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Review: "Eternals' further mucks up the increasingly convoluted Marvel Cinematic Universe

Posted at 10:21 AM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 10:25:26-04

Tom Santilli is a respected journalist and member of the Critics Choice Association, Detroit Film Critics Society and Online Film Critics Society since 2010. Tom is the Executive Producer and co-host of the syndicated TV show, "Movie Show Plus," which has been on the air for 20+ years in the Metro-Detroit market and Mid-West. Twitter: @tomsantilli, Facebook & Instagram: @filmsurvivor.

It was considered an odd choice by many, when director Chloé Zhao named "Eternals" her follow-up to her 2020 Best Picture Oscar winner, "Nomadland." Zhao - up until now - had only dealt in small, character-driven movies, so helming a massive Marvel movie didn't seem like the right fit. After watching "Eternals," you can definitely understand what drew Zhao to the film, but her lofty ambitions to bring truth and humanity to the sheer enormity of a comic book movie such as this ends up being a fool's errand.

"Eternals" is the largest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film to date in scope and aspiration, and that's why its failure on several fronts feels like such a colossal belly-flop.

Grade: C

Full disclosure: I had written a massive, several-paragraph-long, in-depth review on "Eternals" that was all ready to post...until a computer glitch saw me lose everything. I'm sorry to say that I just don't have it in me to try to re-create my full thoughts and feelings after having already poured myself into a review that will now never be read. My apologies to those looking for such a review.

Instead, here are some main points:

  • "Eternals" is excessive in every way imaginable. There's too many characters, too much exposition, too much CG and too much to have to remember.
  • The cast - while it deserves kudos for its tremendous diversity - has little to no chemistry, for characters that supposedly know each other for millions of years.
  • The MCU is becoming convoluted beyond repair...most MCU fans are still trying to process what a multi-verse is, from shows like "Loki" and "What If...?" and "Eternals" adds an entirely new mess of details that don't add up to what we already know...and this film does absolutely nothing to place itself in any relation to what we already have come to know about where the MCU is headed.
  • There are hints of great things buried within "Eternals," underneath the required action sequences and the mounds of exposition...but it is quite impossible to flesh out any of these characters, even with the extended run-time, as there are simply way too many on-screen.
  • I had many, many more thoughts on the "Eternals" that I no longer have the energy to regurgitate.

In summary? "Eternals" is the least fun I've ever had in a MCU film, and not lost on me, it's also the least fun experience I've ever had writing a review of an MCU movie, or any movie for that matter.

Grade: C
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Run Time: 2 hours 37 minutes
Rated PG-13
Starring: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kit Harington, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Barry Keoghan, Lauren Ridloff, Ma Dong-seok.Co-Writted and Directed by Chloé Zhao ("Nomadland," "The Rider")
"Eternals" opens in theaters on Friday, November 5th, 2021.