The latest MCU extravaganza may be off the beaten path for its extensive fanbase, but ultimately doesn’t deviate from the superhero formula very much at all. Maybe it’s like poetry in slow-motion that has the occasional feel of a cover shoot.
Eternals comes from Chinese director Chloe Zhao who’s up to the challenge of big-budgeted, large-scale fare. Even if a convoluted narrative and genre trappings can get the better of her (dialogue and editing aren’t always up to par) in what traverses many time frames.
The standalone opener feature the eponymous ten everlasting protectors who co-exist with humans and chafing skin mammoth lizards known as Deviants. Like anther well-known mostly special power reassembling group they’ll come together after an onset that will test more than their mettle with equally and inclusivity among them in strong supply.
The subtext of such world-building requires stops during many millennia for putting the present in perspective. Pallor can dominate some of the more intense action scenes while an autumnal aura manifest streamers of a once garnet bus in London.
The personalities shaded in here with a type of far-flung altruism may be too numerous to help ignite a truly desirable emotional payoff as lovely as those warrior outfits are. But what gradually transpires can (in spite of inherent limitations) can be occasionally transporting.
There’s Gamma Chan’s Sersi and Richard Madden’s Ikarus who’ve been in and out of a relationship; Lia McHugh’s Sprite having that Peter Pan look about her, as well as Angelina Jolie’s balletic, if troubled Thena (maybe akin in a way to the Laura Croft). Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos puts his visionary mind on atmospheric display, while Kumail Nanjiani offers a welcoming wisecracker in Kingo, who has developed quite a reputation as a Bollywood icon.
In a sense the means by which Zhao (who earned much renown for her Nomadland starring Frances McDormand that had a mesmerizing rumination about it) tries to ring feeling to the comic-book moves might leave many pretentiously excluded. It might be stolid more rune-like than riveting by the foreboding and whimsical.
Yes, some of the actors are more sidelined than many may expect like Jolie, even the maternal presider in Salma Hayek. Madden, and especially Chan’s sensitively drawn Sersi works better in the structure the filmmaking beings to thrive in. For its authenticity to speak to so many even with striking artistic flourishes Eternals poses well below immortality.