Eternals Spoiler Review - Marvel's Latest Epic

 A new franchise has made its debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and I think they delivered an epic and sprawling story that spans thousands of years. Before writing this review, I watched the Eternals for a second time, and I'm glad I did because some of my thoughts have changed after the repeat viewing. The first 30 minutes of the film was boring, and I kept thinking this is one of the worst Marvel films, but by the end of the film I was fully onboard and thought this is one of the best films. I recently revisited my ranking of the MCU films to include Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, I don't think I am ready to do that for Eternals yet but I will before Spider-Man: No Way Home comes out. On my second watch the first 30 minutes did not bother me because I knew the movie would get better and I knew what I should pay more attention to. Eternals uses time as weapon in this film, we start the story at the very beginning of the Eternals visit to earth and we follow their journey all the way to the current. The Eternals are one of the oldest heroes we have met so far, and it will be interesting to see how they will mesh with the other heroes. I do not believe Marvel is going to be using the Avengers formula again, I think with all the new franchises they are starting they will use each of them uniquely. We already saw that Shang-Chi will be tied with Wong (Doctor Strange) and Eternals could be meeting Thor, Captain Marvel or the Guardians of the Galaxy in the sequel. Could all these factions come together again for another epic story, of course that is likely, but I think the Avengers are on hiatus for awhile. 

Eternals featured a truly unique ensemble cast that included Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Brian Tyree Henry, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harrington, Lauren Ridloff, Don Lee and Barry Keoghan, Lia McHugh and Harish Patel. I found that the film had an Infinity War and Endgame feel to the size of the cast and the epic nature of the story. I am not sure how, but I don't feel any character was underserved (except maybe Makkari and Dane Whitman). I reread the Eternal comic book run (7 issues) by Neil Gaiman from 2007, the book is still really good, and I am sure it provided inspiration for the film. The Neil Gaiman comic I found very similar to the movie because it focused more on the characters and less on the action. The comic also did not feature a traditional type of villain and neither does the film; there is something special about both stories. The characters are a different in both versions, but the storytelling is very similar. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on Eternals, but for me I think this is one of the strongest first films Marvel has done to date. The decision to hire a director who has more of an independent cinema style in Chloe Zhao was an interesting choice. Zhao was hired just after her film The Rider received critical praise and by the time Eternals opened in theaters her next Nomadland had won her an Academy Award for best director. I think it is a great move for Marvel to have both Chloe Zhao and Ryan Coogler making movies for them, both Zhao and Coogler bring something different to the MCU.


The film opens on the Eternals ship the Domo as they approach earth, the Eternals are being sent to there to eradicate the deviants at the behest of the Celestial Arishem. The deviants we are told in the opening are creatures from deep space that feed on intelligent life, the Eternal arrive on earth at 5000 BC. We jump to modern day, and we find the Eternal Sersei (Gemma Chan) living in London where she works at a museum. Sersei arrives late to teach, but her boyfriend Dane Whitman (Kit Harrington) saves her. While teaching an earthquake hits and Sersei uses her powers to save a child from a falling statue. Later that evening they are out celebrating Dane's birthday and we see that Sprite (Lia McHugh) is living with Sersei. Sprite like the rest of the Eternals doesn't age, but Sprite is in the body of a teenager. While walking home they are attacked by a deviant, Sprite and Sersei try to fight it off, but Ikaris (Richard Madden) arrives to fight off the deviant which they see can now heal itself. Ikaris meets Dane and they share an awkward moment as Dane realizes that Ikaris and Sersei dated (only for 5000 years) before Ikaris left without reason. In a flashback we see the relationship between Sersei and Ikaris that ended with them getting married. Ikaris tells them they need to find the others and warn them about the deviants returning. The group goes to South Dakota to find their leader Ajak (Salma Hayek), they find her dead body on the ground, an apparent deviant attack which explains how the deviant could heal itself. 

Ikaris, Sersei and Sprite next head to find Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) who is a Bollywood star now, they meet his valet Karun (Harish Patel). Kingo does not want to go, but after encouragement from his valet (who has been with him for 50 years) he agrees. They board Kingo's private jet and head to Australia next to locate Thena (Angelina Jolie) and Gilgamesh (Don Lee). We see in a flashback that Thena suffers from mad weary which causes her to lose her mind and start attacking everyone, Gilgamesh has been with her ever since keeper her safe and others safe from her. In the flashback to 1521 we learn that the group splintered after defeating the deviants, Ajak wanted to remove Thena's memories to heal her, but Thena doesn't want to have her identity removed so Gilgamesh offers to watch over her. During this meeting we see Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and Druig (Barry Keoghan) argue over how to help humanity, Druig wants to control their minds to keep them from killing each other and Phastos wants to improve their technology. Ajak tells Druig and Phastos that they cannot interfere in humanity's business unless the deviants are involved. Ajak tells them that now that the deviants have all been killed, they go their separate ways and live a life until Arishem gives further orders. Outside of Gilgamesh and Thena's home is a dead deviant that Gilgamesh killed. When Ajak died the orb that was inside Ajak that she used to speak with Arishem went to Sersei. After they discovered Ajak's body the orb went to her, and she spoke with Arishem and all he said was it is almost time. 

While with Thena and Gilgamesh, Sersei decides to try and speak with Arishem. Sersei's efforts are rewarded as she speaks with Arishem, and he informs her of the ultimate plan behind their mission to earth. The eternals are on earth to help with the birth of a new celestial named Tiamut, Tiamut will be birthed using the earth as womb. Upon Tiamut's birth the earth and all on it will be killed, but their deaths will lead to the birth of billions of lives across the universe. The Eternals are also not from Olympia, but they are from the world forge, and they were created by Arishem. Arishem created the Eternals after his first creation (the deviants) evolved and stopped performing their mission, the Eternals were made to destroy the deviants. The Eternals have been servants of Arishem for a long time, their memories are erased and stored in the world forge after each mission. The earth will continue to deteriorate until Tiamut awakens and the earth crumbles and everyone on earth will die. Sersei relays the mission to the Eternals present, none of them are happy about it. Sersei feels that they should stop what is happening and they will need Druig's help so they venture to the Amazon jungle to find him. They locate Druig who is the leader of a peaceful community in the jungle, Druig is unhappy to see them and provokes them into an argument. 

They stay in the village hoping to eventually get Druig's assistance, the deviants arrive and attack the village. The Eternals are separated and need to fight to take down the attacking deviants, Thena and Gilgamesh are attacked by the leader of the deviants, Kro (voiced by Bill Skargard). Kro has evolved and is now able to take powers from the Eternals, Kro killed Ajak and stole her ability to heal herself. Gilgamesh and Kro fight as Thena watches trying to keep from succumbing to mad weary. Kro goes after Thena, but Gilgamesh steps in front and he is killed by Kro who takes Gilgamesh's power which is strength. While Kro was killing Gilgamesh, Sersei was fighting against one of the other deviants; Sersei touches the deviant and turns it into a tree which is something she had previously never been able to do. With his village in ruins Druig joins the Eternals in their quest to save earth, Sersei and Ikaris go to find Phastos. Phastos after blaming himself for the creation of the atom bomb gave up on humanity, but Ikaris and Sersei find Phastos now married and raising a son. Phastos explains that he met his now husband Ben and his faith in humanity was restored. Phastos does not want to leave his husband and child, but if he doesn't help, he will lose his family. With Phastos in hand the group heads to retrieve their ship the Domo, on the ship already is the speedster Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) who has been living there. They come up with a plan to create a link between them and give Druig the power needed to put Tiamut back to sleep until they can safely evacuate earth. 

Ikaris seems to have doubts about the plan, and he walks away, he goes to a spot in the desert where he and Sersei spent their first night together. Sersei joins him and she tries to convince him that the plan is the right thing to do. We see in a flashback that shortly before her death Ajak was visited by Ikaris, it turns out that Ikaris knew about the mission and that is why he left Sersei, he couldn't keep that secret from her. Ajak tells Ikaris that she has had a change of heart and believes that humanity is worth saving, Ikaris feels they are betraying Arishem. Ikaris tells Ajak that he has to show her something, he brings her to Alaska and shows her that not all of the deviants are dead, some were trapped in the ice and are now free due global warming. Ikaris tells Ajak that he can't let her ruin Arishem's plan, and he pushes into the pit with the deviants. Ajak is attacked and is eventually defeated when Kro appears and takes her powers which kills her. Ikaris takes her body and returns it to her home and destroys the place to make it appear as if she was attacked by deviants. Back on the Domo Ikaris turns on the rest of the Eternals, Sprite who has always been in love with him sides with him and they leave. Ikaris and Sprite head to the focal point of Tiamut's emergence and guard it, the Eternals are on their way less Kingo. Kingo refuses to join as he doesn't believe they can beat Ikaris, and he feels letting Tiamut being born is the right thing for the universe. 

Phastos makes wrist bands that will connect the Eternals together, allowing Druig to channel all of their power to put Tiamut to sleep. The Eternals arrive and are met by Ikaris who destroys the Domo, but the remaining Eternals manage to fight him with Thena leading the way. Ikaris realizes they are distracting them while Druig tries to make Tiamut sleep, Ikaris attacks Druig and takes him out. Makkari who loves Druig attacks Ikaris using her speed to keep him at bay, Phastos uses rings to keep handcuffing Ikaris. With Druig taken out Sersei attempts to connect with Tiamut and stop him using her ability to transmute things. Sprite appears and distracts Sersei while she sneaks up on her and stabs Sersei in the back. Sprite is then knocked out by Druig and Sersei removes the knife by transmuting it to water, Sersei then starts transmuting Tiamut to ice. Ikaris breaks free when Kro attacks and Thena goes after him, Ikaris goes after Sersei. Sersei sees Ikaris but she is busy with her transmuting Tiamut, Ikaris could kill/stop her, but he cannot bring himself to hurt her. Thena is battling Kro, but eventually he gets her and is starting to drain her power, but she breaks free and kills Kro. Sersei starts channeling Tiamut's power and is able to turn him to ice, Ikaris feeling that he failed Sersei and his mission leaves earth and flies into the sun. Sersei uses the remaining power she got from Tiamut to turn Sprite into a human so she can live a normal life. 

Back at Ajak's house the group has gathered as Druig, Makkari and Thena will be taking the Domo into space to try and find other Eternals. Phastos, Sersei, Kingo and Sprite will remain on earth, Sprite will go to school like a normal teenager. Sersei who is back in London gets visited by Dane, she tells him what happened, and he tells her he learned of a family secret. Before Dane can reveal the family secret to Sersei, Arishem arrives and takes her Phastos and Kingo. Arishem tells them he will look through memories and judge humanity, he will then pass judgement on humans and decide their fate as the credits begin. The first of two post-credits scenes feature Druig, Thena and Makkari aboard the Domo in space. A teleport opens and a little troll called Pip arrives (voiced by Patton Oswalt), he is a herald for his master Eros (played by Harry Styles). Eros is the brother of Thanos (who is an Eternal?), he is there because he knows where Phastos, Sersei and Kingo are. The second final post-credit scene features Dane in his office, and he is psyching himself to open a box, when he opens the box, we find an ancient looking sword in the box. The surface of the sword appears to be rippling as Dane is about to touch a voice offscreen says "sure you're ready for that, Mr. Whitman" as the scene ends and the film is over.


Let me start by saying the offscreen voiced sounded familiar to me and for a whole day I was vexed until an interview with Chloe Zhao revealed the voiced belonged to Mahershala Ali (Blade). We got out first appearance by Blade in the MCU and I was not expecting it at all, I know and really excited for his next appearance. We had Nick Fury building the Avengers in Phase One of the MCU, in Phase Four could we have Blade building the Midnight Sons. I'm going to go off on a Blade tangent for a bit so please humor me. I think the first two Blade films starring Wesley Snipes were great, and I did not hate the third film as much as most did (Ryan Reynolds stole the movie). Since announcing Mahershala Ali as Blade in 2019 I have been waiting for his introduction into the MCU. While we did not see him, we heard him and that still counts, since we saw with someone who is not a vampire will this version of Blade be dealing with more supernatural threats than vampires or is he there to recruit some help. I will be waiting for more, but just keep in mind there is a Morbius film coming out soon and Morbius is another member of the Midnight Sons. The Midnight Sons also have interactions with the Darkhold which was introduced in Wandavision. There is a Moonknight show coming, and he is also a member of the Midnight Sons and there is also reason to believe some more members might be appearing soon too (Ghost Rider, Punisher and Iron Fist). There is also a Midnight Sons video game on the way too, so Blade appearing makes more sense when you analyze the peices currently on the board. 

Now back to the review of Eternals, I am flummoxed by the negative reviews out there on this film; I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I am not sure we watched the same movie. Eternals is long and the opening feels lacking, but once the movie gets going it is great and I wished it was longer. While I admit that Gemma Chan did not give the strongest performance, I don't think she was bad, I just wish we had a lead actress with a little more gravitas. I like the Sersei character, I think they created a character without the typical splashy powers so they can make a point that leaders don't need to be powerful. Ajak could heal herself, but she was not fighting with the rest of them; Ajak was the leader and Ikaris who was the most powerful was never fit to lead despite his power. In the opening of the film, I admit that I found it boring, even though there was action I did not find myself drawn in. I only became interested once Ikaris joined Sersei and Sprite, once that happened the story started getting interesting. The flashback we saw showing the relationship between Sersei and Ikaris did not work for me either. I think both Gemma Chan and Richard Madden were too stiff, and they did not exhibit enough chemistry. There is a reason that Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie were hired, they might not have been the stars of the film, but when they were on screen, they were electric. Hayek made the most of her limited screen time; you believed that living with humanity gave her an appreciation for humanity. Jolie's was amazing when Gilgamesh was killed, you could feel her heartbreak, and that is why you hire her and Hayek to fill out those roles. I thought that Kumail Nanjiani was good as Kingo, he did not get a lot to do in terms of showing emotional range. Nanjiani delivered on what he was asked to do which was mainly comic relief, but I hope we get to see more of an arc for Kingo in future appearances. 

I thought the score composed by Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones) was fantastic, on my first viewing I did not notice but on my second view it stood out and made the film more affecting. For me the way I rate a film is based on how much I was entertained and how the movie affected me. There are some films that ruin me (Hostiles, please go and watch it), and there are others that I just flat out enjoy (Free Fire). I think Eternals runs a good balance between entertaining and heart, there is no character I that I did not feel had an interesting story arc. The visualization of the powers was also very well done, Ikaris, Gilgamesh, Thena and especially Makkari stood out when they used their powers. I think their way of showing Makkari's speed was awesome and might be the coolest use of speed as a weapon. They didn't rely on slow motion like other films have done, they showcased how fast she is and how powerful of a weapon her speed can be. The film also managed to explain why we had never heard of the Eternals until now, there are not of good ways to do that, and Eternals managed a plausible one. I am also not sure we have seen the last of Ikaris, yes, he flew into the sun, but we never got confirmation that he died. Maybe Arishem will recreate Ikaris or maybe he saved Ikaris; I have a feeling we will be seeing him again as he is one of the more important Eternals. The introduction of Eros (Harry Styles) was spoiled by after the premiere, but I still enjoyed it and I am excited to see more of him and Pip (Patton Oswalt) in the future. I will be curious if they explore Thanos more, his name mentioned in this film and Eros said he was Thanos' brother and that he was also an Eternal. The two post credits scenes really opened up the future of the Eternals franchise, we will have more space adventures and I think the story will continue on earth with Sprite and Whitman. The Eternals franchise had a great first entry that was deeper than I expected and setup a future I can't wait to see.

After two views, a comic book read and some time I still feel strongly that Chloe Zhao gave us a more thoughtful Marvel film. Eternals was not boring, but it subverted the typical superhero film tropes and I understand that might not be for everyone. I have mentioned this before, but as I have gotten older the big and loud action scenes are less interesting to me and I prefer a really good dialogue character driven scene over action. That is what worked so well for me with Endgame, the emotional beats of Endgame really affected me. The character work in Eternals was fantastic and it is why I have taken such a shine to the movie. I really enjoyed seeing the Eternals over the centuries and how they influenced human civilization, I thought it was fun how a lot of our myths are associated with the Eternals. Based on how I feel I am more than comfortable with giving Eternals an 8/10. The Eternals will be a film I think I will revisit quite a lot because of the character work done in it, it will join the Captain America trilogy, Infinity War, End Game, Ant-Man and Black Panther as films I keep watching. I am not saying that the other films are not worthy of constant viewing, but for me I enjoy character moments and the films I named deliver on that front better than the rest. 

Thank you for reading my spoiler review of Eternals, I'm sorry for the delay and stay tuned for my review of the first two episodes of the Disney Plus series Hawkeye.

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