Eternals, the latest film from the Marvel Universe, has received rave reviews, as well as critics who say it’s overkill but continues.
The cast includes Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kit Harington, Angelina Jolie, and Salma Hayek.
It is Chloé Zhao’s first major studio film, which won the Oscar for Best Director earlier this year for Nomadland.
The Guardian gave Eternals two stars, calling it “PowerPoint hit magic time”
Magazine critic Steve Rose said Zhao “made some great films in his own film and debut, but there are a lot of myths to explain.”
“It’s not always better”
The problem, he says, is that “there is a lot to be done: it leads to ‘running against another clock to stop bad things from happening'”.
He continued: “It’s not boring – there’s always something new to see – but it’s not as inspiring and self-assured from the best Marvel movies.”
The Eternals are part of the name of the 10 gods who gathered to protect Earth from “Perverts”.
In his review, Kevin Maher of The Times also singled out two stars, saying the film is a story about “a hero who watches the horn while looking for a good script.”
He wrote: “At the heart of this deterrence is the strange power of self-leave.”
Maher, however, said the film was trying to show a mix of different heroes on screen.
“Two steps ahead”
Eternals adds two great additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Brian Tyree plays Henry Phaistos, his first publicly gay hero; and Lauren Ridloff Makkari, the first deaf hero, who also changes gender through humor.
“Eternals are two steps ahead in terms of performance but three steps back for critical thinking,” Maher said.
Robbie Collin also gave him a two-star Telegraph, noting that Marvel tried to “break the line” but resulted in “unhappiness”.
“This new moving pole is a white elephant,” he wrote.
He found Zhao’s “empathy and poetry for landscapes,” which helped him win Best Picture for Nomadland this year at the Academy Awards, “almost inconceivable.”
He said, “I can hope that the 26th Marvel film can damage the reputation in his comfort zone.” “But the franchise is just a comfort zone, making new entries an instant elephant.”
The tradition has a bit more generosity, offering three stars. Writer Nicholas Barber still calls it “a show that will never be remembered in the end” and perhaps “the most frustrating MCU film [Marvel Cinematic Universe] ever.”
“Having a writer-director who specializes in film reduction, such as a journal for the demographic show, may not be the best option,” he said.
Empire also gave it three stars, with researcher John Nugent claiming that “gay and lesbian sex on screen” was a first for the MCU.
“But anyone honoring the ‘Marvel art house’ must first soften their expectations,” he warned.
“Director Chloé Zhao’s entry into the world of heroes is obvious, sought out and reported by a large number of celestial beings, but even this cannot escape the clichés of heroic mythology.”
Make the Most of Your Time
Despite its critics, Eternals “continues to appeal to all MCU supporters, from the casual to the rabid,” according to Screenrant’s Molly Freeman. He described the film as “very dramatic music, with dramatic effects that make life beautiful under Zhao’s direction.”
He said: “This is a Marvel movie the MCU hasn’t seen so far.”
Even the night flag, which had a four-star rating, had its greatest glory – with great trepidation. “All good casting, except,” wrote Charlotte O’Sullivan. “Chan is a small tree. As for the script, that’s all. But I hope Zhao doesn’t take it.”
Running for more than two and a half hours, Eternals is a long film, says O’Sullivan, but not without good reason.
“Did it take a long time to finish? Not at all. With such a character and a solid mind, Zhao can take his time.”
Eternals in cinemas from November 5.