Three stars for Chloé Zhao’s “disappointing” Eternals

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Still with me? Suffice it to say, the Eternals score high in terms of gender, ethnicity, and sexual diversity, but low in terms of being memorable. This is a sketchy bunch and inherently drab, so it can be hard to remember which one is friendly with which. By right, their super soap opera should have had its own 20-part series on Disney +. In one movie, the plot is so overcrowded that an Eternal even announces, shortly before the decisive battle, that he doesn’t want to be involved, and walks away, leaving us wondering why exactly we spent the last hour. hang out with him.

It’s possible that some more magnetic actors could have helped, but for the first time, Marvel’s keen eye for the cast went wrong. As soon as Robert Downey Jr was seen as Iron Man and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, it became nearly impossible to imagine anyone else in the roles. The average Eternals cast doesn’t present that challenge. Madden may seem suitably divine when posing in a desert and fishy on the horizon, but he – like several other key cast members – lacks the acting skills and charisma to convince you that he is. a real person, let alone a real superhuman alien. . The friendliest character is Sersi’s cheerfully nerdy human boyfriend, Dane, played by Kit Harington, but he’s absent for most of the movie, so the promising subject of “what do you do when you find out your girlfriend is immortal ”is dropped after a couple of gently romantic scenes.

Deviants have even less personality than Eternals. With no distinctive features and no agenda beyond an urge to bite people’s heads, they are the most generic of the slave digital villains, so whenever there is an action sequence it is impossible to tell them apart. , or keep track of how many of them there are. The story, anyway, is that the Eternals thought they had eliminated the Deviants about 500 years ago, so they went their separate ways and went their separate ways. But now the monsters are reappearing. First, they come out of a canal in London – which is shot in a surprisingly sullen, un-touristy way – and then they come to where the Eternals are. Ikaris, Sersi and Sprite decide to reform the group. They are, incidentally, traveling in Kingo’s private jet – he has spent the last century pretending to be the successive generations of a Bollywood dynasty – so it is strange that their bestial and stupid opponents manage to circle the world at the same pace. . God knows – or rather Arishem knows – how the Deviants can move from UK to Australia so quickly, but it seems like that’s just one of the many aspects of the film that went unthought.

There are a few smart parts, mind you. The various meetings are interspersed with richly detailed flashbacks taking place in Mesopotamia and Babylon and other ancient sites of beauty, and there are surprising twists and turns as the Eternals argue over the purpose of their mission on Earth. But in the end, it looks like hiring a writer-director who specializes in muted, documentary-style drama for spectacular action on gaudy costumed interstellar demigods may not have been the way to go. wisest choice.

Eternals is adapted from a distant 1970s comic book series by the great Jack Kirby, and traces remain of its visionary design, but Zhao and his three co-writers weighed it down with lots of rudimentary dialogue, a silly plan. – “If we can assemble device X and attach it to device Y, then we can defeat enemy Z” – and a standard CGI showdown to complete things. The results are not terrible. They are definitely watchable. But given that this sci-fi saga is directed by Zhao, and its story covers the creation of the Universe and the fate of the planet, it would have been reasonable to expect it to elicit wonder instead. than the reluctant appreciation of efficient and careful work. Eternals might not be the worst Marvel movie, but it is arguably the most disappointing.

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