Once again, my special guest, daughter Tessa, joins me for a review of the new Marvel movie, Eternals which we saw over the weekend. The review scale is 1-5 (1 being the worst, 5 the best) Daves, or 1-5 Y’s, Y standing for “Yasssss!” Alright, let’s get into this thing. Spoilers? Nah. Here we go. Tessa, you are up first.
Eternals: 3.5 Y’s, 3.5 Daves
Tessa: Every phase of the MCU has a movie that’s just Not It, (cough cough Thor: Dark World) and I was expecting Eternals to be phase four’s bad movie. And was I wrong? Kinda. For the first two thirds of the movie I wasn’t really into it, but by the end it got really good. But the ending isn’t enough to save the rest of the movie. It moved way too fast, and I feel like there were many places they could’ve cleared things up, and they didn’t. Either they cut those scenes for time (the movie is already so long dude), or they never had them in the first place, which wouldn’t surprise me. There were way too many characters with weird names that were hard to keep track of and hard to spell. It would’ve been better if there were only five or so, especially since a lot of the side characters did nothing for the plot. The only character I really got attached to wasn’t even an Eternal (shout out to the guy with the camera, he was one of the best parts).
But onto the good parts, there were a lot of twists that I didn’t see coming which I really enjoyed, and the representation was immaculate. The amount of diversity across multiple fields was incredible, and I thoroughly appreciated it. At least half a point of my rating was just from the representation. But those two things don’t really make up for the many things I didn’t like. And the terrible reviews along with the fact that the movie is getting banned from theaters in multiple countries leads to bad box office ratings, and leads to a loss for Marvel. It didn’t really feel like a Marvel movie to me, it feels like a movie I’d find on Netflix, watch, and say “Well that was bad” and never watch it again. Spiderman: No Way Home has really gotta bring phase four back to what it was (although I know it will be amazing), because Eternals was just eh, and I’ve come to expect more than eh from the MCU.
Dave: Mostly same. Tess, do you feel like it would have been a better movie with a different structure? More of a linear approach, perhaps?
Tessa: Kind of. I see what they were trying to do with all the time jumps. They were trying to tell the main story and provide exposition through flashbacks throughout the story, which is a technique that pays off when it’s executed well, but here it wasn’t executed well. I think if they had put all the exposition at the beginning it would make the viewing experience easier, although it would ruin a couple twists, which were the main reason I started liking it at the end. Also if there had just been less flashbacks, there wouldn’t be as many complaints of it being too hard to follow. I know what they were trying to do, and if you think about it from that perspective it makes more sense, but it ultimately backfired and ended up just being confusing.
Dave: Agreed, but I do think there could have been a way to tell the story in a more linear fashion without ruining the twists. A flashback or two wouldn’t hurt, but you are right in saying that there are way too many of them.
I think I got into it a little bit earlier than you did, but I did spend the first hour not knowing what to think. My biggest problem is that the filmmakers didn’t take time to establish the characters before getting us into the story. I found it difficult to care for first part of the movie. It almost felt as if I was watching the second or third movie featuring the Eternals, not the first, and that I should have been up to speed already. It’s always difficult to turn out a movie with lesser known characters, and Marvel has done that extremely well in the past but they just missed the mark here.
Also, there were a handful of main characters that wound up doing essentially nothing, and were disappointing in their story arcs. But that’s probably more a matter of opinion and may be true to the original comics, but me being almost completely clueless about the source material I wouldn’t really know.
Tessa: Yeah, I feel that.
Dave: It’s not all bad news though, because the movie isn’t actually bad, it’s just not up to the standards we are used to. I did enjoy many of the literary and historical references in the movie, from the characters’ names to some of their appearances throughout the world over the years. I was intrigued by the scope of the story that was being told, just not the way they told it.
Also, there is a surprising amount of humor in this movie, I laughed out loud several times even before I was into the film. I agree that some interesting storylines were left unexplored, and I think that this could have been two really good movies, or a quality series on Disney+. But like a full series, not just 6 or 10 episodes.
Tessa: Yeah, I feel that too. I think you made a good point when you said that it’s not bad, it’s just not what we were expecting. On it’s own, it has potential. But compared to the masterpieces Marvel has churned out in the past, this isn’t as good of a movie. Maybe when they make a later appearance in the MCU, Marvel will turn the Eternals into all our favorite characters.
Dave: Right. Although the main story did wrap up, we were left with a somewhat open ending regarding what happens next and it looks like there could be some really cool stuff coming up! This might wind up being one of those movies that is appreciated more over time, and I wonder if it wouldn’t benefit from a second or third viewing. Just not in the theater. I’m also wondering if they shifted the tone a bit, like with Thor’s movies, if that wouldn’t help the characters become fan favorites too. I guess time will tell.
So, in closing, neither of us hated this movie but we didn’t love it either. We would suggest seeing it if you are a big fan of the MCU, but casual fans may not need to make this one a priority. We are hopeful though that the Eternals themselves will wind up being an essential and awesome part of the MCU in the future.
Thanks for reading everyone! Back to my usual solo nonsense next week on MonDAVEs!