John’s Review Of Marvel’s Eternals And Why It’s Not As Bad As People Say

I’m going to try my best not to spoil this movie but there are no guarantees. Most of what I am going to mention will be things I knew going in to the movie, which might sound like a spoiler. But that’s only because I’m a freak and I research these things too much. Enjoy!

I’ve been a comic book fan since birth. My Dad was a fan when he was a kid and his Uncle was a huge fan as well. Loving these frustrating universes with cool characters that always seem to return to the status quo is in my DNA. I could talk for hours about why Daredevil is one of the most genius ideas for a superhero and why everyone should love him. I have talked for hours about why I love The Flash and how the TV show and the movies have done a huge disservice to Barry Allen and Wally West. I have seen every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie except for The Eternals twice. I’ve liked most of them. Unlike most people on the internet, I enjoy Thor: The Dark World and dislike Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. So those are my credentials. When I started this blog two weeks ago I decided I should probably review these movies too since I’m usually thinking about them anyway.

I’m not a huge fan of cosmic stuff generally and know very little about The Eternals as characters. If I remember correctly the Eternals in the comics were one of two groups of beings that were experimented on by the Celestials(Space gods) and given miraculous powers. I think there’s a whole race of these beings, but in the movie there’s ten. The other group that was experimented on are known as the Deviants. They’re just another faceless horde for the Marvel characters to fight, so not really special. This movie was advertised as a grand cosmic spectacle that would live up to the work of the late Jack Kirby, creator of The Eternals, co-creator of Captain America and the Fantastic Four, and just generally a great artist who made most of the Marvel things you love. He also created Darkseid and the New Gods over at DC.

I think part of the reason I enjoyed this movie is that it isn’t that cosmic. It takes place over millions of years from the dawn of humans to now, and jumps around a bit, but it’s more towards the beginning of the movie, and it’s not that confusing. But it mostly takes place on Earth, with characters who should probably be smarter than they’re portrayed as, but at the same time, it’s a comic book movie. Yes, there are dumb things about this, and not all of it works. But if I have fun I don’t really care. It follows your basic superhero movie structure: A team has to come together to stop the end of the world, and some of them don’t believe in themselves but learn to over the course of the movie. It’s two and a half hours long, but it didn’t feel that long to me. There’s a climactic battle, and a tease at the end for the sequel. There is also two post-credits scenes, one of which surprised me with an odd character inclusion, but I won’t discuss that here. But yeah. I haven’t really reviewed a movie this way before, so now that I’ve explained sort of the plot without spoiling stuff, I’ll talk about the characters.

In the comics I think the team is usually a bit different. There’s some changes in race and gender here, and I’ll include compare/contrast photos if I can figure out how to.
Update: I couldn’t figure it out. It was too hard.

Ikaris – Played By Richard Madden

The main difference is in costume and hair. In the comics Ikaris has long blonde hair and a red and blue costume, whereas in this, it’s Richard Madden in a blue and gold suit. I think the comic version has an on-again, off-again thing with Thena(Angelina Jolie), whereas in this he dates Sersi(Gemma Chan). He can fly and he has laser-vision and he’s strong. Like Superman. There’s a joke in this about how he’s kind of like Superman. It’s fine. I like him enough, and there’s a revelation with him later on that I enjoy, but it doesn’t entirely make sense. I haven’t seen him in anything before, but he’s fun.

Sersi – Played By Gemma Chan
I thought I’d never seen her in anything, but Gemma Chan is in Crazy Rich Asians, and she’s really good in it. I liked her in this as well. Her powers focus on matter-changing and stuff. She’s cool, and kind of the main character? Her story is that she’s with Ikaris for several centuries and then he leaves her and she ends up in a relationship with A COMPLETELY NORMAL GUY NAMED DANE WHITMAN played by Kit Harington. I thought it was nice that she was dating AN ENTIRELY NORMAL GUY WHO WILL NEVER AT ANY POINT BECOME A MORE IMPORTANT CHARACTER IN ANY WAY. DON’T MISTAKE ME TYPING IN ALL CAPS AS SARCASM AND ASSUME THAT DANE WHITMAN WILL BECOME A SUPERHERO OF SOME KIND THAT’S NOT IT AT ALL. MY CAPS LOCK KEY IS JUST STUCK. TOTALLY. But yeah, they do some fun stuff with her powers. In the comics, the Eternals all have super speed, flight, strength, matter-changing, illusions, mind control, all of it. But each of them have mastered one of the powers and chooses not to use the others. Which I think I would have enjoyed more. There’s a bit in the trailer where a double-decker bus is flying at Sersi and she changes it into rose petals. I thought it was cool, but wondered what happened to the people in the bus. But then they popped out of the bus. So she didn’t murder them, which is nice.

Ajak – Played By Salma Hayek
Again, I haven’t really seen most of these people in other things, but I really like Salma Hayek. I think she’s cool. Ajak is the leader of the Eternals and she can heal people. I don’t think she’s the leader in the comics, but who cares, really? The thing I didn’t like about her was she wears a weird helmet. That’s about it. I wish she was in the movie more.

Thena – Played By Angelina Jolie
In the comics Thena is the goddess of war, and she can materialize weapons out of thin air. Part of the reason I want to rewatch this movie is I want to count how many times they tell Angelina Jolie that she’s the goddess of war in this movie. They do it a lot. There’s also a lot of people saying “remember who you are” in this movie. I can’t really talk about her story, but I enjoyed her costume enough, and I didn’t dislike her weird golden weapon thingies as much as I thought I would. She also seemed to actually be trying to act, which I was surprised by. I read somewhere that she only agreed to be in this because they let her make a Maleficent sequel. I have somehow never seen her in anything, despite knowing a lot about her and joking about the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith at least once a week for the past three years. She’s pretty good.

Dane Whitman – Played By Kit Harington
AS I SAID BEFORE KIT HARINGTON PLAYS A REGULAR GUY NAMED DANE THAT ISN’T AN ETERNAL AND WILL NEVER BECOME A SUPERHERO IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM. BECAUSE HE’S OBVIOUSLY SUCH AN INCREDIBLY MINOR CHARACTER FROM THE COMICS, I’M NOT AT ALL A FAN AND DEFINITELY NOT EXCITED TO SEE HOW HIS STORY PROGRESSES. NOT AT ALL. AGAIN THIS ISN’T SARCASM, JUST AN INCONVENIENT COMPUTER MALFUNCTION. DEFINITELY DON’T LOOK UP WHO DANE WHITMAN IS BECAUSE HE’S SUCH A MINOR CHARACTER THAT NEVER DOES ANYTHING AT ALL. But yeah, he’s funny in this as a regular human being dating a God essentially. I haven’t watched Game of Thrones, so I’m not super familiar with him, but I liked him in this. It’s a shame that they’re never going to do anything with this character again. Marvel shouldn’t have wasted Kit Harington on a character so insignificant. If you’re mad at me for this dumb joke, I won’t blame you. It’s not a spoiler for this movie, but for things to come, really. I don’t know. I may be a dick, but at least I haven’t said who he’s going to be, right?

Sprite – Played By Lia McHugh
Dane Whitman is a hero called The Black Knight and he’s really interesting and he has a sword. There, I did it.

Sprite – Played By Lia McHugh
Sprite is a boy in the comics, and I believe they say that he was the influence for Peter Pan. But only in the Marvel universe. These characters were created after J.M. Barrie’s classic was written. And there isn’t actually a real cosmic God out there that can create illusions and doesn’t age. I do think they recently updated it so Sprite is a girl in the comics as well. I didn’t really like this character. The actress is fine, but in the one Eternals comic I read years ago, I remember Sprite being much more complex. Sprite is stuck in the form of a twelve year old boy, but he’s over a million years old. He begins to have urges to be with someone or actually live a life. But nobody takes him seriously because he looks like a child. He has the power of casting illusions, so he can pretend to be something else, but it isn’t real for him. Which is really interesting. Due to this, Sprite is usually scheming against the Eternals so he can find a way to become human and age. This is kind of touched on in the movie, but not really. It’s hinted at, but they don’t go into it that deeply. But she was kind of funny and sassy. She was fine, they just introduced ten characters at once and couldn’t develop all of them equally. Oh, and one of the biggest problems I have with this movie is their explanation for not fighting Thanos. Who is technically an Eternal, by the way. They just say they weren’t supposed to interfere with human conflicts. Because the Celestial that made them told them. That’s all in the trailer, by the way. But they’re constantly interfering with the humans. But I still liked this! Just nitpicking.

Druig – Played By Barry Kheogan
Barry Kheogan was in Dunkirk, apparently. I don’t remember that movie well. But he’s pretty good in this. His accent irks me a bit, but that’s not his fault. He’s kind of like the Loki of the Eternals? He can control minds and usually uses it for his own good. Although in this, he’s portrayed as somewhat more altruistic. In the comics he is also a man in his fifties with a goatee, but in this he’s more like Tom Hiddleston.

Gilgamesh – Played By Ma Dong-Seok(AKA Don Lee)
Don Lee is also in an apparently amazing zombie movie called Train to Busan. I know very little about Gilgamesh in the comics, but Don Lee is excellent in this. He’s very funny and he has some fun interactions with Angelina Jolie. I really liked him and I wish he was in it more.

Kro – Played By Bill Skarsgard
I didn’t realize that they cast IT in this. They really buried it and I didn’t realize it was him until I looked at the IMDb. Kro is the leader of the Deviants. He’s fine. The design is better than I thought it would be.

Phastos – Played By Brian Tyree Henry
I recently binged all of Atlanta, which is an excellent TV show that I should have watched years ago. Bryan Tyree Henry plays a rapper in that show. He’s great in that and he’s great in this. In this Phastos has magical inventing powers. I haven’t read a comic with him in it, so the powers may or may not be the same? Phastos is significant though, because the internet wants to yell about the fact that he’s a gay man with a husband and child. Because that’s not okay. Intolerance! I like him a lot. He’s very funny, and I like his husband and child as well. And they actually show him kiss his husband! Which I didn’t expect, because Disney kind of sucks when it comes to representing other sexualities. But yes, a good character.

Makkari – Played By Lauren Ridloff
Makkari is one of my two favorite characters in this movie. I love a good speedster. The running effect is cool, the concept is great. The idea is that Makkari has gone deaf over the years(The actress is deaf in real life) from reaching sonic booms when running. And she communicates in sign language. Which is awesome! And she’s very bored and impatient and wants to go back to her home-world. She’s been on Earth for so long that she’s explored every corner of the Earth dozens of times. Which is again, awesome! But none of that is touched on in the movie and she’s barely in it. She was a character I was very excited to see, but I shouldn’t have to watch a YouTube video Marvel about the character to know the deeper motivations driving her. Also in the comics, Makkari isn’t deaf, and she’s a man. But I really liked her and wish she was in it more.

And, last but not least, the man that made me excited for this movie. Kumail Nanjiani is a great comedian that I love in everything. If you haven’t already, go check out Silicon Valley and The Big Sick right now. He’s a very funny and cool guy, and his career path is awesome and inspiring. And he’s very funny in this! I’ve never read a comic with Kingo in it, but I’m assuming he’s very different. In this he’s a very vain and funny man who has kind of made himself into a one-man Bollywood dynasty. Also he has an assistant or au pair who is very funny as well. He’s probably my favorite part of this, which I saw coming. I hope he’s in the MCU way more going forward. My one complaint is that he got incredibly ripped for this movie and he doesn’t have a single shirtless scene. Also he makes a throwaway comment about how him and Thor used to be friends, which I would love to see.

All in all, it’s a pretty good movie. It’s very much a normal superhero movie, but the characters save it for me. The costumes aren’t my favorite. I like some more than others, but they’re kind of generic. But it’s not bad. It’s been getting lots of bad reviews, but I don’t think it’s bad. I haven’t seen every superhero movie or TV show ever made(I’m insane enough as is) but I’ve seen a hell of a lot of them, and this one was better than a good amount of them. The worst one, by all accounts, is Howard the Duck, which I haven’t seen. The Eternals isn’t better than The Suicide Squad though, which is the best superhero movie this year, and very easily the best Suicide Squad movie. But the Eternals seems to have a lot to do with the future of the MCU, and I hope there’s a sequel. Go see it, if you suffered through this whole review.

Also if you’ve been reading all the crap I put up here, you may have noticed I release my Ruddtrospectives on Monday, but I thought this week I would release it on Friday so I can post this today. Also a new Paul Rudd TV show debuts on Friday, so it fits. And I have a very random post coming on Wednesday. Enjoy!

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

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