Eternals Movie Review & Film Summary: Marvel’s Success at Diversity

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Video Source – Marvel Entertainment (Marvel Entertainment YouTube Channel)

Marvel Phase 4’s latest installation is Eternals. The movie was released on 5th November in theatres globally and has a run time of 2 hours 37 mins. With two post-credit scenes and an enthralling story, this movie was a great watch! Additionally, the representation was a big win for communities all over. Marvel has got itself another hit!

Eternals Cast

  • Salma Hayek as Ajak
  • Gemma Chan as Sersi 
  • Richard Maddison as Ikarus
  • Lauren Ridloff as Makarri 
  • Barry Keoghan as Druig
  • Kumail Nanijani as Kingo
  • Angelina Jolie as Thena
  • Don Lee as Gilgamesh
  • Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos
  • Lisa McHugh as Sprite

Eternals Plot

A group of immortal superheroes who have existed since before time are on a quest to save humanity from deviants and unexpected catastrophes. They have not seen each other for a long time and now have to regain their friendship and hope all goes well. 

Eternals Movie Review

Eternals Movie Review

Phase 4 of Marvel has been surpassing everyone’s expectations with every release. From the time they gave us WandaVision in January to the upcoming anticipation for Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness, the fans have been on the edge of their seats waiting for more. They have explored various facets of entertainment through the releases and also provided for some exceptional cinematic experiences. Loki’s scenes were nothing short of beautiful art that screamed aesthetic. Phase 4 is what made me a Marvel fan and is thus something I cherish wholeheartedly. 

The best part of this phase is the huge changes Marvel has made. Shang Chi: The Legend of the Ten Rings was the first Asian Marvel Superhero movie that starred Simu Liu. Its stellar main cast was Asian and the representation that they brought with them was remarkable. It was a long-overdue step that Marvel needed to take to support diversity in this world and what better time than 2021. The pandemic years brought about a present that not many of us saw coming. Sitting at home we saw even bigger changes and movements. The demand for representation and celebrating human diversity was at a height that has never been seen. Marvel had to hear these voices and the representation they did. 

Following the shocking success of Shang Chi, on November 5th Marvel released the latest instalment of Phase 4. They introduced a whole new group of mighty beings with the cause to save humankind, named the Eternals. Calling them Superheroes doesn’t give them justice. They are the Eternals. The beings who have existed before time; before the six infinity stones. 

Eternals Movie: The Representation 

The group consists of 10 powerful beings, each armed with their own unique powers. Salma Hayek who plays their leader Ajak has healing powers, Gemma Chan adorning the colour green as Sersi has the ability to alter matter (and in her words, she is pretty normal) and Angelina Jolie is Thena; the goddess of war. With them are Makkari; the deaf speedster (Lauren Ridloff), Sprite played by Lia McHugh is the young girl who has mastered illusion casting; Richard Madden as the laser eyed Ikarus; Irish star, Barry Keoghan as a mind controller Druig; the mighty Gilgamesh played by Don lee and the hilarious finger shooting Kingo (Kumail Nanijani) and the intelligent Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry).

The 10 Eternals are not only responsible for keeping humanity safe from deviants but are also the reason for them to be who they are today. The cast of these Eternals depicted the global society. Makkari is the first deaf and mute superhero of Marvel and Phastos the first LGBTQIA+ superhero. The movie also brought about representation for the Asian community, Latin American community, Indian Subcontinent and the Irish. 

What could be said as forced and a little too ambitious representation is in the movie played out as the most natural. There were moments where it seemed that diversity was being forced down the audience’s throats (the Bollywood Dance sequence felt more like a parody than a try at inclusion) the movies made up for it by not limiting the characters to simply their communities. 

The Art of Eternals

Chloe Zhao chose her to set locations with immense thought and it paid off. Choosing forests, barren deserts and the icy cold regions of our world, she added on to the element of timelessness. There were Easter Eggs spread throughout the movies and also references to many other big fandoms like Star Wards, DC, Avengers (DUH!), the legend of King Arthur and H.G. Wells’s The War of the World. 

The reference to King Arthur and his legends is a very important Easter Egg for what is in store for the future because Kit Harrington who plays a very minor role in the movie has a lot in the future for his character Dane. Harrington just like his fellow castmates was a perfect casting as Dane who is part of the Black Knight family. The cast did a stellar job in their characters as the chemistry they shared with each other was sizzling. 

Lauren Ridloff and Barry Keoghan’s on-screen relationship was a shocking surprise and they are the best part of this movie. The trope of I-hate-everyone-but-her was carried out in the least cringey manner. The relationship is not the main love of the story (that is the one with Sersi and Ikarus) but is something no one should miss. Zhao herself said that she changed the script to incorporate the relationship due to the chemistry the two shared with each other. 

Eternals Movie: Average Action Sequences 

Coming to the action sequences, it is not the best one out there. Marvel has some great action sequences but unfortunately, none from the Eternals make the cut. It’s not that the movie didn’t have any. They had many, but none that made hearts race. Through the fight sequences, I was looking at more internal conflict than choreographed violence. Thena who is said to be the inspiration behind the Greek God Athena, was more glamorous than inclined to war. The power dynamics of the 10 could be blamed for that as Sersi, Sprite, Ajak, Phastos and Druig were not technically suited for active fighting leaving Kingo, Gilgamesh, Thena, Ikarus and Makkari to take the forefront and to protect the others. 

Having said that, the movie compensated for the parts they lacked by emotional turmoil and storytelling. A team of 10 is bound to have complications and Zhao made sure that subtle storytelling can prove useful. Using colours, scenes and camera angles, the past tension or the heavily weighted history is well communicated to the audience. The costume designer, Sammy Sheldon also kept in mind that the costumes of the women members are not limiting and are practical. From previous superhero movies, we know that often they forget practicality as an element for the women (read Black Widow and/or Wonder Woman).

In terms of relatability, Sersi is addicted to her phone and Druig hates everyone. Thena does not know how to act around children and Sprite wants someone to fall in love with her. Topping it all of, Dan wants to be included. Relatability is well achieved in this movie. Kumail’s Kingo has the excitement that can be expected by a big Marvel fan as Kumail himself and his sheer narcissism is a delight to consume. 

The Movie Culture Synopsis

In conclusion, Eternals was everything and so much more even if it did lack in some aspects just for the pure happiness they bring onto the screen and for the much necessary representation they brought about. No, I didn’t feel like the representation was too much because guess what diversity is a large facet of society and Marvel still has a long way to go.