'Eternals' review: Chloe Zhao's latest is not your usual Marvel film 

Written By: Shomini Sen WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Nov 05, 2021, 02:18 PM(IST)

Eternals Photograph:( Twitter )

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Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao takes pages out of history and weaves an intricate story that spans over centuries for Marvel's latest, Eternals

Not so long ago, legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese had compared Marvel superhero films to amusement parks-sans any depth. Guess, Marvel took that seriously as it presents the most nuanced superhero film in its history with 'Eternals'.

Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao takes pages out of history and weaves an intricate story that spans over centuries. Zhao (who has also written the screenplay) and writers Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo and Kaz Firpo make important chapters of history come alive as the narrative keeps going back and forth and establish Eternals as the most powerful, and the oldest beings in the universe.


At the onset, the story is simple. For over five thousand years, a bunch of immortal beings known as the Eternals have been saving the world and various civilisations across the world from a predator type called the Deviant. The Eternals, 10 of them have been led by their leader of sorts Ajak(Salma Hayk) have so far been able to save humanity from the crisis. Ajak operates on the orders of the Celestial Arishem-their creator as well as the creator of all beings in the universe. The Eternals disintegrate in 1500 after the last Deviant is killed but they stay on Earth. Also read: Kristen Stewart gets early wedding gift! Guy Fieri agrees to officiate ceremony

In the present day, they are all spread across the world. Someone works in a museum in London, one is a Bollywood star, one a cult, a leader in Amazon and one a happy gay dad in America. But they all have to come together once again when one of them does mysteriously and a new and more aggressive form of Deviants are on the loose posing a threat to humanity. Some are reluctant to join as the end of the world seems close. There are also internal conflicts within the Eternals as they struggle to find a footing with their new leader Sersei (Gemma Chan) who herself isn't sure why she is the newly chosen leader instead of the mighty powerful Ikaris (Richard Madden). 

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Amid such a crisis, the Eternals need to rise up to the occasion and act fast if they need to save planet Earth from destruction.


'Eternals' is not your regular superhero film. You will often miss the Avengers (you have been warned) while watching. It doesn't have the glitz and glamour of Marvels most popular superheroes. Instead, MCU takes a giant leap of faith and presents newer heroes who come with their own set of problems some of which are very complicated. It's no children play anymore for Marvel as Eternals are far more superior in might, power and intellect than the Avengers. Naturally, the adrenaline rush of watching Eternals takes a while to come when compared to previous superhero films from MCU.  But that is a good thing. 

At 155 minutes, Eternals takes time to establish the plot and the thrill is only in the second half. That's when the real action begins. So you don't find yourself rooting for any superhero much. There is no obvious favourite either. 

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What Eternals instead does is present a story that addresses climate change, overpopulation, ecological imbalance and much more. It makes you think. 

Eternals also has many firsts for a Marvel film. It has Marvel's first sex scene, a gay kiss, a deaf and mute superhero, and even a South Asian superhero disguising as a Bollywood hero and even acknowledges mental health. Marvel takes the inclusivity conversation to an all-new level-it's of course not always accurate but hey, it's a start. 


Eternals also often refers to the Avengers for relatability, even refers to rival DC hero Superman and Star Wars to create a wholesome film. 

Zhao also lets veterans Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie take a back seat and lets newer talents like Madden, Chan, and Nanjiani take lead. Madden and Chan are credible in their roles and it would be interesting to watch their characters grow in the subsequent films. Kit Harington plays the most endearing character in the film and his character is the one to watch out for in the sequel. 

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Don't expect 'Eternals' to be a thrilling ride like your ordinary Marvel films. It takes time to grow on you and makes you think. With a non-linear narrative, it may pose as a tedious watch but 'Eternals' is far more superior in storytelling that what Marvel has ever attempted.

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