Review: Marvel’s ‘Eternals’ feels empty

Photo courtesy of IMDb

By Emma Weidmann | Intern

Ever since Marvel wrapped up its “phase three”— movies from “Captain America: Civil War” to “Avengers: Endgame”— it has felt like any film that deviates from the Avengers team and our earthly superheroes is completely devoid of emotion. The newest Spiderman movie and Shang-Chi’s character introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been great movies, but “Eternals” misses the mark completely.

At the beginning of the film, I was willing to dismiss its slow tempo as necessary, considering how much lore and exposition was required. It’s an entirely fresh storyline with all new characters, so it made sense. However, as the movie dragged on, it didn’t get any more interesting.

These new characters are called Eternals, a group of immortal protectors of Earth. The Eternals are prohibited by their space overlords, called Celestials, from engaging in human conflicts unless they involve Deviants, monsters who feast on the energy of humans.

If there’s one thing I can compliment this movie on, it would be casting. Every actor played their role fantastically, Gemma Chan as the earnest and talented Sersi, Kumail Nanjiani as the Bollywood star Kingo and Angelina Jolie as the slightly unhinged Thena.

The movie shows the Eternals standing back and watching the destruction of Tenochtitlan by the Spaniards in the 16th century. The tension in this scene is this: Should they stick to their mission or interfere and stop a literal genocide? The answer seems pretty clear — stop the genocide — right? Wrong. Unquestioning loyalty to the Celestials is more important to every Eternal except for Druig, played by Barry Keoghan, who goes rogue.

What could be worse than our heroes’ complacency? It’s the forced relationship between the already taken Sersi and the absent and boring Ikaris. Their tired love story goes like this: They met in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon and he immediately confesses his love for her. Cue Marvel’s first intimate scene. They get married in India’s Gupta Empire.

Fast forward a few thousand years and Ikaris has suddenly up and disappeared for centuries, leaving Sersi all alone with no answers. In the present day, she has found a happy new relationship with the perfectly mortal Dane Whitman, played by Kit Harrington. But amongst increasingly troubling instances of Deviant appearances, Ikaris has returned to Earth and is determined to cause problems for the whole crew.

Call me biased, but the only part of the movie that excited me was the mid-credits appearance of Harry Styles as Eros, the brother of Thanos. This has angered a lot of people. Many feel as if the boybander turned genuine rockstar doesn’t belong in a Marvel movie, despite his casting in Christopher Nolan’s Oscar-winning “Dunkirk” and upcoming appearances in two more films. Personally, I think this is a strange stance to take. Marvel movies aren’t exactly the peak of cinema, and Barry Keoghan was also in “Dunkirk,” but nobody is saying that he doesn’t belong in a Marvel movie. Maybe the Harry Styles fans were right about just going to see this movie for Harry, seeing as his appearance was the only time the film seemed to compel the audience to cheers and gasps.