Op-Ed: Eternals is a middling Marvel movie with miraculous moments

Photo+by+Jonah+Dietz

Photo by Jonah Dietz

Jonah Dietz, Senior Reporter

It’s 2021, Disney is worth 93 billion dollars, “Endgame” made 3 billion and they will never stop until the entire film and streaming industry is run by their formulaic cash-grabs. So, on Nov. 5. Marvel Studios released “Eternals,” the next installment of their never ending quest to capitalize off of every property they currently own until it culminates in a Ghost Busters in Star Wars Spider-man movie with an Indiana Jones cameo. 

The movie was directed by Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao and sports an incredible, diverse and talented cast of actors. Despite this, the movie has received a barrage of negative reviews. Although not an overall trustworthy source, Rotten Tomatoes has had it accumulate a score of 46%, as of writing, and the general critical consensus is that it is average or slightly below.

I was curious to see it for myself, as the trailers, director, cast and concept intrigued me. The movie includes a lot of fairly obscure Marvel Comics concepts and characters. It plunges the dedicated Marvel Cinematic Universe fans into the cosmic psychedelia that is the celestial lore of the world inhabited by the likes of Iron Man. The concept of undying humanoids walking the earth is also a favorite trope of mine.

So, is it horrible? Is it the worst of all the MCU movies, as some have claimed? Absolutely not. It is, by and large, a passable Marvel movie–stunning in parts, exciting in others, but never truly as mesmerizing as it could be. 

The plot, which is really too convoluted to get into in such a short review, is fantastic enough, but the enjoyment and understanding of it is predicated on what all Marvel properties are now predicated on: one must have at least seen all or most of the Marvel movies that precede it (bonus if one has kept up with the TV shows on Disney +) because in order to want to watch it until the end, one must have a stake in this universe. 

I’ll be honest. I was hoping it’d be worse. I’m really wanting to jump off this Marvel train before I’m stuck on it for another ten years. One of the worst parts of Eternals was genuinely enjoying it. Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao does her best to punctuate the otherwise generic Disney comic book film with real cinematic beauty, and succeeds in the quiet moments that aren’t bogged down by needless computer generated tomfoolery, but the corporate sanding of her rough, indy work is apparent and distracting. 

Despite mostly generic action set-pieces and stilted performances, “Eternals” is enjoyable–not only if you’re a huge fan of Celestials and Jack Kriby space lore like me. It’s a little drab, a little colorless, but all in all it packs a punch. The theme of the movie is pretty ethereal for one that could come in a box set with Iron Man 2 and Ant Man. Most of the characters feel realized. Some of the scenes look stunning. Even the action can be, at times, easy to follow and gripping. 

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