The core group of Eternals that we follow for the majority of the film is led by Sersi (played by Gemma Chan, in her second MCU role after Captain Marvel), and features Ikaris (Richard Madden), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) and Sprite (Lia McHugh), among others. Each has their own power, gifted to them by the Celestial Arishem (voiced by David Kaye), who initially sent them on their mission to Earth.
While elements present here have popped up in the MCU before, Eternals is different and unique, which is what the Marvel Cinematic Universe desperately needs. This isn’t to say that their films were getting bad, but keeping a franchise fresh is a difficult task, especially one that has gone on this long. It’s for this reason that Eternals won’t satisfy everyone, both those hoping for a traditional Marvel movie and those hoping for something drastically different. Marvel’s quest to satisfy its entire audience is unfortunately not wholly successful, and I don’t believe it will be for quite a while.
That said, I appreciate what Eternals set out to do. It burdens the task of balancing traditional and recognizable Marvel elements with more artistic sensibilities. In fact, the most “Marvel-y” part of Eternals is probably the quips and very intentionally-focused humor, and even that feels somewhat out-of-place here. Ideally, this is the dawn of a new era in the MCU that isn’t as hesitant to take chances. Eternals has lots of implications for the larger, intergalactic Marvel universe, and I hope that this is a road destined to be explored further. We wouldn’t want the franchise to tire itself out without trying some new things, even if they’re not all one hundred percent successful. [Grade: A-]
Director: Chloé Zhao
Writers: Chloé Zhao, Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, Kaz Firpo