The Oscar-winning director, Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) creates a timeless, mellow superhero film in Eternals, the 26th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Opening in 5000 BC, the movie shows 10 super beings, Eternals, sent by the Celestial Arishem to Earth to fight monsters called deviants. In the 15th century when the deviants have all been seemingly killed, the Eternals split up while waiting to called back to their home planet, Olympia.
Also Read | Get ‘First Day First Show’, our weekly newsletter from the world of cinema, in your inbox. You can subscribe for free here
- Director: Chloé Zhao
- Cast: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Harish Patel, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie
- Story line: Ancient beings fight a fresh threat on earth
- Run time: 157 minutes
In the present, an Eternal, Sersi, (Gemma Chan) lives in London posing as a museum curator. She lives with Sprite, (Lia McHugh) another Eternal, and is seeing Dane Whitman (Kit Harington), a colleague at the museum. When they are attacked by a deviant, Sersi decides the Eternals should get back together to fight the threat.
Eternals is inclusive, with its first gay superhero in gadget guru Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and first deaf superhero in Makkari (Lauren Ridloff). In Sersi, we have a female superhero who goes beyond spandex, thigh-high boots and a bustier. Sersi is powerful and vulnerable in love. This is also the first MCU movie to have a sex scene between Sersi and the uber powerful Eternal, Ikaris, (Richard Madden, continues to be unlucky in love, from his Bodyguard days).
Salma Hayek plays a gender-switched Ajak, the leader of the Eternals while Angelina Jolie is Thena who can create glittering weapons out of cosmic energy—she dropped the ‘A’ somewhere in the 7000 years of hanging out on earth. Kumail Nanjiani has the most fun as Kingo, a Bollywood actor, while Harish Patel nails it as his valet/manager Karun.
Druig (Barry Keoghan) who is nifty with mind control and the superstrong Gilgamesh (Don Lee) complete the merry band. While the movie is grand and philosophical, with eye-popping spectacle and deep thought, at some stages of the movie, one wishes it got a move on. The cement-slow pace and exposition that just went on and on was a test of patience.
However, it was nice to listen to Pink Floyd’s ‘Time’ and hear Nanjiani say ‘dishoom’. For all its faults, Eternals is majestic and operatic enough to ensure you are not frittering away the 157 minutes in an offhand way, especially if you are tired of staying home to watch the rain.
Eternals is currently running in theatres