The latest Marvel superhero film covers more than 7,000 years of history and, if that wasn’t a big enough feat, introduces 10 different new personalities, including characters played by A-listers. Angelina Jolie And Salma Hayek — Courtesy of the Oscar-winning director for the mega-popular film franchise chloe zhao (“Nomadic”). An impressively ambitious and often beautiful film, “Eternal” (★★½ out of four; PG-13 rating; in theaters November 5) is antithetical in many ways—marvel movie: It only occasionally references the ultra-connected MCU, forcing itself into the grand scheme in favor of building mythology. Unfortunately, the extremely serious narrative struggles to connect its many sub-plots and tries to do too much in its two hours and 37 minutes.
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The Eternal Immortals are superpowered beings sent to Earth – specifically Mesopotamia, around 5000 BCE – by the cosmic celestials to protect humans from dangerous alien demons called goddesses. And similar to the Avengers, they are a complementary supergroup: healing leader Ajak (Hayek), matter-manipulating Cersei (Gemma Chan), illusionist sprite (Lia McHugh), inventor Fastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and mind-controlling drug (Barry). ) Keoghan) is the thinker, while the eye-popping Icaris (Richard Madden), the energy-shooting Kingo (kumail nanjiani), ultra-speedy Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), weapon master Thena (Jolie) and super-strong Gilgamesh (Don Lee) are warriors.
But the family went their separate ways after wiping out all the gods and goddesses over several millennia, and in the present day, the film catches up with Cersei in London, where she and her roommate sprite themselves as humans in society. passes it. Cersei is out with her boyfriend, museum coworker Dan Whitman (Kit Harrington), when a goddess attacks them and Icaris (aka Cersei’s ex) comes to save the day.
The reappearance of the creature, more fragrant than before, leads Cersei, Sprite, and Icaris on a mission to “bring the band back together”, first tracking down Ajak in South Dakota and then finding the others: Kingo, for example, is a famous Bollywood star and GilgameshWorking with Thena on PTSD as a result of the war era. But as they reconnect, the old dysfunction returns, the truth is revealed and differences arise about their role on Earth, past and present.
Harnessing Zhao’s penchant for the natural environment, “Eternal” looks unlike any other Marvel movie and is probably the most welcome addition to MCU neophytes of all time. There are as many references to Superman (yes, the rival DC hero) as there are to Thor, and it helps to cast 10 ridiculously attractive people as characters.Even comic-book fans are fuzzy.
It’s a small miracle that each Eternal gets its moment: film-stealing Nanjiani’s great whenever fame-obsessed Kingo gets a chance to shine; Cersei torn between Ikaris and Dane is the epitome of what the film tries to say about humanity; And the Thena/Gilgamesh dynamic is fascinating too. (Jolie gets one of her best action roles in years here.)
But when you juggle between plethora of characters, various twists and turns, a murder mystery, and present day and ancient history, “Eternal” becomes a head-spinning, multi-car pileup. Stuff. An interesting topic such as the moral puzzle of the greater good is merely touched upon rather than satisfactorily explored. Zhao contains a lot of Marvel firsts and important diversity elements – a sexual encounter (albeit PG-rated), the inclusion of a deaf superhero as a deaf superhero, a gay family being an important part of Fastos’ story – yet each only Gets so much screen time, the story moves on.
Zhao understands the larger assignment, as the epic sets the stage for future MCU intrigue. Her attention to detail and eye for design works wonders, even if by the end it all seems like an eternal work.