‘The Eternals’ suffers from writing problems and lack of good action

Written By Dan Russo, For The Globe

2 Globes

“The Eternals” is the fourth Marvel film to be released since the re-opening of theaters following the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has given me a healthy break from Marvel content, I can’t say I really enjoyed myself with “The Eternals.” If I had to rank the post-COVID Marvel movies, this one would be at the bottom. Since leaving the theater, I have had trouble thinking of positive things to say about this film. Prepare for a lot of negativity in this review.

“The Eternals” isn’t even a bad movie, it’s just incredibly boring with an exhausting runtime. These are characters that many people, myself included, are not familiar with. That’s fine in concept—Shang Chi was another character I wasn’t familiar with at all, and that movie is one of my favorites of this year. “The Eternals” introduces too many new characters and barely references the 25 films worth of material that took place before it, which leads to my next issue that I take with this movie.

This movie largely feels detached from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Maybe it will make more sense in the future, but introducing eight new characters at once all with their own subplots and motivations is a sloppy way to do a movie. This movie also does a whole lot of telling and not showing. Characters will travel to various locations and talk to one another about their past, but rarely do they ever actually show you any action. That’s not to say that the character development was all bad: Kumail Nanjiani’s character of Kingo was easily my favorite part of the film, and I found myself also becoming partial to Brian Tyree Henry’s character of Phastos. I think this is largely due to the fact that we see how these characters evolve and develop during their near-infinite time on Earth.

“The Eternals” also lacks significant action sequences to hold up the bloated and mediocre plot. This movie is without a doubt one of the most subdued Marvel films ever put to the silver screen. While the opening set piece is fantastic, the rest of the movie lacks the action that draws people to these movies in the first place. That’s not to say there isn’t any action at all; there is, but none of it is very exciting. It’s a far cry from the spectacle of Shang Chi’s fast-paced hand-to-hand martial arts battles.

Many critics have cited “The Eternals” as the worst Marvel Cinematic Universe movie so far, but I honestly don’t agree. As this movie settles into the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon, it will continue to sit pretty low, but still above “Thor: The Dark World.” It will be interesting to see which characters return in later films, as I have a feeling a number of these characters could be mainstays in the franchise going forward. Hopefully, later films featuring these characters do something more interesting with them.