RFF16: Eternals

A new Marvel era with too much drama

If you had the chance to choose the director of a Marvel movie, maybe the name of Chloé Zhao is not the first one you would think about: her passion for socially involved films, her three Oscars for Nomadland (Best Picture, Directing and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Frances McDormand) would shift your focus to someone else.

However, now that the Avengers story has come to an end, at Marvel Studios they must have thought about the future: focusing on Zhao means focusing on someone who can redefine the concept of superheroes and start a new era.

On November 3, 2021 a very miscellaneous superhero group will hit European cinemas: the Eternals. The film closed the 16th edition of the Rome Film Festival on October 24, 2021. Created by Jack Kirby in the 1970s, the Eternals are humanoids in the comics, but become an immortal alien race, created by the Celestials, in Zhao’s new film. The action is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame: half of the human population returns to earth, but is threatened by evil creatures, the Deviants. The Eternals, who have secretly lived on the planet for 7,000 years, must reunite to save humanity from extinction. 

Given this premise, you know that the Eternals have seen so many things over the centuries and maybe that’s why they’re so diverse: there are Western, Asian, African-American superheroes, there’s a gay superhero, a deaf-mute superheroine and another one who has to face bad guys and her inner demons, in order to protect the group. Women and men are represented equally and (surprise!) there is no leader because, in Eternals, everyone has their own space: Sersi is the empathic who manipulates the matter; Ikaris is the tactical one (his powers resemble Superman’s); Kingo controls cosmic energy; Sprite is only 12 years old but she is able to create illusions; Phastos is the brains of the group with technological abilities; Druig controls minds; Makkari explores the planets thanks to her super speed; Gilgamesh has a supernatural strength, Ajak is the spiritual mentor of the group and Thena is a ferocious warrior who can create weapons with energy.

Eternals: Richard Madden and Gemma Chan. Credits/ Marvel Studios

This is definitely the most inclusive group in Marvel history and we like it, but let’s go to the details: despite beautiful special effects, noteworthy battles and funny lines, there’s too much drama and an excessive use of epic dialogues. Also, there are love affairs, traumas, arguments: Sersi who can’t choose between Ikaris and the human professor Dane Whitman; Sprite who cannot grow up, Druig who always wants to do his own thing. Except for comic connoisseurs, of course general audience needs some guidelines to understand what’s going on. However, Zhao could have reach the goal in less than 2 hours and 37 minutes. Also, the film editing is quite demanding for the viewers: as immortals, the Eternals will make you jump from one age to another very quickly.

What we know is that you will like the group: a dysfunctional family, with no blood ties, in constant search for a balance.

Eternals is not a perfect film, but neither canonical and this is one of the reasons you should see it. We give you two more: a cosmic cast (which includes Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Kit Harington) and two surprising post-credits scenes. Be patient.


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