Despite its narrative shortcomings, Marvel’s “Eternals” is a great film that showcases a diverse star-studded cast, breathtaking visuals and a story that spans the history of humanity.
Directed by Chloé Zhao, the film follows the titular team of alien superheroes who are tasked with protecting humans from a species known as the Deviants. Led by Ajak, played by Salma Hayek, the team is ordered to not intervene with human affairs unless Deviants are directly involved, hence their absence from previous Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
The latest MCU installment has its fair share of plot holes, mostly related to the team’s absence. However, one of the best things about “Eternals” is its ensemble cast. A-list actors like Hayek and Angelina Jolie (Thena) round out a roster of young powerhouse actors that are welcomed additions to the MCU roster.
Fans of the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” will be thrilled to see Richard Madden and Kit Harington share the screen for the first time since their characters parted ways early in season one of the show which aired 10 years ago.
The two actors share a great moment at the start of the movie that is undoubtedly a nod to fans of the “Game of Thrones” series, and ultimately the two have an interesting dynamic throughout the movie.
Harington appears briefly in the film, but it’s great to see him play a more charming character as opposed to the more serious roles he’s played in the past. Madden, however, is one of the stars of the film and is the MCU’s analog for Superman with his flight, laser-beam eyes and super-strength abilities.
There’s even a great joke in the movie that directly namedrops the famous DC superhero. His charm and good looks make him the ideal actor for the role.
Leading the amazing cast is Gemma Chan (Sersi), who sets out to put the crew back together after the Deviants return. Her performance in this film establishes her as a movie star, giving her character most of the emotional moments which she hits out of the park.
Everyone in this main cast of characters delivers memorable performances and it’s a disservice to exclude any of them.
Lauren Ridloff (Makkari) has one of the standout performances as the MCU’s first deaf superhero. She is an actor who always makes the projects that she’s involved in so much better due to her presence and conveys so much emotion with her use of sign language.
As a deaf actor, her presence on the big screen is important in many ways; allowing children and even adults who are also deaf to find characters who represent them without presenting deafness as a disability. She is easily one of the strongest characters who will undoubtedly be one of the fan-favorites given her amazing performance.
Brian Tyree Henry’s performance as Phastos is also quite memorable. As the team’s tech guy, his role is crucial. He has some of the most emotional and hilarious moments in the film.
Henry’s role is also important for representation as the MCU’s first openly gay character.
Providing comedy, Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo) looks amazing after going through a physical transformation for his role in this film. While sort of acting as the comedic relief, however, his presence is rivaled by Indian actor Harish Patel who plays his assistant named Karun.
Patel has some scene-stealing moments where he delivers side-splitting lines in one scene and makes the audience cry in the next.
Barry Keoghan’s brooding portrayal of Druig is perfect for the character, whose empathy for the plight of humans is tested on numerous occasions. His relationship with his family is by far one of the more interesting story points.
Young actress Lia McHugh (Sprite) plays what is perhaps the most unique character. Stuck in the body of a young girl, she’s hundreds of years old and the movie does a great job at fleshing out her character— inspired by “Peter Pan” — until the end of the movie when her motivations don’t exactly seem to line up with her character.
Aside from the cast, the movie has amazing cinematography, which paints beautiful portraits with the usage of natural light and shooting on location.
Zhao is the first Asian woman to be nominated for best director at the Oscars and ultimately won the award for her 2020 film “Nomadland.”
In a departure from the previous Marvel affair, which used a lot of blue and green screens for backdrops, Zhao utilized the beauty of nature instead of computer-generated images. Hopefully, this sets the status quo for these films going forward because they look so much better.
With a runtime of about two and a half hours, “Eternals” has great pacing and never drags. The movie features both a mid- and post-credit scene, so be sure to stay tuned after the credits roll.