My knowledge of Marvel Comics characters is a bit more substantial than the average person since I read a lot of comics during the late 80s and early 90s, but Eternals is an unknown property to me. I was always more into the more grounded stuff like Spider-man, X-men and Avengers. The cosmic side of the whole Marvel Universe never intrigued me that much. Save for the Silver Surfer which is just a cool looking character. Eternals: the movie is my first introduction to these characters, but my guess is it will be for a lot of people.
Eternals are a group of about ten immortal beings who have been living on Earth among us for thousands of years. They have helped shape our history and civilizations throughout the ages. They have the form of humans, complete to the last anatomic detail, and neatly tick of the every box on the diversity list. Like the cast of the Fast and the Furious movies almost every ethnicity is represented here. There is even an openly gay character. Though his openly gay scenes have been shot in such a way, Disney can easily remove them for certain foreign markets that still consider homosexuality problematic. Money first, a progressive agenda second.
The Eternals are living a low-key and rather anonymous lives among us mere mortals, separated from each other. Much like Superman these aliens have everyday lives. Since they don’t age, they move every five years or so to a new life. But then Deviants start to appear. These are large creatures seemingly made out of tentacles which the Eternals thought to have eliminated. So the band gets back together to find out what is going on and it of course turns out the entire planet is in danger. You have got to have those large stakes.
I should tell you all about how the Eternals and Deviants were create by the same Celestial and that there is a grand plan but I don’t want to bore you to death like this movie did to me. Because this is truly the most boring Marvel movie to date. I was watching the time display to see how many minutes were left several times. Never a good sign.
The main problem with Eternals is that there are too many characters. The reason Guardians of the Galaxy worked so well, is that they only had to introduce four main characters to us and we went along on their journey to become a team. Here there are no less than ten characters meaning that character development is reserved for only a few. At around 90 minutes into the movie, the main group of characters meet up with a character we only saw in the first 15 minutes and I had already totally forgotten about her.
But as characters themselves, the Eternals feel like rip-offs of other, more famous, superheroes. There is Ikaris who resembles Superman with his ability to fly and shoot laser beams from his eyes. He is even addressed as Superman at one point. There is Gilgamesh a chubby Asian man who bears more than just a resemblance to Wong from Doctor Strange. Thena is this movie’s Wonder Woman and Makkari is a rip-off of The Flash/Quicksilver. Throughout the movie I really had the feeling I was watching a knock-off superhero movie.
The Eternals themselves don’t make much sense as well. They are created by a Celestial and given a perfect human anatomy, but they never age and don’t reproduce. Yet they do have sex with each other and humans. I get that in terms of “blending in” a human body is required, but it didn’t make much sense to me that a Celestial would create beings with no need for reproduction, but do give them all the tools, both physically and mentally, that are generally required for the so-called circle of life.
Eternals shows that Marvel has written themselves in a bit of a corner when it comes to characters that are supposed to have been around for many years. As one character rightfully asks “where were you when Thanos attacked?” and the answer is a shrug off. in fact, the answer given completely contradicts the third act in which the Eternals’ true purpose is revealed. Let’s just say that the grand scheme requires Earth having a pretty large population and Thanos wiping out 3.5 billion people puts a pretty big dent in that plan. The Eternals had every reason to have been a part of an attack on Thanos.
Marvel has proven that it can turn C-list characters like Iron Man, Black Panther, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange into entertaining and successful movies. Eternals proves that there apparently is a limit to their skills. Maybe these characters can redeem themselves in another outing, but I’m not looking forward to a sequel. Because to me Eternals is what you get when you order The Avengers on WISH.