The new highly anticipated release, Eternals, hit the box office this month producing a new saga of superhero stories. The movie takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame where we are introduced to a new group of heroes put on this earth with a simple goal: to liberate the humans from “deviants.”
These beastly creatures were originally put on earth to defeat any natural apex predators but became apex predators themselves. The Eternals were then sent to earth over 7000 years ago to defend humans from their wrath to save the humans from extinction.
The film is written and directed by Chloé Zhao, alongside co-writers Patrick Burleigh and Ryan Firpoand, and is complemented by a loaded cast. The Eternals are made up of Gemma Chan (Sersi), Richard Madden (Ikaris), Angelina Jolie (Thena), Salma Hayek (Ajak), Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo), Ma Dong-Seok (Gilgamesh), Lia McHugh (Sprite), Lauren Ridloff (Makkari), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos), and Barry Keoghan (Druig). The film also includes Kit Harrington (Dane) and Harry Styles (Eros). Styles doesn’t come in until the after the credits have finished and hints at what’s going to be the second part in this saga.
How the film progresses gives the viewer a full scope as to who the Eternals are, their relationships with one another, and what abilities they possess. There is a full backstory, dating back to around 5,000BC where we get to see how the Eternals arrived on Earth, and through these flashbacks, we get a full scope of the deviant and Eternal rivalry.
Zhao does a fantastic job at progressing the plot by using the past to show how the deviants have evolved. This not only keeps the viewer enticed but also indulges them in the saga by having a full understanding of the group’s background. We also get introduced to Arisham, a celestial, who sent the Eternals on their mission. These early story pieces are key to leading the viewers to believe and follow a story in which is later revealed to be fabricated. The story of the Eternals is just as strong as the heroes themselves which advance the movie tremendously. There is a twist shaping the second half of the movie, and multiple characters who were corrupted ultimately end up changing the group for good.
Although the film is a superhero movie it touches on a multitude of themes mostly based around evolution and how technology influences it. Through the flashbacks we see how the Eternals were present and made an impact at some of the biggest moments in history. We see how they made a wall in Mesopotamia to keep the deviants out, and how Phastos ended up helping humanity create nuclear coding during World War II leading to the atomic bomb.
The Eternals weren’t put on earth to develop humanity but instead to make sure that they can progress naturally. This leads to a unique relationship between them and humans as they need to let humans fight and kill so that they can develop naturally and make discoveries on their own.
They touch upon the flaws in humans and how without flaws they couldn’t develop as we did. This is unlike most movies because they do not live in a completely different universe but are living normal lives. This makes the heroes relatable and fun to watch. These heroes also have a lot of flaws themselves. Individually, although stronger than a human, they are not stronger than a deviant.
Almost every character is personable and has individual issues. Thena has “mind weary” and loses control of herself because of her surplus of memories, Makkari falls in love with the earth, and Sprite is stuck as a young girl who will never grow up. These imperfections not only allow for the audience to be empathetic with the protagonists, but also makes the idea of them being a superhero more realistic. The mix of true history, and modern problems mixed with ideas of evolution and how technology progresses human makes for a really interesting start to the saga.
This was a robust start to a saga of movies. The film does an incredible job at giving a full backstory of the film encompassing the viewer almost immediately. The storyline is enticing and develops very well keeping the viewer engaged throughout the entire two and a half hours. The new set of characters are personable and eccentric and is led by a great cast. This should be a successful series of movies and you even get a look into the next film if you stay for the end of the credits.