I feel like that’s a good headline to maybe get some more eyes on this blog.
My son and I went to see Eternals on Saturday afternoon. The theater wasn’t packed, but it was as close as our town gets to packed. A good group of people too. Some fellow geeks, some couples, some groups of friends, some families. As much of a cross section of the community as Eternals is of the world. I’ve been debating how I felt about the movie since watching this past weekend.
Shang Chi is so far the best Marvel movie of the year. I’ll check that list again once Spider-Man: No Way Home comes out. Eternals has so much. A huge cast, a long back story, a new villain, no close connection to previous existing Marvel movies. All of this is a big uphill battle for a new franchise.
The movie is a lot of fun with all the trademarks we’ve come to love from Marvel. Lots of action, character connections, sacrifice, and humor. In addition to this being the first appearance of the Eternals, there are so many other firsts here as well. First openly gay hero. First deaf hero. All as part of the most diverse group of heroes we’ve seen. It’s not mentioned in the movie if Eternals can or ever have had children with humans but it would make sense that all of our diversity can be traced back thousands of years to the Eternals arrival.
I was upset when (no spoilers) bad things happened, which means the movie made me care about these characters right away. Some of their motives upset me, some gave me hope, and I never saw one of the twists coming. I was looking in the right direction, but still got swerved.
As good as it was, I found it to be too much in one movie. Introducing all of the characters, and the enemy, and the larger threat, and a mystery, and a swerve. It’s too big of a movie and too famous a cast to be on Disney Plus. But making this two movies and/or six hours would have gone a long way.
That said, “a long way” is also how I’m viewing this movie. We have a long way to go to understand why Eternals matters and why the movie is happening now. Which is why I compared it to Age of Ultron. Ultron has always been seen as the least of the Avengers movies. Right above Thor: The Dark World, but only slightly. I felt the same when I first watched the movie. It’s good. There’s a lot I liked, but ultimately the other movies are better. Then in the last week my son wanted to watch Ultron and I haven’t sat through the whole movie in years so I joined him. Now that we have seen Infinity War, Endgame, WandaVision and so much more – Age of Ultron is a great movie. When it first came out we’re introduced to Wanda, Pietro, Ultron, and Vision. We see Thor and Iron Man with visions of oncoming death and destruction. Too much for one movie and characters that weren’t completely fleshed out. Now that we can take everything that has come sense and retroactively apply it to Age of Ultron, it’s a much better movie. The characters are all still true and it’s almost as if Marvel had a plan from the beginning and knew what they were doing with some of the characters.
Eternals is an early chapter in a longer story. A chapter that is well done, but doesn’t make any sense yet. Keep reading. Keep watching. I think this is a huge set up film that in the years to come we will look back on with respect.