Marvel’s Weirdest Movie Explores Spiritual Themes


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FILM REVIEW: ‘The Eternals’

  • Director: Chloe Zhao
  • To throw: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Don Lee, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Barry Keoghan, Lauren Midloff, Kit Harrington
  • Kind: Fantastic action
  • The language of the country: United States / English
  • Duration: 2 h 37 min
  • Release date: November 5, 2021

“Honestly, the closest I can think of [Marvel movies], as well done as they are, are theme parks. This is not the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional and psychological experiences to another human being. And that’s what Martin Scorcese, the man behind “Hugo”, “Shutter Island” and “Casino” says.

We can finally appease this gentleman with Marvel’s last offer: ‘Eternals’, which was directed by the most awarded filmmaker in a single season of films, Chloe Zhao. Zhao, an independent filmmaker known for her keen visual eye, received critical acclaim last year for “Nomadland”. It is becoming increasingly clear that Marvel is increasingly approaching directors with their background in independent filmmaking to provide a lot of “credibility” to their mainstream action films in order to have a better shot at film festivals. and film awards. This is why Destin Daniel Cretton signed up this year for “Shang Chi” and Cate Shortland for “Black Widow”.

To some extent, we see Zhao’s signature style in “Eternals” with the landscape shots of the vast desert lands in the American scenes. What we also get are “human beings trying to convey emotional and psychological experiences to another human being”.

‘Eternals’ follows a group of immortal beings led by Salma Hayek’s Ajak, who have lived on earth since the beginning of civilization in order to protect the peoples of Earth from the mysterious otherworldly creatures known as the Deviants. Why the Deviants are here is not clear to them. And although the Deviants have now disappeared from the face of the planet, the Eternals remain among humans, anonymously, awaiting an official call from their creator Arishem to return to their home planet of Olympia. Sersi (played by Gemma Chan who also appeared briefly in “Captain Marvel”) is the somewhat main protagonist of the story.

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She is an eternal who can manipulate and transform matter through physical contact. Other members of the Eternal include Ikaris, who can fly and shoot laser beams from his eyes, is tried out by Richard Madden (“Bodyguard”). Lia McHugh plays Sprite, a pixie-like immortal who can create lifelike illusions and move from place to place.

Kumail Nanjiani (‘The Big Sick’) is Kingo, who can project cosmic energy from his hands. Brian Tyree Henry (‘Atlanta’) is Phastos, a brilliant engineer who can control metals and weapons. Salma Hayek (‘Frida’) is Ajak, the leader and ‘mother figure’ of the Eternals who can heal wounds quickly and has the key to communicating with their alpha and omega creator, Arishem.

The adorable Barry Keoghan (‘Dunkirk’) is Druig, who can manipulate spirits. Lauren Midloff plays the fiery Makkari, who can travel at lightning speed. Don Lee (“Train To Busan”) is Gilgamesh, who can harness cosmic energy. And finally, Angelina Jolie plays Thena, a veteran warrior with a knack for swords, completing this set of Eternals.

‘Eternals’ is an epic with a massive main cast. Most viewers, used to watching stories with a small cast, will find it difficult to keep track of all the characters. However, with some effort, it will pay off quite a bit to keep track of these superheroes. Viewers passionate about history and ancient civilizations will be riveted to breathtaking flashback scenes as our Eternal Characters fight and make love in Mesopotamia, Guptan, India, and Tenochtitlan.

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The comedic scenes are hilarious and are some of the best parts of this movie. Brian Tyree Henry’s scene with Phastos at his home in the United States is heartbreaking. Kumail Nanjiani, Don Lee, and Harish Patel (who plays Kingo’s valet, Karun) are the most hilarious and endearing part of this mostly serious and intense film.

The dialogue that weaves between these actors does wonders to keep viewers engaged, especially Nanjiani whose slaughter of a monstrous Deviant is officiated by the projection of cosmic energy from his hands as he mumbles “Dishoom”. It’s a word that has never been heard in a Western superhero movie (as far as I know) and yet it feels so right to be uttered at that point.

There are times, however, when it feels like the South Asian accents of Harish Patel and, to some extent, Nanjiani are heavily pressed for comedic relief when it shouldn’t be. There’s also Marvel’s not-so-subtle choice of wooing the vast Indian audience with the wedding scene (which is admittedly done very tastefully), and when Karun folds his hands and speaks Hindi almost straight to the camera, which a little hopeless and unnecessary. If the same scene had been presented from a more objective angle, it would have worked better.

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There’s also the rather lackluster chemistry issue between Richard Madden’s Ikaris and Gemma Chan’s Sersi who are easily overshadowed by the hilarious turns of the aforementioned actors. Chan and Madden are a photogenic couple, but their toxic hot-and-cold dynamic is far from a new concept in the movies. Also, we can admit that we expected more from the ethereal-looking Angeline Jolie who, unfortunately, feels lost here. She spends most of the film being ill over a curious Maad We’ry case, but she has enough star power (although she is mostly silent) to still have an impact in the few scenes she does. ‘she has.

Angelina Jolie as Immortal Thena in “Eternals”

There is also an interesting spiritual side to this plot with some parallels to the Bible. The main figure of the deity, or even the antagonist in ‘Eternals’ is the mighty Arishem who, just like the biblical (or Abrahamic) god, looks at the state of mankind and wants to abruptly end the world and start over again. life. again (like the story of Noah’s Ark).

Arishem is the MCU counterpart of such an Old Testament figure, the Almighty God (and he’s designed to look quite intimidating, physically towering over Ajak and Sersi) with a voice so deep you wonder whether Arishem is even a god or is he the devil. The Eternals are the MCU equivalent of the Angels of God. And the Deviants are the demons (or “fallen angels”) that Arishem had created long before the Eternals, to abandon them after having evolved to become more sensitive and rebellious.

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The Eternals and Deviants are both the creations of the power-hungry Arishem. They are pitted against each other as one side (Eternals) fights to defend their creator’s plan for the universe, while the other side (Deviants) violently revolts against the plan for their own. profit. When someone who has read this almost biblical account properly sits down to watch “Eternals” unfold, it makes for a truly engaging, thought-provoking and dramatic story, as it is a reference to a text they already know. Meanwhile, those who are unaware of the biblical dynamics may not quite see what happens at first, but still enjoy what is essentially good entertainment.

‘Eternals’ is by no means a perfect movie. It’s not the best Marvel movie, either. In some scenes, he drags at a slow pace. Much of the first half of the movie and parts of the second half consist of flashbacks of these immortal characters from different eras and then coming together to fight the Deviants.

Those with a taste for historical sequences won’t see this as a problem, while others, by the time the climactic showdown occurs, will be like: is this what we expected? ‘Eternals’ surely could have been a better movie – better paced and written in a more exciting way.

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Guess we had gigantic expectations for this epic due to the ambitious and visually compelling teaser and plot as well as the high-profile billing from actors like Jolie, Hayek, Nanjiani and even pop star Harry Styles appearing in one. cameo. Some disappointment was therefore almost inevitable. ‘Eternals’ is therefore far from a perfect film. However, those who praise older and tired Marvel movies such as “Iron Man”, “Hulk” and “Thor” have no right to call “Eternals” a terrible movie as it is. the case.

Far enough from it in fact, ‘Eternals’ is a visually captivating film with a story and a soul that explores a range of interesting questions regarding ethics and morals: if you had the power to save the world from the evil deeds of humans. interfering in their affairs, would you? When does preventing someone’s evil deeds stop being heroic and become controlling? If you realized that your reality is a lie and that you are just a sophisticated robot rather than a living breathing creature, would you change anything in your actions? If we were born to accomplish one goal and one goal, is it wrong to go against that plan with new information or experience?

‘Eternals’ has some hilarious, light and even adorably romantic moments that are well balanced with its more tense, heavy, and unsettling scenes. The action sequences, especially the modern footage in the Mexican forest, are thrilling to watch. However, there are times when it feels slow. Some won’t see this as a problem as they are used to watching slow, meditative indie movies. And this is what makes ‘Eternals’ such an “independent arthouse” film (even if it is by no means an independent film). Some Marvel fans will be complaining about this typical MCU lack of flavor in this movie. Lucky for them, traditional Marvel popcorn-friendly movies aren’t going anywhere and can be watched over and over again if you’re a Disney + subscriber.

Meanwhile, many viewers will eagerly await the sequel to “Eternals” to spend time with this endearing gang of superhuman characters once again.

‘Eternals’ is now playing in theaters.

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