Okay, this movie isn’t the travesty the Rotten Tomatoes score pegs it as, but it’s definitely something that needed a bit more tweaking before being released.
Following the ancient and present-day exploits of a group of god-like beings dubbed Eternals, Eternals brings the cosmic and celestial side of the MCU to the silver screen in a bigger way than fans have ever seen before. Consisting of a score of characters that utilize their own unique power from super speed to flight to mind control and more, the Eternals are tasked with seeking out and destroying creatures called Deviants, monster-like enemies that threaten all of humanity. Split up over the centuries since the last Deviant was culled, a new kind of Deviant begins to hunt the Eternals down directly, and what follows is a sweeping narrative that holds ties to the MCU’s past, present, and eventual future.
Being the next entry in the never-ending series that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Eternals had a lot to prove in a post-Avengers world. Set after the epic events of Avengers: Endgame, the Eternals are a team that fans can get behind as they’re more or less an Avengers/Guardians of the Galaxy mashup, complete with superpowers and character interactions that would make the Justice League blush.
Composed of no less than ten characters of various backgrounds and power sets, the action — when present — feels exciting, explosive, and new, but when the script slows down to give audiences the character work that films like this live and die on, the movie get a bit messier. Admittedly portrayed by stellar actors and actresses all around, as well as a visual esthetic that impresses, the individual Eternals characters are a blast to watch onscreen, and when they work, they work well, but when interacting with each other, the chemistry and story progression leaves a lot to be desired.
Cut in a way that continually grinds the story to a halt as the narrative jumps hundred of years backward and forwards through time seemingly without rhyme or reason, certain characters are either overly focused on or barely touched to a point that the entire dynamic of the team felt off. Coupled with a script that’s actually the worst thing going for this film, and you have a movie that isn’t firing on all cylinders mostly because of the way the experience was handled from the outset, as my biggest gripes with this film come almost entirely from the pacing, editing, and scripting of a movie that needed far more care and attention than it seems to have been given, ultimately letting the film’s characters and story down in a way that annoyed me more than anything. It almost seems as if there’s either a much better, much longer cut of this film floating around, an entirely different cut that helps alleviate these pacing and plotting issues, or a super slimmed down version that only gives audiences the meat and potatoes of what needs to be seen, because as it stands, the theatrical cut squanders more than it accomplishes.
Eternals isn’t a bad movie as it has enough entertainment value to enjoy what you’re watching, but it isn’t exactly a good one either. Overstuffed, meandering, and scripted in a way that does it no favors, the cool characters, action, and settings are well worth the price of admission, even if the filmmakers fall just short of giving fans what they expected and deserved. I didn’t dislike Eternals, but when the inevitable sequel and mixing of these characters into the MCU are fully realized, this franchise will be much better off.