Can we talk about Eternals?

Annabelle Bartz, Staff Writer

Eternals was released to Disney Plus on January 12, 2022. (for free use from Marvel Studios)

Released in theaters on November 5, 2021 and released to Disney Plus on January 12th, 2022, Eternals did not exactly see the success of the other three Marvel movies released in 2021. Only grossing $300 million at the box office worldwide, it was far behind Black Widow and Shang-Chi and didn’t even come close to Spider-Man: No Way Home. It also split the audience with a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer of 47% and an audience score of 78%. Even with the split reviews, I will be the first to admit that I liked Eternals: it was a good movie that made a lot of firsts in the Marvel universe. 

To start, I would like to talk about this movie’s origin story. The story starts when Marvel approached academy award winning director Chole Zhao with the previously mentioned Marvel movie Black Widow. Zhao said no to that, but then she said I will direct this movie, and proceed to pitch her own movie idea to the studio. Obviously the studio took it or I wouldn’t be writing this article. I think this is a fun story to preface this movie with because it shows that it was a passion project for the director, not just a way to pay the bills.

To get back to the story itself, I will say that there is a lot going on. The movie introduces a total of 11 new main characters and an entirely new team of guardians that have supposedly been on Earth this entire time. I will admit, all the new information is a lot along with an entirely new group of characters to learn about. It overall makes the movie less emotionally impactful: between characters’ deaths and betrayals, none of it hits the same not knowing the characters. You don’t have enough time to get attached to anyone when they have already stabbed someone in the back or been killed. 

I will say the concept itself is quite interesting and having flashbacks happening at impactful moments in history was a great way to use their immortality to the advantage of the movie. Overall, the story felt slightly rushed, but I am excited to see where they take this story in the future. 

I would also just like to take a moment to praise the movie for some of the firsts it made. Eternals is the first marvel movie to have an on screen gay kiss and a commited queer couple with a child. All of that is amazing movement forward in normalizing queer relationships and has taken Marvel movies 14 years, which is an astounding amount of time considering the first openly gay Marvel superhero (in the comics) was a character named Northstar who came out in 1979.

The movie also has the first deaf character in the Marvel universe played by deaf actress Lauren Ridloff. Ridloff plays the first deaf superhero in the onscreen Marvel universe, allowing people who are deaf to finally be able to see themselves in a superhero on screen.  

In conclusion, I don’t think Eternals is for everyone. The movie overall has a darker plot than previous Marvel movies and stands out from the rest of the Marvel universe in large ways. I think something that it will be seen as, whether you enjoy it or not, is that it’s a cornerstone for representation in the Marvel universe.