart and soul for which she is known eternal – instead, it offers a gigantic and gorgeous movie, without saying anything, something for which Marvel is accused too often.

Watch the final eternal Trailer in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam

The eternal the opening crawl informs us that the titular beings were created by Arishem, the First Heavenly One. Think of Arishem as a super-goddess who only deals with planet-level talk – it makes sense, given that the heavens are the size of the planets themselves. Arishem sent our Eternals to protect the Earth from Deviants, ugly-looking evil beasts that are essentially top predators. They were instructed not to interfere in any other human conflict. The Eternals came to our planet over 7,000 years ago and have lived in secret ever since, after separating centuries ago because of a tragedy, as a more expository narrative tells us.

There is Sersi (Gemma Chan, from Humans) who can transmute any inanimate matter and lives as an employee of the Natural History Museum in London. We have Ikaris (Richard Madden, from Game of Thrones) who is practically the Marvel Superman, considering that he can fly and shoot his eyes. Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani, din Silicon Valley), who can explode from his hands, chose the strange disguise as the biggest movie star in Bollywood. Sprite (Lia McHugh, from The Lodge) can make real illusions and look like a 12-year-old. Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry, din Atlanta) is a wizard of technology.

Makkari (Lauren Ridloff from The Walking Dead) is basically The Marvel Flash because it has super speed. Druig (Barry Keoghan, din Dunkerque) can take the human mind to scale. Gilgamesh (Don Lee, from Train to Busan) is the strongest of the Eternals, with his fist capable of stopping almost anything. Thena (Angelina Jolie), who gives her name to the Goddess of War, can summon weapons from the air. That leaves Ajak (Salma Hayek) with healing powers. More importantly, Ajak leads the group as “Prime Eternal” (she is like a mother to the rest) and can talk to Arishem.

eternal spend their first half or so jumping over time to show the group’s journey to Earth – the big events they were part of, which led to their breakup and the team slowly coming back together nowadays, as the old Deviant threat reappears . . It can be watched, but it is far from interesting. Frustratingly eternal it never really takes us inside these immortal but fallible beings.

Everything you need to know about Marvel’s eternal

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Salma Hayek as Ajak eternal
Photo credit: Disney / Marvel Studios

Of course, as in any movie that has so many characters, some of them eternal the whole is more “main” than others. Sersi and Ikaris get most of the time on screen, complying with Chan and Madden’s highest billing. But “their love story that spans millennia” is so superficial, it happens in one scene and comes out of nowhere. Jolie is wasted in a one-note role that makes her star power useless for all but one scene. And Hayek, who was worried that Marvel would give her a role as a grandmother, ends up doing more or less with her mother’s truncated role for Eternals.

An adult character takes a break from the great battle of the third act – no one talks about their absence even when they magically return for the conclusion. Kit Harington, co-star of Madden in Game of Thrones, has a small role to play, which is essentially a backdoor pilot for his upcoming MCU adventures.

Even people like Phastos and Makkari are essentially demoted to the sidelines. This feels like a given extra betrayal eternal has been listed as the most diverse Marvel film to date. (Yes, I know it’s a very low bar and it should have happened sooner.) Phastos and Makkari are the first gay and deaf MCU superheroes, respectively, but their presence is minimal and fleeting. I was really surprised to see that the censorship board in India did not interrupt gay kissing, which they have been guilty of in the past. There’s even a PG-13 friendly sex scene, a Marvel premiere.

eternal he also suffers from the problem with the Marvel villains. The deviants aren’t interesting at all – the fact that they can’t talk for the most part contributes to that. Hell, some of them don’t even get names, despite the fact that they appear repeatedly. One only appears after three-quarters of a movie.

The only invigorating aspect is the comic relief provided by Kingo and his valet Karun (Harish Patel, from Gunda). Kingo seems to be the only one with a sense of humor between Eterni – and Nanjiani and Patel infuse life into the film. It’s amazing how often Patel gets to steal scenes from a movie full of celebrities. Probably because the others, except Kingo, are stuck playing with the gods with the weight of the universe on them.

Thanks to the duo, eternal He also kind of breaks the fourth wall, while Karun follows Kingo everywhere with a camera, allowing exaggerated giggles and nonsense to get over the dramatic tension. And through Kingo and Karun Zhao he comes closest to any incisive comment – I can’t say if it’s intentional, but a few lines in eternal deep cut in Bollywood. It made me wonder who is responsible for such a prospect in the drafting committee.

The humor also comes from characters who refer to other MCU characters and events – Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) gets a nod – and even jumps at his rival DC Comics, with a few jokes comparing eternalcharacters for Superman and Batman’s butler Alfred Pennyworth.

from eternal in Dhamaka, What to look for in November

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Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Gemma Chan as Sersi, Lia McHugh as Sprite eternal
Photo credit: Disney / Marvel Studios

eternalThe action sequences have nothing special either. If you were hoping that Zhao’s love of persistent shooting would result in longer stunt photos, be prepared to be disappointed. In fact, it is cut and edited like any Marvel movie. Award-winning filmmaker Lucrecia Martel has revealed that she turned down Marvel Black Widow after offering to “take care” of the action sequences. I may be completely wrong here, but it looks like Zhao isn’t responsible for the big set pieces. Yes, there are some flashes of style, using their unique abilities and showing the otherworldly nature of their superpowers in a fun way, but it is rare and forgettable.

This most promising nugget eternal the offers is the way the team is divided internally by values ​​- they do not see eye to eye on a lot of topics, which led them to go their own separate ways. (Also contributes to eternalThis is most clearly expressed by Druig, who, as he says, could easily settle all the disputes of mankind in an instant. But then people would not learn or develop, says the counter-argument. Being asked to stand aside when you have God-like powers can be very much on anyone’s shoulders. eternal he had to expand better on these lines – but he doesn’t know how to do it. Instead, it gives us just a few expositions, characters sitting and arguing and a little forward momentum or narrative urgency.

With eternal, the MCU gods are at the center of the scene. Yes, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has existed since the beginning, and Ego (Kurt Russell) – a Celestial – appears in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. But Marvel has never been part of the creation myth until now. Disney + series Loki briefly touched on the lack of free will in the MCU and eternal push deeper into that. Although with very mixed results. eternal assumes that the 10 have shaped the history of mankind. It’s fine. But saying that the Eternals are responsible for the worst impulses and calculations of humans, removes the evil that humans themselves are capable of. Humans are their biggest enemies – we don’t need dice-playing gods to decide our behavior and fate.

No matter who was hired for the job, eternal it would always be an ambitious film. Despite the long running time, the crowding of almost a dozen characters and a vintage saga seems too ambitious. Zhao acknowledged this: “It could be longer! You know, there are ten characters, Celestials and 7,000 years. There’s a lot going on. “Oddly enough, eternal it feels like it’s been thin for most of the 156 minutes before being thrown into the deep end. That tipped the scales and sank the ship. Zhao reveals the story of the Eternals on an epic and elaborate scene, though it turns out to be a double-edged sword. We get a grandiose mythology about the creation of the universe (Marvel), along with the background stories of its titular immortal beings. But we are never given time to understand, care for, or connect with them.

eternal appears in theaters around the world on Friday, November 5th. In India, eternal It is available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.

Updated: March 14, 2022 — 9:11 am

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