Visually appealing, Eternals can also be confoundingly slow and unnecessarily complex. The introduction of eleven major characters over a period of 7,000 years was always going to be problematic. The back and forth time frames just adds to the confusion. After about 60 of the bloated 156 minutes, the viewer finally gets a handle of who’s who, their powers, and limitations. But first, the viewer goes to prehistoric Earth, later to Babylon, India, London, and places around the world as the Eternals save the us over and over.
Sometime prior to 5,000 B.C., the Celestial Arishem sent Deviants to our planet to protect the population from predators. The Deviants devolved as it were and started feasting on humans. Thus, the arrival of ten Eternals to rid the world of Deviants, supposedly completed by 1500 A.D.
The prime directive to the Eternals was not to interfere in any way with the population, including wars and Thanos, except to protect against the Deviants. With nothing to do for the last 500 years the Eternals got bored and spread around the world as they awaited orders to return home to planet Olympia. Except, now it seems the Deviants are back with more powers than ever. And, the leader of the Eternals, Ajak, is dead. Sersi and Ikaris have seven days to find the others and, as I said, save the world. I give Eternals 3.5 Gavels and it receives a 51% Rotten Tomatoes rating with a 6.5/10 IMDb score.
After a 500 year separation from Ikaris, Sersi lives in London with Sprite and dates human boyfriend, Dane Whitman. On their way home one night, a Deviant attacks, and appearing from nowhere, Ikaris rescues them. Certain that this is a warning of atrocities to come, the three Eternals travel to South Dakota to find Ajak dead, but still able to anoint Sersi their new leader. Her new power allows her to make contact with Arishem where she learns that their orders to protect are not what they seem. Should they disobey, and at what risk? None of the Eternals has the power of a Celestial.
Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians, Mary Queen of Scots) appears as Sersi, always questioning whether she is the one to lead. Richard Madden (Bodyguard, Medici) as Ikaris has no such doubts, but also is hiding something. Why did he abandon Sersi centuries ago? Notable newcomer is Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, a deaf super speedster. Notable oldster is Angelina Jolie as Thena, whose Lara Croft: Tomb Raider days look long past. Sluggish, she is the weakest of the lot.
Did the producers of Eternals know director-writer Chloe Zhao slammed China when they hired her? Apparently, in a 2013 interview she said China is a country where “there are lies everywhere.” As a result, it will be an eternity until Eternals get shown in the land of her birth. Can you really get a sequel without China? Although Eternals discusses Thanos and the Avengers, doesn’t it seem odd there is no interaction?
Pro — “Eternals shoots for the stars, and if the finished feature isn’t quite out of this world, it’s still close enough to getting there that my interest in seeing where these characters go next is exceedingly high.” MovieFreak.com
Con — “Seriously, what a snooze. Fresh off of winning the Best Director Oscar for “Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao has upchucked one of the MCU’s worst movies in ages.” New York Post
Don’t miss the mid-credits scene and the post-credit scene. Now that the origin story is out of the way, the fun begins, if we get a sequel. A $200 million production cost means it has a lot of ground to make up.