Movies Reviews

Eternals: too much story, not enough time

From the official Eternals Facebook page.

MEXICO CITY – Connection. This is the only job a storyteller has, to make the audience connect with the story and its character. It can be achieved with extreme dedication to detail, which takes time. While Marvel’s Eternals had too much of it, the filmmakers had too little.

The movie gives us a warning of this with the text at the beginning, where it explains the context.

It didn’t even add any artistic or story value to the film. The text just told us, ‘Hey, just to let you know, time is tight right now.’

I will not accept such a thing in a movie if its title doesn’t start in Star and end in Wars.

The Eternals are these god-like heroes who have been sent by the celestial ‘Areishem’ to kill the deviants. The film shows us that they have been part of human history – included are moments from Mesopotamia and the poem of Gilgamesh to the conquest of Tenochtitlan.

Nostalgia swept through me while I watched these beautiful visuals. But then disappointment creeped in because of the lame way the writers answered the obvious yet unspoken question, “How come the most powerful superheroes in the universe didn’t help us with the world wars or at least with Thanos?”

Some Eternals did cry for us, but they still had faith in their mission.

In life and film, faith has been an endless human dilemma. In this particular movie, faith is the most identifiable storyline from all its storylines, but also the most mishandled.

When the Eternals find out the real purpose of their mission will end up destroying life on Earth, they immediately start taking sides, no questions asked.

We are just presented with the good or bad, no gray area.

They had to fight their own battles, so they could develop, they said. It’s not our mission, they also said. But now, they are saving the Earth or destroying it – again, no questions asked.

The first one who starts having doubts is Kumail Nanjiani’s character, Kingo, who gave some unorganized comedy breaks. But when the laughter stops and the questions come, he becomes the first one to get kicked off (out of) the action. We only to see him again for another scene at the end.

Eternals is a very different Marvel. In a Marvel movie, our only job as an audience is to understand the main character or characters and empathize with their inner and outer struggles, so we can root for them.

Marvel made a great decision to make a movie for many individual Avengers, because we got to know their world, their psychology and what they care about. They each earned a little space in our hearts.

There were 10 Eternals and two and a half hours was just not enough time to get to know all of them.

The Eternals were constantly repeating to themselves, “We’re a family.” After only two scenes where they are all together, they treat their supposed family as coworkers.

They didn’t show us their bond, they just told us that they had one. In a movie, telling won’t do it.

One of the main storylines was the relationship between Ikaris [Richard Madden] and Sersi [Gemma Chan.] It happened so fast for them, it wasn’t accelerating for us. The movie showed us their relationship through images and flashbacks in history, so we didn’t fall for their love.

This movie clearly didn’t have time to achieve everything it was aiming for. The filmmakers knew that, so they decided to focus on the telling by having really long explanatory dialogues with random poetic verses. They tried to stick random scenes together.

It would have been great mini-series material, but in a single film, it didn’t work.

I can’t imagine what kind of response the filmmakers expected from Eternals. They did as much as they could, and we enjoyed as much as we could.

Regina López is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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