Eternals (2021)
November 4, 2021 6:43 PM - Subscribe

The Eternals are a team of ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. When an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows, they are forced to reunite against mankind's most ancient enemy, the Deviants. Trailer.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (69 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I was pretty meh about this latest MCU flick, as it didn't seem interesting or have much of a place in the franchise. The trailer itself didn't seem inspiring and a rehash of previous MCU movies.

But I was pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns and characters in the actual film. It's a long one, that seemingly focuses too much on origin of the Eternals, but in the end it works, it makes sense. The characters work in the context of what we think is their mission. And what a mission! To find out your life is a lie and forced to choose whether to stick with that mission or rebel is great question and what each chooses speaks to the individual characters, proving that the length of the movie is too its benefit.

Overall, it feels different from previous MCU films, while still being in the family of them. It's a welcome and exciting change to the franchise and brings a lot of different options for the future.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:50 PM on November 4, 2021 [7 favorites]

I recently reread the neil gaiman eternals comic and had that fresh in my mind while watching this one.

In that comic, the deviants have been sentient the whole time. They were brutal and violent overlords of earth that the eternals killed almost effortlessly by the thousands, and the celestials eventually came back and ate the other hundred million.

The surviving deviants started a religion to the one celestial that, according to the deviants' religion, thought just going planet to planet eating people like popcorn was kind of messed up, so the other celestials knocked him out and set him dreaming underground. Their religion states that he'll wake up and avenge them, but the sleeping celestial in the earth has mostly forgotten about them and might not have ever even noticed them(?), he just wants to blow up earth and go kill stuff in five dimensional space folds or some shit, and he has a crush on Iron Man.


I liked that they kept the weird misheard religious plotline and I wish the deviants had done more, although I understand why they weren't a SECOND secret ancient society that the film had to introduce.

Also of note, in the comic Makkari, Ajak, and Sprite are male. Earlier this year marvel decided that every twenty thousand years or so the eternals get bored and flip gender when they regenerate, so any eternal who dies could come back as literally anyone.
posted by fomhar at 7:54 PM on November 4, 2021 [3 favorites]

I’m a Marvel fan. I watch all of the movies and TV series. I’ve read many of the comics. I’ve never read any Eternals, though, so I went into this not knowing anything about these characters.

I really liked Kingo and Phastos. Makkari was fun too, but she got sidelined for a big chunk of the middle of the movie. I think speedster characters are difficult to write stories around because they could solve almost any battle with ease, so they just tucked her away until the climax.

The deviants were just CGI blecch monsters and the big deviant turned out to be a big meh during the climax.

The pacing was pretty slow through parts, and it had my 10 year old fidgeting. We got up to visit the restroom during the part where they did whatever (erased?) to Thena’s memory and I don’t feel like we missed anything.

Ultimately, it felt like the climax was kind of a mess, between the deviant big bad and the !betrayal! and characters running here and there and fighting but then not! And flashback to holding hands and love saves the day and now there’s bits of a Celestial sticking out of the planet.

I didn’t really get to know any one character enough to feel strongly about them. Many of the humor moments felt forced. Angelina Jolie looked bored.

It felt like less than the sum of its parts, somehow.

I felt disappointed. I’d rank this one middle to low among the Marvel films.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:28 PM on November 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

alright I'll say it since nobody else is saying it anywhere- this is a metaphor for abortion, right? I'm not the only one who picked up on that theming?
posted by fomhar at 6:57 AM on November 5, 2021 [7 favorites]

alright I'll say it since nobody else is saying it anywhere- this is a metaphor for abortion, right? I'm not the only one who picked up on that theming?

No, I totally picked up on the fact that they aborted a Celestial and have a monument to that. Between that and two gay characters tongue kissing, the diverse cast, and powerfull women as leaders, I fully expect certain groups to have an absolute meltdown, so I'm popping more popcorn for that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:03 AM on November 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

The thing that really makes it a good metaphor for abortion is that the main discussion was between a lot of people who aren't really involved and then the person who is gonna either die or not die eventually pops in like "Yes I think I would prefer to live thank you" but it doesn't really have any effect on what the traditional decision makers do.
posted by fomhar at 8:14 AM on November 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Kingo just disappearing for the final battle was... weird. It felt more like Kumail Nanjiani had a scheduling conflict more than something organic in the script. Or maybe he was killed off in an early versions of the film, but that was changed very late in the process.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 9:19 AM on November 5, 2021 [10 favorites]

Literally the credits are playing right now, so I'll just say this is a solid mid-tier DCEU* outing.

*I said what i said.

Ok, lemme scroll from the top and read everyone's thoughts.
posted by cendawanita at 9:23 AM on November 5, 2021 [4 favorites]

So, fuller thoughts:

- there are parts of this that can only enliven future MCU (in terms of approach and story voice) moving forward, but i also think Zhao as a director would've been better placed in a more established story because I think having her shoulder the double burden of doing genre story setup AND humanizing these characters was a bit unfair for someone of her calibre who needs more fluency in the genre, because the human drama part is incredible, in large parts there were certain emotional shorthands she could take because those had to do with identifiable human experiences, but i will argue the movie picked wrong plot moments to telegraph and shorthand on.

- related to that, i would describe it as a movie with an incredible story, but terrible plotting. E.g the elegance of the Gilgamesh & Thena's relationship and Druig & Makkari, but the nonsensically third act revelatory moment with Ajak (which informs a lot of Sersi & Ikaris, so that's a lot of, ???, with them).

- seriously, in a DCEU movie she would be a standout - I'm thinking how the writing team managed to break this story for a movie, in terms of giving them character beats that's definitely relatable. This is the Marvel flavour that ideally should've happened when JW was roped in to do Justice League (and to an extent was achieved with Gunn's The Suicide Squad).

- but the terrible plotting is a massive handicap imo. Terrible genre-wise, in between the great human beats, so the setup for the McGuffin plot was noticeably half-baked and a lot more leaps than needed from the audience considering the pace is practically Snyderian.

- ok, lol at the cameo.

- the editing isn't bad but the timing of it was just... Like, if you lost me at a quasi-Bollywood number... I guess that's an argument against Terence Malick ever doing a Bollywood movie.
posted by cendawanita at 10:08 AM on November 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

The biggest question I have at the moment is why did Marvel choose to introduce these entire new slate of characters in one movie? I liked them, but even the death of Gigamesh was more "oh, bummer" as opposed to "holy shit". It feels like the MCU rushed these characters and plot, when they didn't need to.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:08 AM on November 5, 2021 [5 favorites]

The storyboarding feels very much like a at-minimum 6-episode miniseries than a movie, aye.
posted by cendawanita at 10:11 AM on November 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

(also i caught an interview where Kumail Najiani said he practiced and rehearsed so hard for the Bollywood scene because he's no dancer, and indeed all i can say is, the man's got an accurate self-assessment of himself.)

(Angelina Jolie balletically backflipping is honestly the reason why we haven't quite found another female action star of her calibre. Everyone's got the same stunt team but some people's just got that talent+skill to make it art.)
posted by cendawanita at 10:16 AM on November 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Unexpected Harry Styles was unexpected. But my friend and I, who are Marvel devotees, were sort of gobsmacked that we found that to be the best part of the movie--not for anything he said or did, just that it was a surprise and funny (and I can't even count myself as someone who recognizes him, I had an interior monologue for at least 45 seconds arguing with myself if that was him).

My friend is waaaay more forgiving of Marvel's crap than I am, and we were testing each other out in the car on the way home, trying to see what we could say without offending the other one, until she finally just blurted out that she kind of stopped paying attention to the fights because she was trying to figure out how to rework the script so it didn't bore her so much. I had to admit I didn't understand anything that was going on because I couldn't pay attention, and exposition-as-dialogue is my number one pet peeve in scripts and a solid chunk of this movie is expository dumps, trying to give character to characters who don't really have any.

It's very beautiful, though, filled with beautiful people. But the fact that the three most dynamic actors--Brian Tyree Henry, Kumail Nanjiani, and Lauren Riddler--were missing from the movie for huge chunks ended up losing me completely. Gilgamesh was also a really interesting character I would have liked to see more of. And I will say I didn't think Disney would truly go there--I thought they'd wimp out like they always do when they lie about gay characters, the craven asshats, but they really did finally let a character be gay (at least for the US release). About damn time.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:50 AM on November 5, 2021

The storyboarding feels very much like a at-minimum 6-episode miniseries than a movie, aye.

Release the Zhao Cut
posted by Apocryphon at 2:22 PM on November 5, 2021 [9 favorites]

The biggest question I have at the moment is why did Marvel choose to introduce these entire new slate of characters in one movie? I liked them, but even the death of Gigamesh was more "oh, bummer" as opposed to "holy shit". It feels like the MCU rushed these characters and plot, when they didn't need to.

This just makes me think of Black Panther and how well it was served by introducing the concepts of Wakanda and T'challa in other movies prior to getting their own dedicated movie. This was one of the things the MCU did really well in the past: slowly easing folks into the wider Marvel universe one post-credits sequence at a time. The Eternals are such an out-there concept that you have to be extremely careful grounding it to the world you've already built, and if you're not super interested in doing the work to introduce them to the universe maybe just... don't?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:48 PM on November 5, 2021

When the movie started with ten Eternals I was all "Dear Mr. President, There are too many Eternals nowadays. Please, eliminate three. P.S. I am not a crackpot." And lo and behold, by the end they'd eliminated three!

I liked this much better than I was expecting to! I was fine with the languid pace, and it didn't feel to me like the longest MCU movie save Endgame. I didn't read Eternals comics back in the day (I wasn't into that stoner stuff as a pre-teen) so I have no idea whether the story of the movie is a twist, but I love that these supposed golden gods actually turned out to be mass-murdering drones.

I really liked that the Eternals were shown using their abilities to inspire, boost, and support humanity. Most superheroes have combat-oriented powers, because combat is exciting. But superheroes using their powers to establish agricultural society was excellent.

Loved the absolute enormousness of the Celestials being used in effective ways—I expect to see a lot of screen grabs on r/Megalophobia in coming weeks. That said, I thought Sersi was turning Tiamut into ice to quench the volcanic activity, which would have had the bonus that it would have melted and not been the world's biggest abortion monument.

I much preferred the third act battle over the one in Shang Chi, since it was just seven characters fighting and not seven main characters, a hundred anonymous extras, and a thousand CGI beasties. And by the way—the Ten Rings were totally built by Phastos, right??

I liked that Phastos's relationship was completely matter-of-fact. It's true representation when a gay relationship can be shown to be as boring as a straight one. (I kid.) Also, I thought the Hiroshima scene did not come off as military propaganda, as I've heard some say. He was clearly not assuming the guilt of it or absolving the military, he was devastated that he'd helped humanity attain power it could not wisely wield, which is an indictment of the military. (Whether it was in poor taste is beyond the scope of my comment.)

Was pleasantly surprised that Druig the mind controller didn't turn out to be evil, despite having cast Barry Keoghan (I still have trauma from Killing of a Sacred Deer). Ikaris turning on his family felt very Homelander/Omni-Man, but at least he was more "fanatically devoted to his mission" than "mustache-twirling evil."

Throughout I was thinking that they'd really kneecapped themselves by casting a 13-year-old as an ageless immortal, because by Eternals 2 they'd need a buttload of de-aging CGI. Props to them for finding a way around it. Also thanks to them for not having Sprite try to go in for a kiss with Ikaris, which I was genuinely afraid was going to happen.

I thought Harry Styles was Evan Peters and was surprised they were re-using him so soon after WandaVision.

The ending credits were my favorite over-designed MCU ending credits in a long time. The juxtaposition of the actors names with figures from art and myth, along with depictions of mythological monsters implied to be Deviants, outlined an interesting history for the Eternals that the film acknowledged but barely touched on.

Finally: I'm glad that this movie establishes that Mexican, Korean, Irish, Scottish, English, and American accents all existed in the MCU before the Spanish, Korean, or English languages did.
posted by ejs at 8:23 PM on November 5, 2021 [7 favorites]


Haven't seen a non-jokey opening narration scroll in a long time!

Pink Floyd!

Was very happy for Druig to look like the bad guy but not be the bad guy.

Kiss the Cook!

Totally an abortion analogy, though I feel like dead Celestials might get reanimated.

Also is Ikaris really dead? I give good odds he isn't.

I appreciate Jolie not just being broken/ helpless and also not dying after she manages an act of heroism.

So much movie physics.

Starfox? Ok?

I had zero expectations and found it enjoyable.
posted by emjaybee at 8:47 PM on November 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Oh also: do Marvel movies name check DC stuff usually? We got a Superman and Batman name drop.
posted by emjaybee at 9:21 PM on November 5, 2021

Marvel usually doesn't namecheck DC stuff.

But since "Superman" turned out to be a massive shitbag in this movie, I imagine that several executives are giggling about mentioning him in this particular movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:47 AM on November 6, 2021 [6 favorites]

I really really wanted to like this, but have to say it was the most "meh" I've ever felt leaving a theatre after a Marvel movie. It felt like two movies in a bag fighting it out and neither one ultimately made it out of the bag anyway.

Like posters above, I was baffled by the Eternals having accents before their respective languages existed, and by Kingo basically saying "I do not want to be in the final reel of this movie" and noping out of the entire climax. And I also got super excited by the Pink Floyd needle drop!

My wife and I are making great hay out of Ikarus' "I had a very strong disagreement with my family so I am going to fly into the sun." If you'd asked me in the first 15 minutes "which Eternal is most like your mother?" I don't think I would have gone in that direction, so that may have been the greatest twist the movie had to offer me.

I did like the Celestial design and scale. I like the thought that future Marvel movies will have a big face and hand just poking out of the ocean from time to time, like CHA on the moon in the Tick cartoon back in the day.

After the mid-credits scene, my wife asked who Pip the Troll was, and Starfox, and trying to mentally unpack and re-align the massive bong rip that is all of Jim Starlin's comics almost gave me a nosebleed, especially when you have to repack it into the MCU, where almost every member of the extended Adam Warlock universe has been rebundled into different properties at this point so it's kind of hard to talk about Pip when Warlock hasn't made his way into the MCU yet. Also also: does this make Patton Oswalt the most-used actor in the Marvel Universe? He's been Jasper Sitwell in the Agents of SHIELD show, voiced MODOK, and now this.

I had no idea that Eros/Thanos being Eternals was comics canon until I looked it up. Huh! If all the Eternals are created to steward baby Celestial nesting planets, Thanos' plans seem like they should have attracted Celestial ire -- and if (per the comics stuff I just wiki'd) Thanos looks like a cruller because he's got Deviant DNA, that even moves into the "we could only fight Deviants" excuse the Eternals had off the jump for not getting involved. So... huh?
posted by Shepherd at 1:33 PM on November 6, 2021 [7 favorites]

I think the MCU does a good job of taking decades of convoluted comics lore and simplifying it in a way that makes much more sense to people who haven’t been reading comics since the 70’s. For instance, with Thanos, he was just a powerful and psychopathic guy from a planet called Titan; no need to introduce any Eternals or Deviant business. So I was surprised that after having just established that Eternals were synthetic beings who get recycled every 7,000 years after shepherding an intelligent species over a certain level of population, they presented Starfox as both an Eternal and Thanos’s brother. Does this mean Thanos’s mom adopted an immortal, human-looking, god-like, genocidal synthetic being for some reason? Was there a Celestial seed on Titan, but when Thanos killed half the population, the Eternals stationed there said “Fuck this, I’m going to go carousing with a troll?”

Also, to be pedantic—and what’s a Marvel thread without pedantry?—Oswalt played Eric Koenig and his brothers in AoS; Jasper Sitwell was a different (Hydra-affiliated) dude.
posted by ejs at 2:34 PM on November 6, 2021

Ikaris just yeeting himself into the sun was perfect "I mean, I guess that's an option you could pursue or you could, you know, say sorry I wanted the world to end, we still good?"
posted by Kitteh at 2:44 PM on November 6, 2021

Was there a Celestial seed on Titan, but when Thanos killed half the population, the Eternals stationed there said “Fuck this, I’m going to go carousing with a troll?”

Perfectly rational response. Hell, I would.
posted by Grangousier at 3:20 PM on November 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

Let me first say that I thought Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland and Songs My Brothers Taught Me were tremendously beautiful and not at all slow or boring. But I found this movie incredibly boring. I didn’t buy the central romance at all, I found it unnecessarily slow paced and exposition-heavy, especially in comparison to Dune and, to an extent, Shang-Chi.

It’s not that there weren’t good bits. There were many nice shots, Barry Keoghan was great, etc. But overall it was plain bad. I wish I hadn’t watched it, and I have never said that about any MCU movie or show.
posted by adrianhon at 5:15 PM on November 6, 2021

I mean, did you see Dark World? I don't think this was worse than that.
posted by emjaybee at 6:50 PM on November 7, 2021 [5 favorites]

I don't know if I could say that I loved it but I liked it quite a lot and felt like it was a refreshing break from the tedious sameness of most MCU films. It's one of the few that never felt to me like it was designed by a committee of Disney executives.
posted by octothorpe at 6:53 PM on November 7, 2021 [7 favorites]

Forgot to mention, in my market, you can kill as many people as you want but you can't kiss, according to the censorship board. But my country is also institutionally homophobic (as in illegal). We even had a minor coverage in the news with Beauty and the Beast live-action with the 'gay content'.

So I'm 'pleased' to report the only thing from Phastos that was cut was the same thing that got cut from Sersi and Ikaris (IE the kissing). Initially we (my friends and i) thought it was on balance still homophobic because S&I can come so close on screen before the snipsnip while Phastos and hubby only had a moment where they met in the middle before we're in the next scene. But now we found out this movie is being celebrated for its first sex scene, and we can't even figure out which bit (probably after the wedding right??) because it was excised so thoroughly.

So we're like, aww that's nice equal opportunity sex-aversion! But right there on screen, two husbands and their child, just casually existing. That's nice. Kudos to Zhao.
posted by cendawanita at 10:01 PM on November 7, 2021

Could someone explain how they used the namechecks for Superman and Batman mentioned above, please. It's the one aspect of this movie I'm curious about.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:10 PM on November 7, 2021

Google “eternals batman”.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:26 AM on November 8, 2021

I'd like to watch it again and just concentrate on the editing style. Zhou didn't use the full-out discontinuous style that she used in Nomadland (which she edited herself) but this one still has a very jumpy style that feels very specific to her films.
posted by octothorpe at 4:59 AM on November 8, 2021

I had no idea that was Harry Styles but I did recognize Patton Oswalt immediately.
posted by octothorpe at 6:43 AM on November 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

The sex scene was the first time they met at the rocks, when Ikaris declared his love, then there was kissing and getting down on the ground and naked shoulders and such.
posted by emjaybee at 9:58 AM on November 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

It was too long and overstuffed and messy and some bits didn't make sense — but I quite liked it! Way more than the reviews suggested I would.

It was visually great, the acting across the board was a much higher calibre than the average Marvel film, and it went in some new and unexpected directions (at least for the MCU).

I would for sure watch a sequel and/or like to see some of these characters show up in other films.

Also: Harish Patel deserves way more recognition for his role in this, which ended up being bigger than some of the actual Eternals.
posted by retrograde at 10:30 PM on November 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

I thought that it was fine, both for giving a sense of the grandeur and jaw-dropping scope of Kirby at his Kirbiest, and for taking the elements of the comics and giving them some interesting twists. The main thing that I didn't like was sucking all the personality out of the Deviants; I guess that the one who finally talked was supposed to be Kro, but mostly they were just run-of-the-mill CGI critters, and "Kro" becoming sentient was a little too much like Ultron for my liking. On the other hand, the big revelation about the Celestials, plus the guy who everyone assumed was going to be the lead (because he was in the comics) turning out to be the bad guy, and Sersi, who was maybe third or fourth down the list in the comics (after Ikaris, Thena, and Kro) being the lead were all excellent choices; I'm glad that Gemma Chan wasn't limited to her appearance in Captain Marvel. And I was fine with the pace of the thing.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:19 PM on November 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

Ikaris just yeeting himself into the sun was perfect "I mean, I guess that's an option you could pursue or you could, you know, say sorry I wanted the world to end, we still good?"

I found myself surprisingly cool with it. I muttered "oh, just fuck off whence you came" when he told Sersei he was sorry, and he did one better, so.
posted by praemunire at 11:18 PM on November 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

Ikaris just yeeting himself into the sun was perfect "I mean, I guess that's an option you could pursue or you could, you know, say sorry I wanted the world to end, we still good?"

It bothered me a bit, as it came off as Ikaris being similar to a mass shooter in having the nerve to kill people, but later realizing "OMG that was bad" and being unable to live with their choices.

Yeah, sure, kill yourself, but that doesn't do much for all the damage you 'caused and left others to deal with.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 AM on November 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

I just read an article that notes Venom had already indirectly referenced Superman with the line “What, so, sound is like his kryptonite?”
posted by RobotHero at 12:16 PM on November 17, 2021

I can totally see how the Ikaris plot arc could make the vocal demographic of young cis men feel attacked.

The Eternals backstory is definitely more nuanced than is fit for a standard "superhero" movie. Unless the original material is more straightforward/ ham fisted.

Which I suspect might be, partially because the sound mixing wasn't eardrum piercing (!).

The pacing required much more investment than the standard MCU movie, and I think the constraint of giving the principal characters more-or-less equal time was a challenge. And there were a huge bunch of principals, relatively.

Hearing that the number of principals were cut down from the numbers in the comics, yeah, grudging but respect for how it was handled.

This has got to be a difficult property to hit a home run with, but there are so many handicaps involved. Taking into account the challenges, I think this should count as a success for Chloé Zhao.


I hate the mythology behind 'The Eternals.'

From the movie, I'm catching the concept that 'Celestials' are basically dark matter - the stuff that maths say need to exist to be consistent between physics and observations of our universe, but can't yet be observed.

So... physics/ dark matter allows a bunch of it's sub-processes to deny the creator/ master's imperatives? This has got to bother physicists.


The scale (relative sizes, visual representation of) absolutely suck (visually, and planetary physics-wise). This is a comic book movie, but the understanding of fundamental rules of physics is completely ignored/ out of ignorance/ for fantasy.

Anyway, stupid, but this level of silliness is required to make this story work. But still, the entire 'Eternals' concept is just silly for many more reasons than I've dropped here.


I saw this in a cinema, 3D. Sound mixing was surprisingly not deafening (!). The 3D effects were 60% ok, 10% very cool, and 30% what?! that really doesn't work for me.
posted by porpoise at 11:45 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

The scale (relative sizes, visual representation of) absolutely suck (visually, and planetary physics-wise).

Yes. The emerging Celestial was much too small. His head should have been over-the-horizon far away from his hand. It definitely didn't seem big enough that you needed to crack the planet open to get out.

I loved that they used the "Celestials lay eggs at the core of populated planets" idea. It's not part of the mainstream Marvel Comics, but there's a set of alternate-universe comics (Earth X by Alex Ross) that use the idea as an explanation for why Galactus eats planets (instead of stars) but is supposed to be more powerful than other cosmic entities who threaten entire galaxies.

And I wish they'd come up with some role for the Celestials more exotic than "they make stars" when we already know where stars actually come from. And if every star is created by a Celestial then either there's so many Celestials that one failing to hatch will hardly be noticed or the Celestials are all way too busy making stars to pay attention to Earth.
posted by straight at 7:28 PM on December 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm glad that this movie establishes that Mexican, Korean, Irish, Scottish, English, and American accents all existed in the MCU before the Spanish, Korean, or English languages did.

Where do you think all those accents came from? The Tower of Babel?

[languagehat taps me on the shoulder] "Ahem. What were you saying about how we already know where stars come from?"
posted by straight at 7:31 PM on December 12, 2021

I actually really liked the Icarus heel turn. I thought he sold the unassimilated-and-loyal-to-the-Celestials bit. And it gave us a much better Flash, Cyborg, & Wonder Woman vs. Superman fight than anything we've had in the DCCU so far.

I just wish they had taken it further and made his reaction at the end not "I'm sorry I betrayed you" but an outraged "I can't believe you killed a Celestial! in the tone we'd use for someone who killed a human being to save a bunch of ants. That would have made more sense of his flying off into the sun.
posted by straight at 7:39 PM on December 12, 2021 [4 favorites]

Sersi, who was maybe third or fourth down the list in the comics (after Ikaris, Thena, and Kro) being the lead were all excellent choices

That's true in the Eternals comics themselves, but as far as the rest of the Marvel Comics Universe, Sersi is the most prominent Eternal (not counting Thanos) because she was a member of the Avengers for quite a while (Gilgamesh was briefly an Avenger and has appeared with Thor and Hercules, but I think he's still been less prominent than Icarus).

I think I was most disappointed in Sersi. Her powers could have been used so much more creatively and done a lot to make the battles distinct from other superhero fights. She seemed more like a neophyte improvising and testing new abilities than someone who had spent thousands of years using transmutation to fight monsters.

I really like Gemma Chan, but I think it was a mistake for both her and Icarus to play so flat. I didn't want her to be a flirtatious party girl like she sometimes is in the comics, but wanted some sense of how she copes, what it's been like living for thousands of years. She'd been with Icarus most of the time so Dane wasn't like her 400th partner, but still, how does she feel about dating someone who will grow old and die in a few years?

I liked most of the other characters: Kingo (Harish Patel was wonderful as his valet), Sprite, Makkari, Ajak, Gilgamesh and Thena. Thena's weapons and Sprite's illusions were used pretty well and looked neat. I was confused about how much Phastos was really helping human technology and why he was allowed to interfere. It was nice that Sprite got the chance to turn into a real girl who gets to go to school and grow up.

I really liked what they did with Druig bending and then defying the rules. And then basically trying out being a Benevolent Supervillain but finding it unsatisfying and giving it up.

And Arishem looked great. I loved how they started with Ajak talking to some sort of blank red wall and slowly teasing the scale until Sersi encounters him.

I think I liked the movie more than I expected going into it. The Eternals comics and mythology are so weird and different from everything else in Marvel Comics that I didn't think you could make a movie this coherent about them.
posted by straight at 8:47 PM on December 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

It showed up on Disney+ today and I watched it. It's Transformers-movie bad.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:22 PM on January 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

I wasn’t into it at first, but once it settled into mostly being a family drama with superpowers, I kinda dug it.
I was kinda disappointed about Kumail noping out of the big dukeroo, though.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 12:34 PM on January 13, 2022

Watched on D+ and oof, yeah. It's not bad but it's also not very good; and it's very long.

LOL at the shoehorned-in "so how about those Avengers then, eh?" conversation in the middle.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:06 PM on January 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

I thought it was wonderful and I'm puzzled by some of the outright hate of this film. We're all different, though. But suggesting it's only not the worst Marvel film because The Dark World exists is just wild to me. I have never ranked Marvel films; there's too many of them and most of them are good-pretty good with nothing much to make me like one over another. I expect it would be in my Top 10, because it was so different and so meditative and the characters were hard to read and connect with because they are immortal beings who have lived for millennia.

I loved the Batman and Superman references because the Eternals are effectively the inspiration for all human myths and stories and Bats & Supes are the modern equivalent of that. I mean, so are Marvel superheroes, but this film has to mention "fictional" characters in the context of that universe.

Great cast, beautiful visuals, got a bit stuck at the halfway point but I thought it brought everything together beautifully. Love Marvel taking chances.
posted by crossoverman at 1:42 PM on January 13, 2022 [4 favorites]

The ending credits were my favorite over-designed MCU ending credits in a long time. The juxtaposition of the actors names with figures from art and myth, along with depictions of mythological monsters implied to be Deviants, outlined an interesting history for the Eternals that the film acknowledged but barely touched on.

Wait what? Saw this last night on Disney Plus - I don't remember anything like that in the credits. Did I fall asleep for a bit? I remember the 2 stingers (and I voted "Wallace Shawn" for the troll guy, but apparently was wrong)
posted by soylent00FF00 at 4:53 PM on January 13, 2022

Kingo, Makkari, and Druig were fun. Thena was not fun, but I've watched a lot of bad Angelina Jolie movies so I'm basically immune to that now. Everything else...was not good. MCU movies are never terrible, but this was close.

I did notice, and appreciate, a bit less green screen than usual!
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:16 PM on January 13, 2022

I was kinda disappointed about Kumail noping out of the big dukeroo, though.

I really liked that. I loved having a character who just refuses to take sides in a fight. And we did have more of his character than many of the others earlier in the movie. And his finger guns were one of the less interesting powers to have in the showdown with Ikarus.
posted by straight at 10:50 PM on January 13, 2022

Just watched this last night and was interested but unable to shake off how bad some of the script was. It wasn't just that the story was confusing, because they probably did a good job of straightening out some of the LSD-fueled comics origin stuff (which I never read so I guess I could be slandering it) but literally the words they had the characters saying were so stilted. And they kept expecting me to care about stuff without any buildup.

It was definitely a gorgeous movie, and I suspect I'd have been overwhelmed by it in the theater because the look of the galactic stuff in the MCU always works for me. But I was mostly salvaging good bits out of the rubble, and those bits were mostly small character moment. (I wonder if Eternals fanfic has boomed since that usually entices people to roll up their sleeves and get writing.) I actually was really interested in Thena's joyful warrior, and could have used more of her and Gilgamesh, as well as more Makkari and the mind-control guy (who was a really interesting character). And Kingo was a lot of fun and I loved his valet, who got a lot of charming notes.

I don't know, it was like the movie would snap into focus and get really good here and there, but it couldn't maintain it. I'm glad I saw it, but I rank it pretty low in the MCU canon.
posted by PussKillian at 8:39 AM on January 14, 2022

The movie begins with an unnecessary text crawl and the line "It is time." and ends with the good guys winning through the power of friendship. It almost makes Snyder's DC films seem compelling and dynamic.
posted by slimepuppy at 11:16 AM on January 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

I think the critics were wrong, this was a really nice movie. Like Star Trek TNG but with Marvel powers. I bet the same reviewers think Star Trek movies are bad.
posted by polymodus at 12:50 AM on January 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

> I feel like dead Celestials might get reanimated.
Same. Sersi's transmutation was pretty much handwaving (ha-ha), and they mind-melded with the Celestial in question, so perhaps it's reversible when they work out a less planet-destroying extraction method.

> Also is Ikaris really dead? I give good odds he isn't.
In the comics, the Eternals are pretty much immediately resurrected by machines, usually - same bodies (maybe with a gender swap), and memories brought back. Checking a wiki, it looks like memory tampering is a thing, so that those machines were forgotten for a century.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:49 AM on January 16, 2022

Watched it last night. It really is a curate's egg of a film, isn't it? On the one hand there's a strange mismatch between Zhao's standoffish approach and the genre expectation that everything would be in one's face, so a bunch of stuff gets lost, and there's far too much talking. Rather a lot of the film involves people standing around at a safe, socially distanced proximity. On the other hand, I found that it haunted my dreams last night in a way that no film has done recently (which is odd - it really isn't that kind of movie), and that I have much more affection for the characters than I thought at the time. Especially Druig and Thena, for some reason, but they're all good company. I'd have preferred an ending that let Sersi wander off into The Marvels or She-Hulk, and the trio on the big triangular ship turn up in Guardians of the Galaxy, and I'd definitely like Kingo to appear in something, factotum in tow, but they didn't ask me. Which is usually a good thing.

In fact, there are lots of things I'd have liked. As MCU stories go, it's a pretty good one, but it takes a lot of work to even get to the story: Ajak is a gangmaster of a team of shepherds who don't know what's going to happen to the sheep, Ikaris her right-hand man. The weird thing is that they're not that wrong - the ongoing maintainance of the Universe is hardly a flippant imposition. Weirdly, the only other story I can think of that's anything like it is Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson, which also has Babylon in it, but is otherwise as unlike a superhero movie as is possible.

Jack Kirby did the same sort of idea several times - I mean, The Inhumans and The New Gods are the same concept with different back stories, the ragbag family of gods - and I think it might be inherently difficult to adapt.

Anyway, let no one say all MCU films are the same.
posted by Grangousier at 4:25 PM on January 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

Having just watched Hawkeye, the sign language caught my eye. I'm embarrassingly ignorant about this topic, so I'm going to go watch some youtubes. But, I wanted to note that the framing in Hawkeye pretty constantly cut off the hands of the person signing, whereas this movie did not.
posted by rebent at 7:03 PM on January 16, 2022

We watched this on Disney+ this weekend. I wish they had done the beginning of the film strictly chronologically and spent more time with each Eternal so we could get to know them better. I felt like some of them were just missing characterization. I would have loved way more time with Gilgamesh and now he's dead so I won't get that. I was really annoyed at the Ikaris moment with Sersi at the end. There was no reason for us to get a recap of their love moments--we've seen it, he recently told her he loved her, and it was clear why he doesn't kill her. He's crying, for Pete's sake. We're smarter than that.

There was a lot to like but it was very slow and I wanted more time to get to know them.
posted by ceejaytee at 11:41 AM on January 17, 2022

Oh godddd it was so long. I couldn't believe when we hit the 90 minute mark that there was still an hour to go. Maybe if we hadn't had to watch them tell the same story about Ajak's death four? five? times, it would have been more efficient.

Wow, Richard Madden is incredibly handsome in this movie. The camera loves him so much.

Of all the things that ground my gears, plotwise, the human exceptionalism was what really did me in. We know that there have to be a critical mass of sentients on any planet that hosts a Celestial birth, so the whole, "But humans are special, we can't destroy all these humans," just made me crabby for some reason. Like, we're fine. But I kind of sympathized with Team Ikaris. IDK, it's been a rough half decade.
posted by merriment at 5:59 AM on January 18, 2022 [5 favorites]

Random thoughts:

1) Gotta say, the Celestials are pretty bad at making Eternals if they built them from the ground up and programmed them for a specific purpose and didn't bother, you know, making them loyal by design.

2) Also, Thanos is an Eternal? Again, that's some shitty build quality if you build a robot to preserve sentient life and instead he spends the entire time killing half of all life in the universe.

3) This one Celestial seeded how many worlds? They're immortal and have infinite time to make stars or whatever, how many do you need?

4) Wasn't Kurt Russell a celestial? Didn't he also seed and then try to destroy the Earth? What the hell were these guys doing when that happened? Sure, it's not a deviant issue but it seems like it was in their portfolio, so to speak.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:30 PM on January 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

I thought the devient was going to lead then in fighting against the celestial. But no, slicy face time. Ahh well. It was just getting interesting...
posted by rebent at 9:51 AM on January 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

Ryan George's Pitch Meetings for Screenrant usually entertain.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:07 PM on January 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

Ahh, finally saw this. I think. I saw 2.5 hours of very pretty images in which nothing seemed to really happen, anyway.

This was not a good movie. It's a gorgeous movie, but it's truly, almost spectacularly bad.

My favorite fact about this is that Kingo doesn't speak a line until 45 minutes in, as far as I could tell, and when he does, it's the first time that one of the Eternals is shown to display anything resembling a personality trait. Such that I was left assuming that having a personality was somehow his superpower? I'm still not certain about that.

Thor: The Dark World is a substandard MCU movie, but it's still an MCU movie. This utterly fails at being an MCU movie, and judged as anything else it fails at everything except for being, again, very very pretty.

This is a movie in which you find yourself missing Jon Snow because he would really lighten the mood.

This movie is bad. Kumail Nanjiani is good in it, though. And good on them for finally having a canonically queer hero (though too little, too late, and clearly done so that it could be easily excised for certain markets.)
posted by Navelgazer at 9:15 AM on January 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

I watched Shang Chi and Eternals over the last two weekends, both very good films, but the movie that I kept mentally drawing back to was Eternals. It's a slower, more contemplative story where not everything is spelled out, where the interpersonal drama is more interesting than the fights, and the world history setting and recasting of titanic mythology are transporting and awesome to think about, unbidden, even days after. So I just think Eternals was my kind of movie and a welcome addition as a different side of Marvel storytelling.
posted by polymodus at 1:00 PM on January 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

Chatting about it to my wife, I mentioned that I thought it was basically The Music Man - I could imagine them as a team of con artists, descending on a town, believing "there's always a band", but falling for one specific town. She thought it was more like Local Hero, and maybe she's right (if only because obliteration was on the cards). Perhaps Zhao would have been more comfortable making that movie.

I kind of agree with the negative comments - I could have done with a lot less talking, and it was the first time I've found myself wanting a bit more Snyderesque pizzazz - but I still find myself more affected by it than a lot of the more together MCU films, and I have no idea why.
posted by Grangousier at 2:01 PM on January 20, 2022

but I still find myself more affected by it than a lot of the more together MCU films, and I have no idea why.

That's what I think too, but now that you mention this I think it's because I see myself being one of the Eternals, less so Captain Whatever, as much as I have a crush on those heroes. Whereas I identify with these characters more.
posted by polymodus at 1:03 AM on January 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

This movie was basically a two and a half-hour intro video for a Civ game, minus the substance and emotional engagement.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:17 AM on January 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

My favorite fact about this is that Kingo doesn't speak a line until 45 minutes in, as far as I could tell

He speaks at least a couple, and on the evidence of those, it seems clear Nanjiani couldn't pull off the non-comedic role, and so they ended up having to cut out whatever else was scripted for him in the edit.
posted by nobody at 7:56 AM on January 23, 2022

Wild! That implies that somebody watched a cut of this and came away with the impression that Nanjiani was the problem with this movie and not its sole saving grace.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:29 PM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

Oh, in case it's unclear, I was only referring to the two or three lines he has before the centuries-long time jump that lets him, thereafter, be the sort of modern jokey/arrogant character he's a good fit for. (But if you go back and listen for those two or three lines before then, I'm pretty sure you'll find they really are dreadful!)
posted by nobody at 8:28 PM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

It struck me just now, thinking about Moon Knight, that this movie would have made a lot more sense as an MCU TV series - the length and the meandering nature of the plot would be more easily assimilated there.
posted by Grangousier at 2:28 AM on April 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

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