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Review: Marvel Studios “Eternals” went on for an eternity

With a large cast and a loose plot, the new Marvel movie doesn’t know what to focus on.

By Natalie Metcalf, Special to the Star

Angelina Jolie and Richard Madden star in Chloé Zhao's "Eternals." (Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios)

With awkward laughs and mild applause from a half packed theater, “Eternals” attempts and fails at becoming the new Avengers.

From the academy award winning director Chloé Zhao, “Eternals” brings the Marvel Cinematic Universe further into the fandom’s fourth phase. The film follows a race of immortal beings called the Eternals who were sent to earth 7,000 years ago to protect humans from the Deviants, a race of humanoids. Or called in the comics, “The Changing People”. After half of the population of earth returned in “Avengers: Endgame” these Deviants have mysteriously been brought back. The film shows audiences and MCU fans that the aftermath of “Endgame” is all the fandom has going for them right now. The exhilarating action packed opening was taken from fans, as an opening scroll similar to the one in “Star Wars” and a “Lord of the Rings” font appeared on the screen.

“Eternals assemble,” says Ikaris (Richard Madden), a Scottish version of DC comics’ Superman. The superheroes abilities are similar to Clark Kent’s, as he is able to fly and shoot lasers from his eyes. It is also mentioned that Madden’s character looks like the DC hero. “Dad, that’s superman,” says Phastos’ (Bryan Tryee Henry) son.

Thena (Angelina Jolie) is supposed to be Athena, the goddess of wisdom in Greek mythology. But her strength and weapon shows audiences she is similar to Wonder Woman, another DC comics rip-off. Much like The Flash, Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) shares the same ability of super speed.

The best performance given in the film is by Kumail Nanjiani who plays Kingo. After the “Eternals” go their separate ways, Kingo becomes a rich and famous Bollywood star. Nanjiani’s comedic and dramatic acting carried the film, but not enough to make it successful.

Discovering a secret about what the “Eternals” actually are, the group must stop the emergence from destroying the earth. The film does a poor job in explaining who/what the “emergence” is and why they want to destroy earth. Ajak (Salma Hayek) wants to stop the emergence, causing Sersi (Gemma Chen) to bring the whole “family” back together again. For most of the two hour and 37 minute film, we delve into nine of the ten heroes' feelings, rather than moving the plot forward.

Issues in the plot continue, as characters die for the sole purpose that there are too many. The deaths do not move the plot forward, they create twists and turns that confuse the story. A lot of potentially interesting characters are wasted, as the film introduces too many heroes.

It is a given that the special effects, cinematography, and directing would be top level, as most MCU movies are. Zhao does an incredible job of capturing the different cultures the heroes live in during their time on earth. But a lot of the film contained unwanted easter eggs, such as a “Star Wars” coloring book, mentions of other Avengers and a love triangle compared to “Peter Pan.” The only reason the film contains these extra details is purely because Marvel can, not because they are needed.

Most of the film is filled with drawn out sequences of plot lines we already know. Not only do the acting scenes drag on, but the fight sequences as well. The climax of the film is anticlimactic, leaving fans bewildered. This leads to the cliffhanger at the end of the movie (not the post credit scene), daunting. Audiences don’t know if another fight is going to occur or if the movie is going to end.

If the “Eternals” are the MCU’s future super hero team, then the future is bleak.

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