Eternals (2021)

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Eternal will be the hours of footage of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the rate we are going. Eternals (2021) directed by award-winning Chloé Zhao is the latest piece in the vast and complex puzzle of the Marvel universe. It is no longer enough with the old acquaintances, now it is time to dust off each and every one of the characters. It is no longer enough with spin-offs, remakes, and reboots, now you have to squeeze every last drop of everything that smells like money. It is with that spirit that Eternals are born, or perhaps I should say, they are engendered for that reason that they are eternal.

I’m going to leave it to legions of fans to fit the adventures of the Eternals into the landscape that Marvel is drawing. I will not dare desecrate your sanctuaries by trying to understand the purpose of these ten individuals, who, according to history, have been there since the waters parted from the waters and heaven and earth were formed. I can already imagine them playing with dinosaurs, attending a function of the Lumière brothers, eating sweets while the world burned during the wars or waiting for the premiere of Avengers to see if they identified themselves.

For Eternals a team of four screenwriters assembled who adapted an original Jack Kirby material. Among the scriptwriters we must add director Chloé Zhao (The Rider, Nomadland). Well, this group was not able to build a coherent and balanced story. Just as the Deviants are the chimera of the Eternals, so is the script the chimera of this film. Things begin in the year 5000 B.C. when we see the Magnificent Ten, commanded by Ajak (Salma Hayek), fighting the Deviants to save the humans. For the record, our heroes can only interfere with things on Earth when these fearsome monsters appear to satisfy their hunger with a stew of humans. As it is, the group of ten stays around to this day in case the monsters show up for dinner.

The Eternals

As you can imagine, the Deviants return for Sersi (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Thena (Angelina Jolie), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Gilgamesh (Ma Dong-seok), Druig (Barry Keoghan) and Ajak can show off their powers. The first hurdle Eternals faces are not evil grotesques but the bulky cast it needs to present and develop. The script falls short and there is not one of the characters that is presented with relevance or that can have a weight that transcends beyond the dramatic confrontations between good and bad. In the same way, the story lacks balance and passes between tedious periods that pursue conceptual depth but remain in empty phrases and lavish moments that remind us that we are watching a Marvel movie.

Undoubtedly Eternals is a transition film, a fragment that will somehow fit with the framework that is predicted within the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) in the coming years. As a cinema there is little that it can contribute even when it has a director of the caliber of Zhao, this confirms what I have said before that in these projects the directors are just pawns that the producers and studios move at will. In the present case, having Zhao was a marketing strategy. Eternals lacks the typical dynamism of superhero movies and is wasted trying to convince us that there is substance behind costumes and superpowers. There are plenty of emotional crises and lack of coherence in the staging.

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