Eternals is a 2021 American superhero film drama based on the Marvel Comics of the same name. Created by the legendary Jack Kirby in the 1970s, Eternals’ premise was inspired by the Chariots of the Gods? novel which involves the hypothesis that the technologies and religions of many ancient civilizations were given to them by ancient astronauts who were welcomed as gods.
Thus, in the comic books and in this movie adaptation, the Eternals are an immortal alien race, emerge from hiding after thousands of years to protect Earth from their evil counterparts, the Deviants. Set not long after the events of Avengers : Endgame, the movie introduces these immortal superheroes as they come to grips with their existence, purpose and role in the universe.
Directed by the award-winning Chloé Zhao and starring an ensemble cast including Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Harish Patel, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie, Eternals comes across like a standalone Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie similar to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. One.
The pacing of Eternals deviates from your standard MCU movie by allowing the story and characters to breathe without relentless action sequences. There is a sense that these immortal characters have a certain weight of history on their shoulders while emphasising their intimate relationships. In addition, the conflicted nature evident in characters like Ikaris (Madden), Thena (Jolie), Sprite (Lia McHugh) and Sersi (Chan) make it easy for the audience to identify with their plights.
Everything is self-contained within Eternals – the protagonists and antagonists (viz. Eternals, Deviants, Celestials) change sides throughout the movie, keeping the audience guessing and invested in the outcome of the narrative. The handling of Ikaris’ character is especially nuanced – the similarities to Zack Snyder’s Superman cannot be avoided – which sets up Eternals as a fresh take on MCU characters.
But of course, Eternals is a MCU movie and the two post-credit scenes tease more upcoming excitement to anticipate in Phases 4 and 5. Without exaggeration or irony, we declare Eternals to be one of the best superhero movies yet!
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