By Muhammed Muhsin
I’m aware of how divisive this one has been, with critics calling it a midtier Marvel movie, fans calling it an underrated gem, and the absolute worst of toxic film fans calling it “SJW propaganda.” But at the end of the day, this is just another Marvel movie, and there is nothing wrong with that. While I have an issue with the rate at which Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films are released, there is something to be said about a franchise that makes me feel like a kid again while keeping a consistent storyline.
With two Oscars under her belt, it is no surprise that director Chloe Zhao made the most aesthetically pleasing Marvel movie to date. There is a lot that allows “Eternals” to stand on its own. Between its breathtaking cinematography and exceptional action sequences, what was supposed to be a boring old popcorn flick became a beacon of hope for what could be done with superhero movies.
Before I jump into my problems, I want to dive into something I really appreciated: the story’s political and historical elements. The idea of the “Eternals” is that they are these omnipotent figures who have become legends throughout history. The modern superhero is not far off from mythology, so it is really fitting that these characters blur the line between ancient epic and comic book movies.
The complaints of superheroes being politicized are insufferable to hear because they have always been political, and “Eternals” wouldn’t have felt right if it wasn’t. If you look from the first film, “Iron Man,” to now, you will see the themes in the MCU have always been political. Is there an element of military propaganda sprinkled here and there? Definitely. Has there always been themes of anti-imperialism? Yes. At worst, it’s confusing, but most of the time the artists behind the movie are allowed to work around the guidelines put in place by the overfunded U.S. military.
My main complaint is that the ending is bad. I know MCU films need to have an epilogue that sets up what’s next in the franchise, but with how quickly the climax ends just to get to the zinger feels a little cheap, especially when you consider this movie is 157 minutes long. Decent pacing was not one of the editor’s priorities, and it really does drag down what could have been one of Marvel’s best movies. The amount of time dedicated to large action setpieces feels excessive, and that is coming from an avid defender of over-the-top action setpieces. The cast had such great chemistry, but it was a waste that a lot of their screen time as a team was just fight scenes.
At the end of the day, I stand by my word: this is just another Marvel movie. You probably won’t like this if you are not a fan of superhero movies, or if you have a hair-trigger response to anything with a remotely left-leaning message. I do still look forward to seeing more of the “Eternals” in the future.