5 Reasons Why Eternals Is My New Favorite Marvel Movie
The critics don't love Eternals, but I do.
Eternals is certified rotten and it’s now my all-time favorite Marvel movie. Wha-wha-what, you say? That’s right! Forget Guardians of the Galaxy, forget Captain America: The Winter Soldier, forget Avengers: Infinity War; Eternals is my new favorite movie to come out of the MCU, and I’m sticking to that statement. Sure, I know a lot of critics would disagree with me (even though the fans spoke with their wallets, regardless, on opening weekend), but you know what? Critics aren’t always right, and I think a lot of them are dead wrong when it comes to Eternals.
In fact, this is kind of reminding me of the inverse of what happened with The Last Jedi, where the critics were gaga for it (like our very own Eric Eisenberg), but the fans were like, "nah, no thanks," as Eternals currently has a critically rotten score, but a positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. And, as both a (sort of) critic and a movie fan in general, I’m definitely leaning more toward the audience side on this one. But why, you wonder? Well, you’re about to find out.
Oh, and major spoilers up ahead.
It's, Surprisingly, The Funniest Marvel Movie
I’m sorry, but Eternals is hilarious. There’s, of course, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, who many critics are saying brings some much needed humor to the film. But, what about Harish Patel, who plays the Eternals fanboy/director, Karun? At my showing, every line of dialogue he said got a huge laugh, and for good reason. He’s hilarious, and probably the best character in the entire movie!
I also really dug the scenes with Don Lee as Gilgamesh. He provided plenty of levity in some pretty dark story beats. Brian Tyree Henry’s overly protective and unwilling Eternal, Phastos, was pretty funny, and I even thought Richard Madden as Ikaris had some humorous moments when he wasn’t being a turncoat. If I have any problems with the film, it’s that the female characters didn’t get that many humorous moments, but that’s more because they did most of the dramatic heavy lifting, so I guess it’s an okay trade-off. They couldn’t ALL be the comic relief.
It Commits To Its Diversity
When it was revealed that Eternals would feature the MCU’s first openly gay character, I thought they were going to pull a LeFou from the live-action Beauty and the Beast, where it was so subtle that it might as well not have even been there. But no, Eternals commits to its gay character in Phastos. So much so, that Disney was even willing to sacrifice overseas revenue in order to keep in his openly gay relationship with his husband.
It doesn’t stop there, though, since diversity is found all throughout the film. We have a British Asian main character in Gemma Chan as Sersi, a powerful Mexican matriarch character in Salma Hayek’s, Ajak. The aforementioned Kumail Nanjiani, Don Lee, and Brian Tyree Henry (who are Pakistani, Korean, and Black) as Kingo, Gilgamesh, and Phastos, respectively, and of course the deaf actress, Lauren Ridloff, who plays Makkari.
In fact, according to research by language learning app Preply (via The Independent), there has been a spike in people searching to learn sign language, and Lauren Ridloff seems to be one of the motivating factors. I just love that this film, as intriguing as it is, also commits to being diverse to its core, and it succeeds on all fronts.
The Action Is Pretty Fresh And Enthralling
One common complaint that I’ve seen leveled against Eternals is that the action is boring and repetitive. Most of the time, the characters are seen battling against the beast-like Deviants, and the Eternals are showcased using their abilities against them time and time again, and I get that. There is no real “big bad” like Thanos or Killmonger, and the Celestials are more like a giant existential threat rather than being a baddie to punch in the face.
That said, most of the action is actually much more subtle and internal. The “action” is really about the characters’ interactions and moral decisions about being immortal beings who mostly just sit and watch mankind’s destruction. This, to me anyway, is a lot more compelling than fighting, because it deals more with philosophical drama. Like, was Phastos wrong for bestowing humankind with the technology that would eventually allow them to create the atom bomb? Should Druig, played by Irish actor Barry Keoghan, just sit and watch humankind’s destruction when he could easily prevent it?
Sure, the actual action presented in the film was really cool, like Makkari’s Flash-like speed, and Ikaris’ Superman-like laser-beam eyes. And, I really loved that characters actually died, like Gilgamesh and Ajak, which really raised the stakes. But, what I loved most was all of the emotional “action” that was sparking amongst the many members of the crew. Not since the first Avengers have I seen such great emotional turmoil within its cast of characters. Speaking of which…
I Was Invested In Every Character
I’ll be honest with you. As much as I love the MCU, there are just some characters I couldn’t care less about. Happy Hogan? No thanks. Ulysses Klaue? Naw, I’ll pass. Nebula? Thanks, but no thanks. Honestly, if you were to name every single movie in the MCU, I bet you there is at least one character in each movie who I would find expendable.
I don’t feel that way about Eternals. Even though Angelina Jolie’s Thena is, surprisingly, not one of who I would consider the main characters, I still find her arc fascinating in how in ties in with the actual history of the characters. While Kit Harington doesn’t really do much for me as Sersi’s boyfriend, I often wondered about what he was doing while all the action was taking place. I really loved Sprite, played by Lia McHugh, and her Interview with the Vampire, woman trapped in a child’s body issue. In fact, I just loved all of the characters, and I was invested in every one of them, which is no small feat for such a large cast.
It Is The Only Marvel Movie That I Think Can Be Interpreted In Multiple Ways
Finally, Eternals is the only Marvel movie that I interpreted to have a deeper meaning. I am just going on the impression that I got with this film, but I view Eternals as being a deeply pro-choice movie. The director, Chloe Zhao, hasn’t come out and stated that the movie has anything to do with abortion, and I am probably just reading too deeply into the film. But when Sersi decides that the Celestial sleeping within Earth cannot wake up, I viewed that as being a definitively pro-choice decision.
Let me explain. Due to the love that the Eternals have formed with Earth (Mother Nature), some of them have decided that the Celestial, Tiamut, cannot wake up, and thus, they decide to prevent this birth from happening. When I watched this, I found this symbolic of a very pro-choice decision to end life before it can be born to focus on the life that we currently have. Now, I won’t reveal whether I am pro-life or pro-choice since I know that can be a very controversial topic, but that’s how I read into the film.
And let me just say that it’s refreshing to be able to interpret something (Anything!) from a Marvel flick, as I feel Eternals is the only MCU film, thus far, that actually has subtext (One could read into Ikaris, literally flying into the sun, as being pro-life, as well as Sprite, who is eternally a child until she decides not to be). I mean, again, maybe I read way too much into this film, but it’s just a pleasure to be able to read into any Marvel film at all.
And that’s it. But how did you feel about Eternals? If you want to learn more about the Eternals cast or upcoming Marvel movies, make sure to come around here often!
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.
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