By: Eddie Young, Contributing Writer (’22)
Eternals is unlike any Marvel movie that has come before it. Okay, sure, it is still a superhero movie, but this one focuses on a select group of superheroes, which differs from the traditional Marvel films that focus on one prominent superhero. Yes, the Avengers movies have an ensemble of superheroes, but before Eternals, no introductory movie for any Marvel superhero has ever involved a group-centered film. Not to mention, the movie was also visually different from all previous entries in the franchise.
In the movie, there are ten Eternals who come to Earth from a planet named Olympia. Their goal is to protect humans from creatures known as “deviants.” However, of course, things go wrong for the Eternals, and they are forced into moral dilemmas where they have to make tough decisions and choose their paths carefully.
One exciting aspect of the movie is its clear ties to many different European mythologies. Nine of the ten Eternals have clear connections to characters from European mythology. The links are not as evident as Thor and Loki from earlier Marvel movies and shows, identical to their counterparts in Norse mythology. However, after learning some essential mythology, one can quickly draw connections between the characters and myths.
The leader of the Eternals is Ajak, and she shares clear similarities with Ajax, a hero from the myth of the Trojan War. Next up is Ikaris, who, in my opinion, has the best powers; he can fly and shoot lasers from his eyes, similar to Superman. Ikaris is based on Icarus, a character in Greek mythology who flew too close to the sun and ended up melting his wax wings, and there are times in the movie where this parallel is replicated. Moving on to Sersi, the film’s main character, is similar to Circe from Greek mythology in that both Sersi and Circe have the power of transfiguration. Other obvious parallels include Thena, a great warrior, and Athena, the Greek goddess of War; Gilgamesh, who has super strength, and Gilgamesh, a great hero from Babylonian myth; Phastos, a genius who can construct just about anything, and Hephaestus, the Greek god of blacksmiths; and Makkari, who has super speed and is deaf, and Mercury, the Roman messenger god known for his speed. While it is not necessary for understanding or enjoying the movie, knowing some mythology allowed for a closer look at the characters’ backgrounds and personalities.
Now, to the movie itself. The plot and the storyline were interesting and kept me intrigued the whole time. There was also a love triangle which kept an interesting romantic aspect alive. Also, the movie was not as action-heavy as other Marvel movies. Of course, there were still action scenes, but ten Eternals needed to be developed throughout the film, and Chloé Zhao, the director, did a good job of doing that. Even though it was generally a serious movie, there were some comedic relief characters who were able to keep a lighthearted mood, including Kingo, the only Eternal yet to be mentioned.
Unlike most other superhero movies, there was no real “bad guy” that the Eternals had to fight. Instead, they were tasked with a tough decision on what side they should support, which made up most of the action in the movie. It was enjoyable to see a different approach taken for such a superhero film.
While I doubt there will be any Oscars for any acting in the movie, all of the actors still performed well in their roles. The three biggest actors in the film: Angelina Jolie (Thena), Salma Hayek (Ajak), and Kit Harington (Black Knight), all played relatively minor roles, with not much speaking involved. The two major roles were played by British actors Gemma Chan and Richard Madden, and both showed promise in what they could bring to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Overall, Eternals would receive about a 6.5-7/10 rating out from me. It was a solid, satisfactory film, and if you are interested in a different kind of superhero movie, I would recommend it. Even better, it isn’t necessary to watch any previous Marvel movie to understand the plot, unlike previous large ensemble superhero films, so it can be a good choice for people who have not seen any Marvel movies before. Eternals is not the greatest movie of all time, but it is definitely an enjoyable watch.