It’s Okay To Admit That You Liked ‘Eternals’
You like what you like. It's cool.
Eternals 2 is on the way, whether you like it or not. Last August, Patton Oswalt announced on The Today Show that Chloé Zhao will be returning to direct the sequel to 2021’s Eternals, and more recently, producer Nate Moore confirmed that the Eternals are returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to Moore, “I don’t want to spoil anything, but we have not seen the last of those characters.”
At the news, a small handful of brave Marvel fans took a stand on Twitter to announce that, in their opinion, Eternals is a good movie.
You know what? Good for them! Now that it’s been about a year since I saw Eternals, I’m also ready to admit that it has some good parts.
Here are some good things about Eternals
Yes, we’ve all heard the criticism of Eternals: It’s too long, too slow, with too many characters. Art is subjective, but the film’s length, pace, and number of characters are objective facts. But people respond differently to different things!
Take Druig’s segment of the movie, for example—you know, where they’re in Peru and they find out Druig’s controlling a whole village with his mind and then, surprise!, a Deviant drops in? That sequence went on so long that I tuned out multiple times. Each time I came to, I was a little startled to find out that we were still in Druig’s compound.
But maybe you liked that sequence! And that’s great. You like what you like!
And then there’s the whole existence of the Deviants in the first place. So the Eternals are androids who are billions of years old, and their only purpose in life is to fight one specific kind of monster in hand-to-hand combat? Why not put some lasers on the Domo and zap the Deviants from space? Why doesn’t Arishem just reach down and flick the Deviants into a black hole? It doesn’t make sense. The Deviants are boring, and it seems like the Eternals have a lot of wasted potential.
But maybe you liked all that stuff! And that’s fine!
Okay, okay, all snark aside, here are some things that I’m grudgingly willing to admit were actually good about Eternals:
Sersi. Gemma Chan is amazing, and Sersi is such a deeply likable protagonist that I could watch her in a thousand Marvel films. She’d better have a major part to play in Avengers 5 and 6.
Gilgamesh. Speaking of likable Eternals, who doesn’t love Gilgamesh (Ma Dong-seok)? The part where his pie slides out of the skillet onto the ground, and then he crumples the skillet? The part where Sprite dresses him as a giant baby? Classic.
Arishem’s character design. Remember that moment when people can see Arishem from the surface of the Earth because he’s so unbelievably massive? That’s pretty cool.
The diversity representation. Multiple disabled superheroes and a queer romance? Yeah, okay, that’s actually awesome.
The cosmic scope. Even though the action mainly takes place on Earth, the scope of Eternals is actually mind-meltingly vast, what with Celestials creating the entire universe and the Eternals having lived countless previous lives. The first movie doesn’t live up to the potential of its premise, but that premise could still be explored in future films.
Because, after all, the quality of the first film in a franchise has absolutely no bearing on the quality of its sequels.
There’s no reason Eternals 2 couldn’t be amazing
I’m a huge Thor fan, but the first two Thor movies bored me to tears. Then Taika Waititi turned the franchise around with Thor: Ragnarok, proving that the seeds of an amazing story were in the Thor series all along. Even though the first two films never quite equaled the sum of their parts, Ragnarok and Love and Thunder were finally able to really leverage all the talent of the cast and crew.
The lesson we can learn from Thor is that the quality of Eternals has no bearing on the potential for Eternals 2, or the Eternals’ inevitable cameos and team-ups in other Marvel projects. Keep an open mind, because Zhao could still turn this franchise around.
And if you liked Eternals—I’m happy for you! I’m proud of you for standing up for what you believe in, even though I’m still not sure you and I saw the same movie.
(featured image: Marvel Entertainment)
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