Eternals (2021) — This one might put you to sleep

“We have loved these people since the day we arrived. When you love something, you protect it.”

Tom’s rating: Three eternities later, the movie ends and promises three more eternities in the future.

Tom’s review: Eternals is a two-and-a-half-hour long introduction to the OG superhero team that everyone knew about, but no one knew about — and in turn, a superhero team who knew about everyone, but didn’t know anyone.

That’s right, the Eternals have been on Earth since 5,000 BC and handed man his first knife and plowshare under the names of Sersi, Ikaris, Phastos, Kingo, Sprite, Makkari, Druig, Thena, and Ajak. If some of those names sound familiar it’s because Sprite was a master story teller who used to tell tales of gods to the common folk… and that’s mythology for ya!

You see, the Eternals sole purpose is to fight the Deviants, being locked in eternal battle on each planet and keeping the population perfectly in check through causalities of war. The thing is, the Eternals were just a bit too good at their job and defeated all the Deviants, so then they just had to chill for 7,000 years and keep undercover. They watched the world grow and advanced technology at what they felt was the right rate. They also watched other superheroes take the limelight and fight off Thanos and big baddies of the world without interfering. All this was explained in good detail, and the end result was that the watcher would think, “Oh, ok, uh, well I believe that then. Nice explanation. Cool.”

The feeling I get when I poked around social media is pretty split and polarized when it comes to this Marvel blockbuster. The fortunate thing for those who liked it is, there’s more Eternals on the way! As for the other half, well, hopefully the second one will be better than the first?

To be honest, this movie felt like it really should have instead been an episodic show with a couple of seasons. The main reason I feel this way is because there are so many breaks from the action with a lot of individualized character introduction and backstory for most of the seven of the Eternals. That’s perfect for a series! In fact, you could have given introduction and backstory for ALL of the Eternals this way.

Unfortunately for me and my wife, this roller coaster ride of high highs and low lows caused us to doze off in the movie a couple times during the low lows, and it ended up taking three days to work through it, rewinding, forwarding, rewinding, pausing, restarting. So if you trust a review from a guy who fell asleep a couple times during a movie and took three days to see it, read on!

Here’s the good stuff about Eternals: It’s an absolutely beautiful mix of great cinematography and CGI with a dazzling “golden thread” aesthetic to several of the Eternal’s powers, suits, and weaponry. The backstory for how larger-than-planet sized celestials create the universe and keep it in balance is really interesting. The diversity in the cast is fun and really enjoyable to see how they all interact with each other. The core lesson that love in all its forms is the most overpowering force in the universe, greater than the gods itself, is intriguing. Ikaris is basically Marvel’s Superman, and it feels like they do a better job at tempering an overpowered character than DC does! There’s a lot to like here.

Then there’s the bad stuff about Eternals. When it’s boring, it’s really boring. When jokes miss, they really miss. When things don’t make sense, they really don’t make sense. Flashbacks happen far too often with never enough set up to make them hit as powerfully as they were intended. While the intriguing parts of the movie will leave you with pleasant dreams, the bad parts of the movie will leave you never wanting to watch it again.

I really hope the plot holes left by this Eternals are filled in by the next one (which it promised at the end of the second credits teaser) and creates a situation where a second movie in a series is actually better than the first. Here’s to hoping because I’m rooting for this sequel to do well! I liked Eternal’s shiny skin, and the good features of the movie were really inspiring. But ultimately it just failed like a basketball team that makes it to the playoffs, but never wins (looking at you Utah Jazz).

So, all in all, Eternals is give and take. Where Kumail Nanjiani and Harish Patel’s characters were inspiring and fun to watch, Barry Keoghan’s portrayal of Druig was stilted, possibly on purpose? I was not drawn to this character at all — and let’s not even talk about the controversial character, Sprite!

Ok, let’s talk about Sprite. First of all, trying to express the feelings of love with a pre-pubescent 7,000 year old being is just begging for controversy, and it felt like the writers went to great lengths to avoid said controversy, which made it even more awkward . . . coupled with the awkward unlikableness of the character herself (I don’t want to say it was all bad acting from Lia McHugh because it wasn’t). Then there’s the too-on-the-nose character conclusion of Sprite becoming a real human ala Pinocchio. Of course, now she’s lost her powers and can die, so… I don’t know, that character just seemed problematic from the get-go.

I hear there was a deleted scene involving Sprite that would have made a world of difference if they included it, but do you really want to drag this on? It’s like you should have just, again, made this into a TV series. Of course, for a TV series, Eternals would have been WAY over budget with those effects, so we get what we get. A beautiful disaster.

Didja notice?

  • Don’t skip the credits. There are two “Ferris Beullers Follow-ons” for you to enjoy.
  • Eros is Thanos’s brother?! Whatttt???? I’m so confused!
  • Deviants are so cool looking! Why am I reminded of Thorn Wolves from Guild Wars?

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