A Closer Look at Marvel’s Eternals

Marvel’s Eternals, released Nov 5, 2021, is Marvel’s most polarizing film to date, inciting division among fans and receiving mixed reviews. What makes this film worth watching, and what does this mean for the future of the MCU?

    Marvel Studios’ Eternals was released Friday, Nov 5, and has established itself as one of the most polarizing films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). While the film was highly anticipated, Eternals has flopped among critics and ignited a heated debate.

    The film succeeds the events of Avengers: Endgame and follows the Eternals, an immortal alien race gifted with supernatural powers and tasked with protecting Earth from their evil counterparts, the Deviants. The Eternals have lived among humans for thousands of years, and under the belief that the last of the Deviants have been defeated, the group separates. However, when tragedy strikes, the Eternals must reunite to fight the Deviants and save humanity.

    The film, directed by Oscar-winner Chloe Zhou, has divided audiences and received mixed reviews. Eternals currently holds the lowest rating of any Marvel movie with a 47% on Rotten Tomatoes and a CinemaScore of a B. Eternals has divided audiences and created a discourse, which makes the film all the more fascinating. While the film’s Rotten Tomatoes audience score is higher than that of the critics, holding in at 84%, it has been made clear that the movie isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

    Eternals is unlike any other film we’ve seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, despite whether you enjoyed the film or not. Many audiences entered this film with the expectations of a very typical Marvel Studios superhero blockbuster, and when those expectations were not met, they felt disappointed. However, just because Eternals was not what many expected from a Marvel movie, that does not equate to the film being bad or uninteresting. When you let go of your expectations and preconceived notions of this film, Eternals is easy to enjoy. 

    Though the film may not stack up against the highly successful Avengers franchise, there are some sure bright spots that make this film worth watching. Eternals is the most diverse film to come out of the Marvel world. It features a unique and complex female lead played by SAG Award-nominee Gemma Chan, characters of color, LGBTQ+ representation, as well as the studio’s first deaf superhero, played by Lauren Ridloff. Not only Is Eternals incredibly diverse and progressive, it also widens the universe and explores plots unlike anything we’ve witnessed before in the MCU. While Eternals does contain many of the classic Marvel trademarks such as large action sequences and silly one-liners, it is less of a cliche action film, and more of a complex family drama. Eternals explores the relationships between its characters in a complicated familiar dynamic.  It dissects and deconstructs its superheroes, and forces them to confront their wrongdoings and question their purpose in the world.  As well as a refreshing plot, Eternals features stunning visuals. Director Zhou incorporated natural scenery into the film and minimal visual effects when compared to other Marvel projects. In an interview, producer Kevin Feige said he was impressed with Zhou’s visual storytelling, and that her signature style of camera work would help expand Marvel beyond its virtual greenscreen world.

    While Eternals is dissimilar  to most Marvel films, it was a refreshing take in a time where audiences are largely experiencing superhero fatigue. This film is more mature than any Marvel film prior, and features scenes that are emotionally raw, as well as significant underlying themes about our world and the meaning of life. Watching this film makes you feel like Marvel and Disney are finally realizing and recognising the impact their films have on audiences. Eternals holds promise, and is a testament to audiences as to how Marvel will expand as we move forward into phase 4 of the MCU.