Eternals Review Movie
It's difficult to quantify the magnitude of a win it was to Marvel Studios to hire Chloe Zhao as director for Eternals. A number of prominent filmmakers have passed through its doors, however Marvel is in the first place an independent producer's studio that is driven by the chess moves in five dimensions that are the work of Kevin Feige, who can envision the future of the studio as Doctor Strange with the Time Stone. Directors leave and return and come and go, but Feige is always present.
Zhao feels different. Recent winners from the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars (for Nomadland), Zhao has a reputation and credibility to the film industry. She's an impressively subdued gentle, grounded kind of filmmaker. Her three first films which were carefully planned and driven by narrative over characters used psychology that is the basis of American landscapes to gain a better understanding of marginalized people living in the margins. The question is what happens when this humane of directors gets loose with the superhuman?
There's a compelling conflict within Eternals between the inexpressible force that is Marvel's Marvel film and the indestructible object of Zhao's artistic visions. There are many aspects to this film that Eternals appears and feels unlike the previous Chloe Zhao film we've seen before. Her cinematographer of choice, Joshua James Richards, has been removed; Marvel lenser Ben Davis is back, as is the massive amount of CGI essential for superhero films. Zhao's signature realism and semi-documentarian style is gone in favor of rigid fantasy exposition and blockbuster conventions. This isn't a bad thing by itself but those who are looking forward to the debut of an "arthouse Marvel" should be careful with their expectations.
In several ways this movie looks and feels unlike any prior Marvel film. For instance, there are at a minimum, some firsts: a real sexual scene and the on-screen gay kisssomething that is not seen in the typically sexy MCU. Kirby also has room for artistic flair and authorship even within the blockbuster genre and her love for the wide-angle view or an Terrence Malick-esque sunset lend to this Jack Kirby cosmic romp a need for earthiness.
On such a massive stage, it's always a challenge to keep your focus at an (super)human level.
It's a crucial counter-balance in reality, since Eternals is nothing short of adventurous. In many ways, this is Marvel's Genesis story. Its Star Wars-style opening crawl that sets the scene in biblical proportions ("In The Beginning"). …"). The Eternals We are told are not only the most powerful heroes of Earth they are also vital cogs in the human development. Similar to the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey They guide us in the crucial moments of civilization's evolution, and serve as inspiration for the earliest mythologies of the human race.
This is a story told on an epic size, stretching from 5,000 BC until the present the stakes laid out by the divine Celestials. The film's structured structure is a slick ploy between flashbacks and scenes traversing the globe from the beginning of Mesopotamia up to the gardens of Babylon and Babylon to Aztec town of Tenochtitlan to, um, Camden High Street.
On such a huge stage, it's always a challenge to keep the attention on level (super)human level. Zhao spends time in to introduce everyone in a proper manner, and devotes large portions of the film (at the 157-minute mark, this is the second-longest MCU film following Endgame) to bringing the ten characters back together after centuries of separation. It's pleasing to see an array of characters of characters the ancient immortals speak with Irish brogues and American Sign Language without ever being forced to speak to the subject — however, certain characters make a stronger impression more than others.
The most notable of them is Kumail Nanjiani's Kingo as the Eternal who has an additional career as an Bollywood star; his valet' Karun, played by Harish Patel, who provides an enthralling, everyman-like befuddlement as well as Angelina Jolie's Thena effortlessly elegant and classically distant. Richard Madden's Ikaris and Gemma Chan's Sersi have more challenging roles. as tough heroes and fictitious leaders, they're burdened by common dialog ("We're an entire team, we must stick to one another!") and smothering seriousness.
It's quite surprising, actually how sincere Eternals are. Sometimes, it's a nice contrast to Marvel's stock-in-trade jokes. Like the Prime Directive the Eternals are bound to an uninterventionist policy. only fighting the Deviants or leave them to themselves. Are they morally responsible, as the film asks at one point, for the superheroes to just relax and watch humans commit genocide?
But more often it's easy to fall prey to the same traps concerning saving the world and the ability to work in a team. When the massive, CGI-laden battle is underway to stop another apocalypse on the horizon it's easy to sense the formula being leaning on. It's an astonishingly successful formula however. It also means that even with that intriguing name on the chair of the director that this is normal business for Marvel -more of a continuation than a major leap.