Eternals review: Eternally Boring (Spoilers)

I have seen every single Marvel Cinematic Release in a theater. I own every single previous MCU movie, with the exception of Black Widow (haven’t been to a store that sells DVDs since it came out) and Shang-Chi (not out on DVD yet). I’m also a big fan of Chloé Zhao. Nomadland was my favorite movie from last year and I adored The Rider and Songs My Brother Taught Me. By all accounts, I should have loved Eternals. But I hated it.

Iron Man 2 - Wikipedia
No longer the lowpoint of this franchise.

To start with, the threat is way too powerful for these characters, especially for a debut movie. It’s been successfully done before but it’s wise to not start a franchise with the most dangerous villain and a Celestial is an Avengers level threat. The Eternals don’t come close to being strong enough to take on a Celestial and yet they do. Sersi is able to turn a Celestial into rock in a moment that will go down in ass pull history. I wouldn’t have been too bothered if they said she combined her strength with that of the other Eternals. It’s still dumb but there’s dumber things in this movie. But then they say that she absorbed some of the strength from the Celestial too and I call bullshit.

Why Marvel's Eternals Didn't Fight Thanos Revealed in New MCU Footage
A Celestial.

Honestly, a Celestial should have been saved for an Avengers crossover movie. I understand perfectly why they didn’t have any other MCU character come to assist them (Imagine if a Batman movie ended with Superman saving the day, it would be the biggest rip-off ever.) but it strains credibility that no one else showed up for such a damaging event. The other MCU movies did a good job of both marking sure the heroes could feasibly take on the villain on their own and explain why other heroes aren’t getting involved. Eternals fails on both counts. The movie I’m most reminded of is, of all things, Suicide Squad where they fight an all-powerful enchantress. It is a very bad sign when I’m reminded of that movie.

The 16 most ridiculous moments in Suicide Squad
I should not be thinking of this.

It’s especially bizarre since there’s actually a serviceable debut villain in this movie with Kro. Kro is a Deviant (oof that name) that kills Ajak and absorbs her powers and gives it to the other Deviants (oof that name). Unlike the other Deviants (oof that name), these Deviants (oof that name) exclusively hunt Eternals. After Kro kills another Eternal Gilgamesh, he gains some sentience and has the making for a decent villain. And then he disappears from the movie and shows up at the end as if they film makers forgot about him. Such a waste.

Marvel Legends The Eternals Deluxe Kro 6 Inch Action Figure – Dorksidetoys
Bet this is going to linger in toy aisles.

But the biggest problem, the movie killer for me, is that I did not care one bit about these characters. A big problem is that there’s simply way too many characters introduced for any of them to make a meaningful impression. The Avengers movies doesn’t fall into this trap because 99% of the characters were introduced in previous movies and you already have an attachment.

Too many.

But that’s not the only problem. Guardians of the Galaxy introduced a bunch of brand new characters and people, for the most part, adored them. The big thing is that these characters are fundamentally uninteresting. They vary between bland to underdeveloped to annoying (fuck you Kingo). The most interesting of the Eternals is Ajak… who had like 15 minutes of screentime and is the first to die. I’m not sure how much my interest in Ajak is her being genuinely interesting, her not being around long enough to annoy me, and/or my still burning crush on Salma Hayek.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) - IMDb
This awakened a lot in me as a kid.

But the absolute worst of the Eternals is Sprite. Her actress isn’t very good but she’s still a child and it’s just wrong to make fun of a child actor. Besides, the big issue with her is how she’s written. It’s mentioned constantly in the film that she’s in love with Ikaris (which is already an oof) but it does not show up on screen at all. You wouldn’t know if they didn’t mention it. When Kingo calls out the other Eternals for not noticing she was in love, it rings hollow. She’s also forgiven way too easily. She betrays the Eternals, tries to help destroy the world, and literally backstabs Sersi. And yet Sersi uses the last of her Celestial-infused powers to turn her into a real girl so they don’t have to recast Lia McHugh for the sequels she can grow up.

The Cinema King: Batman: The Animated Series - "Baby-Doll"
She’s no Baby Doll.

By far, the biggest point of contention I’ve heard over this in the OT is the fact that the Eternals did nothing almost over the millennia to help humanity. It fundamentally kills a lot of enthusiasm for the characters when they do nothing while atrocities happen around them. Think about all the mockery San Andreas got for Dwayne Johnson ignoring dying people to save his daughter except on a grand scale. The movie tries to explain who ostensibly heroic character would do something like this but it just makes things more confusing. The Eternals are only on Earth so they can kill the Deviants (oof that name) so enough people will be born to cause the Emergence, which heralds the birth of a new Celestial. But if the end goal is to see an arbitrary amount of people born, why not instruct them to stop wars? Why not instruct them to stop genocides? I usually write off stuff like this as something you only noticed on subsequent watches but I noticed this in the theater. When that happens, it’s either a glaring problem or the movie’s so boring that your mind is wandering… it might be both in this situation actually. When we learn Ikarus is the true villain of the movie, I wasn’t thinking “this is an amazing twist.” I was thinking “What the fuck is going on with his mustache, is it half-shaved?” (It turned out it was just shadows making the mustache look half-shaved.)

Marvel's Eternals Marketing Spoiled Its Big Twist | Screen Rant
Be honest, it kinda look half-shaved at first.

There’s more to this movie than just these points but I don’t want to belabor it anymore. Eternals is a bad movie, don’t see it.