Jack Kirby, pop culture mythmaker and ardent lover of ancient mythologies, created Marvel’s Eternals in 1976.
In doing so, he happily availed himself of the gods’ treasure trove of heroic tales from various cultures and, but also toyed with, the ancient alien theory circulating since 1968, when Erich von Dniken he speculated on the influence of extraterrestrial visitors on early civilizations in his Memories of the Future.
Kirby himself showed little interest in narratively linking the Eternals to the rest of the Marvel universe; This was taken over by later authors, including Neil Gaiman in 2006, who brought the comparatively unpopular “Eternals” back onto the radar of Marvel fans along with cartoonist John Romita Jr.
For millennia, the Eternals Ajak (Salma Hayek), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Sprite (Lia McHugh) and Thena (Angelina Jolie) have been roaming the planet Olympia.
The goal: to protect humans from the Deviants , powerful monsters who want to destroy everything. But at some point the archenemies were defeated, the heroes heroes’ task is accomplished and. And so they went their separate ways, all looking for a new purpose in.
However, to their great surprise, at some point they must learn that the Deviants have returned, stronger than ever. And only together can they stop them. But that’s not so easy, because in the meantime the ten have not only separated as a group, they also lead completely different lives. own cinematographic universe.
This not only applies to the many stars who are in front of the camera and who make their films important, there are also well-known filmmakers behind the camera.
Among them are those that one would not associate with the adaptations of comics at first glance, be it the horror expert Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Doctor Strange) or Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Black Panther), specialized in social dramas. Even more unexpected was the signing of Chlo Zhao.
Now the answer is at hand. It’s called “Eternals” and it’s somewhat sobering, at least when measured by galactic expectations.
Sure, no one could seriously expect the Chinese-born director to keep up her style. completely unaltered. And these masses technical shows want, gore on a large scale, the occasional casual occurrence in between and.
That the world is about to end does not mean that you have to lose your good humor, especially , because in the end everything ends well, as everyone knows in the cinema. After all, movies are meant to entertain, first and foremost. The depressing aspects of the exterior should be dealt with by others.
However, it is somewhat disappointing how infrequently Zhao has the opportunity to actually use his special abilities.
For example, the constant time jumps, the changes of location and. Sometimes the itinerary includes present-day London, then we pass through the jungle a few centuries before we opened, suddenly we find ourselves again in a desert, to later mourn a destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. Many of the scenes only last a few minutes, not even that some. the duration of more than two and a half is again very excessive hours. They have tried to fit a whole series into the film, which is a lot of little at the same time.
In relation to this, there is an unusually strong in the characters. The newly assembled team is made up of no less than ten men and women, a few peripheral characters around them with including Harish Patel as comedic partner Karun, Kingo’s representative. And at least Zhao has to say a lot about the main characters.
The result is as if “Eternals” is a mixture of The Avengers and the solo movies, all one in, maybe this is a a little exaggerated.
At the same time, this is also the most interesting aspect of the film, because within the commotion there is a lot of humanity.
Although the ten have the same mission and have traveled together to Earth, their treatment of people has led them on very different paths with.
Chlo Zhao and her co-authors They don’t use a specific story template, but rather amalgamate elements from different comics in “Eternals.”
His story fits into the continuity of the MCU, but shows less interest in groping horizontally at the other films and series, but delights in expanding the complex universe vertically, into the depths of human history: the prologue is not the only historical excursion that illuminates the background story. or of the “Eternals”, which goes from the Mesopotamian coast in 5000 BC to ancient Babylon with its Ishtar Gate to the Aztec metropolis of Tenochtitlan and, conquered and razed by the Spanish in the 16th century and the atomic mushroom cloud over Hiroshima in 1945.
Throughout the 157 minutes of film, you breathe the peak breath of the millennia, so flashbacks are not only an opportunity to show interesting cinematographic values, but also serve to develop the relationship of the “Eternals” with the people and with their own role as protectors, because at some point this begins to be a difficult and controversial relationship.
That is why the Eternals in the present narrative have long ago They stopped being a cohesive group.
The task of featuring a heroic ensemble of ten characters (none of whom have had a solo movie before, unlike d e The Avengers) necessarily squares the circle: giving all the characters a distinctive profile is simply impossible.
The writers react to this without even trying, but by setting priorities: Sersi provides the emotional center; Ikaris, the one who still has feelings even after a breakup with, is his most important source of friction, and around him the other emphatically diverse “Eternals” – including a deaf person and a homosexual character – function as secondary characters.
Some of them provide comic relief (especially Kingo, played by Kumail Nanjiani, who has taken advantage of his retirement from the “Eternals” to write the history of cinema as a one-man Bollywood dynasty), others They are the internal Achilles heels that ensure the team develops weaknesses, from which potential stress can then be drawn.
Thena, for example, suffers from Eternals Mahd Wy’ry disease, a kind of delirium caused by too many accumulated memories, and Sprite struggles with his inability to grow.
At times, this could be painful and sad and one wishes that Zhao had been allowed to do a drama existential I knew rhroes instead of presenting this strange compromise.
The fact that the story is partly somewhat out of focus and that the characters don’t always behave plausibly just so the plot can move forward either It helps to take the film to heart.
However, the hostility, sometimes unpleasant, that Eternals receives is not justified in the form it takes. Because even if the experiment of combining commercial cinema with indie sensibilities didn’t quite work, there are several scenes that are worth watching. And at least, for some of the characters, it would be desirable that they return to the big screen in the future.