|Image credit: IMDb|
Continuing on with the newly-reignited glee that comes from physically going to the cinemas, last week the partner and I took a little date night (seems like it’s been forever since we had one) and went and saw Marvel’s newest achievement: Eternals. Great night!
The film follows a ragtag team of ageless, magical beings who have been on Earth saving the human race from the monstrous deviants that invaded thousands of years ago. Still awaiting the all-clear to go back to their home world of Olympia, the estranged team reunites when a clutch of new deviants emerge and take out their leader. Things continue to snowball when the true nature of their mission is revealed and the people and planet that they’ve come to love is threatened.
No doubt I have before mentioned that I’ve gone into all these Marvel movies completely unfamiliar with the original source material, so it’s fair to take my opinions of narrative and character progression with a grain of salt. However, my lack of knowledge allows me to interpret these movies as movies and not as adaptations, to comment on the craft and not rave or moan about how characters or key plot points get screwed up.
Having absolutely no idea about who or what the Eternals are really made me appreciate this movie as an introductory film in the new phase of the MCU as well as appreciate the cleverness of the screenplay and the performances, both of which are mwuh (chef’s kiss).
My absolute favourite thing about the screenplay was how big it was on show-don’t-tell. There are some pretty deep and strong relationships that are going on within this group and rather than using words to say how deeply they love one another, it’s all done through lingering camera shots and actions. The most gorgeous being the relationship between Gilgamesh (Ma Dong-seok) and Thena (Angelina Jolie): mostly unspoken and on the surface rather unromantic, but I still could not stop the lump rising in my throat and the hot tears forming when drama struck. The writing is just so raw and good, it’s an organic blend of sight and sound with important plot points being vocalised and key dramatic points being just shown, not hammed up with dialogue.
|Image credit: The Guardian|
The narrative structure and plot itself is far from perfect, but for the sake of introducing a glut of new characters into a wider story world, we can let the questionable red herring plot device slide. Actually, it’s not so much a red herring more of a narrative catalyst that then lost its entire meaning and point of existence when the real Big Bad came into focus. But I’ll let you all be the judge of that.
Despite the iffy trailers and movie posters that made it sort of look like Dune, I came out of Eternals really satisfied and quite impressed. While the story itself is kind of predictable, the performances are great, the narrative structure is really good and expertly piques interest in these characters, and the achievements in costume, set design, and special effects are extraordinary. Not to mention this is the first Marvel film which features a same-sex kiss, very gorgeously and naturally shown. I would absolutely recommend this movie!
Director: Chloe Zhao
Cast: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Lia McHugh, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Harish Patel, Ma Dong-seok, Salma Hayek, Kit Harrington, & Angelina Jolie