dir: Chloé Zhao
Strange days have found us…
Marvel is so confident in its marketing abilities that the masses will consume anything that says ‘Marvel’ on it, that they’re making movies out of the unloved, unwanted, unsuccessful parts of their back catalogue deliberately now. No-one’s been able to make the Eternals work as an ongoing series, and it’s hard to imagine that anyone was really clamoring for them to appear in cinematic form.
Ironically, this feels the least like a Marvel flick, despite being extruded ultimately into such a familiar final form.
We know nothing of these beings, of their characters beforehand, but we’ll be too familiar with them when two and a half hours have elapsed. When some of them ‘die’, we might feel nothing, not even mild surprise.
The ‘trick’ earlier Marvel flicks pulled was having a character, oh, let’s say one played by a very tall blonde Australian, which is a character known of outside of comic books but also within comic books, being Thor, a hammer wielding jerk with a murderous trickster for a brother, being Loki.
The conceit is that, sure, on this Earth we know of the Norse myth of the very strong, very dumb son of Odin who wields a hammer called Mjolnir and gets drunk a lot, but in the ‘reality’ of these movies, the myth springs from the reality, which is that there’s actually a guy called Thor, and he has a hammer, and lives in another realm called Asgard, and they’re so advanced they’re kinda like gods?
Well, if you can swallow that claptrap, let me introduce you to a bunch of other superbeings who also sounds familiarish because their names appear in a bunch of disparate Earth mythologies.
I can’t bring myself to even type their names, because it feels so generic. The important thing to say is that, there’s ten of them, and they came to Earth on a spaceship thousands of years ago, and they’ve protected humans from these monstrous creatures called Deviants. Whenever these creatures appeared, the Eternals destroyed them using their powers, and then they’d sit around for ages waiting for the next attack.
In between attacks, human civilisations generally flourished, populations grew, but the Eternals weren’t getting involved any of the other times when bad stuff happened, nor were they meant to protect humans from their own stupidity.
These Eternals mostly have analogs in old stories, because, we’re meant to think, they would occasionally get bored and tell people, or want to speak to someone’s manager, and bellow “do you know who I am and what I’ve done for your wretched species?”