This film may be a pleasant surprise for adults and bore anyone 16 years of age or younger.
As noted, I expected very little from this Marvel film based on some rather confusing previews. However, the movie has some emotional force as it explores how humanity has advanced despite its tragic weaknesses.
Directed by Chloé Zhao, who won an Oscar last year for “Nomadland“, the Eternals are a superpowered group sent to Earth thousands of years ago to save humans from the ‘Deviants’,an ancient enemy that betrayed the reasons they also were sent to our planet. Our heroes were forbidden to interfere with humans no matter how vicious they acted. More on that in a moment.
The movie jumps back and forth from the present to Mesopotamia 5,000 years ago, and that is not its strength. You watch the Eternals eliminate the destructive Deviants and then blend into countries on various continents.
There are multiple actors playing the Eternals, but Gemma Chan (Sersi), Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo), Lia McHugh (Sprite), Lauren Ridloff (Makkari), Barry Keoghan (Durig) and Madong-Seok (Gilgamesh) save this film from its length of 2 hours, 37 minutes. You watch them, some who die, battle the powerful Deviants as they are forced to come to terms with the future of Earth and its human occupants.
What elevated this movie to an unanticipated level was its subtle view of the ugly history of the human race. While we as a people were allegedly advancing over time, you watch Keoghan’s Druig betray instructions as he interfered in the Spanish attempt to destroy Aztecs in 1521 AD.
I found the underlying story of this film quite intriguing. I wondered what the Eternals would do if they were watching German Nazis kill 7 million Jews in the 20th Century, or the human destruction taking place on our planet to this very day. Have we humans learned anything?
Yet one of the great features of this film was its sense of humor. Mr. Nanjiani will leave you repeatedly laughing as the Eternals stand-up comic. In particular, watch his hysterical relationship with Karun, played by the widely funny Harish Patel, who is hired to film his misadventures in and out of the battle.
Let me close by noting that Angelina Jolie is an Eternal sword fighter that is forgettable at nearly every turn. I was hoping that she would be forced to confront Brad Pitt, but it never happened.
See this movie anyway.