“Eternals” review: Marvel superhero movie comes out great, but ultimately empty – National

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There is a lot to do in eternal.

The main group of superheroes in the film, the Eternals themselves, includes 10 people. We travel from ancient Babylon in the 6th century BC to Hiroshima in 1945 to the present day, and this doesn’t even include intermediate stops, which are numerous. There are so many tendrils and threads intertwined over time, it’s a wonder that Oscar-winning director and writer Chloe Zhao (Nomadic land) could keep everything straight. It is also a difficult task for the viewer.

Trying to summarize the story in a nutshell is nearly impossible, but here it is: the Eternals, led by Ajak (Salma Hayek), were sent to Earth thousands of years ago – even before human civilization as we know it began – to protect life. human from deviants, a strong monster-beast type creature, and ensure their survival over time.

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Sersi (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Gilgamesh (Don Lee) and Thena (Angelina Jolie) completes the team. Kit Harington plays Dane Whitman, a love interest of Sersi. It’s a huge cast, of course.

Who is the most interesting to watch out of all these superheroes?

Of all, Sersi and Ikaris get the most of the time as they grapple with their thousands of years long relationship. They also clash over humanity and the worth of our species: do we, as a collective, deserve to survive? It’s one of the many questions asked in the film, and when thrown into the fray with all the complexity, it gets the same superficial answer.

Each of the superheroes has their own storyline and, again, most are overlooked due to the large number of characters. There is a tone of exposure simply because there isn’t enough time to show individual stories – ironic, considering the title of the film.

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And the others?

The other superheroes are certainly different, which is a nice change from the (usually) mostly straight white teams we’ve seen in the past. It is probably the most refreshing element of the film. Henry plays a black gay superhero, something completely unheard of in superhero movies so far. Even though it’s 2021, audience giggles at my particular screening whenever she was on screen with her husband means we still have a long way to go. Including characters like this, or the deaf superhero Makkari, is really the only way forward.

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Nanjiani is easily the funniest character, bringing much-needed lightness and humor to the proceedings, which are otherwise like a gray and solemn procession. Jolie as Thena has to be the weirdest casting, as she floats through the film without doing or saying much, but somehow she is given a major role towards the end. It’s hard to connect with most of the characters, so when an emotional scene unfolds, they haven’t really gained our compassion or empathy. It is as if we had to “get to know” these superheroes right away.

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What do you mean by “gray, solemn procession”?

eternal, at times, it feels like a textbook version of a superhero story. We constantly jump between times and civilizations, between the backstories and the struggles of 10 different characters, and it’s so scattered with a thousand explanations of why things are the way they are, it’s almost like working to keep everything straight.

(game of Thrones fans, however, will experience a thrill when Madden and Harington interact in a scene. When they say “Sersi” it sounds exactly like Cersei.)

Despite the various geographic locations, it still feels somehow bland, with many scenes taking place on an anonymous coast or a large, featureless field. The fight scenes, for the most part, are engaging and fun to watch, but for my dollar, too scarce. This movie needs a lot more action and a lot less dialogue, but then how will the dense plot unfold? It is an enigma.

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So what’s the bottom line?

Timekeeping at 2.5 hours, eternal is an exhibition-packed superhero film, and while it pushes forward in terms of diversity in the Marvel universe, it’s arguably one of the more boring superhero films of the recent past. With too many characters and too many stories to tell, it’s hard to pay proper attention to all of this.

‘Eternals’ is now airing in theaters across Canada. Please check your local listings for details.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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