Marvel Studios’ ‘Eternals’ brings the universe down to Earth
“Eternals” covers a lot, from the presence of immortal beings protecting the Earth to the creation of life.
But Marvel Studios has a knack for bringing the most cosmic concepts down to Earth.
And that’s why the film did so well at the box office last weekend, exceeding expectations with a $71 million gross and putting it in No. 1 far ahead of a better known sci-fi story, “Dune.”
Fans may not have heard of “The Eternals.” It’s far less known than the Avengers or Spider-Man.
But fans know the name of its creator: the late Thousand Oaks legend Jack Kirby, who created characters varying from Captain America to Thor, as well as the New Gods for DC Comics.
And Mr. Kirby had a way of making gods both powerful and human and making you feel empathy for them. That’s a big reason why Marvel found it could make these powerful beings funny, relatable and human.
Mr. Kirby created the foundation. Marvel Studios and director Chloe Zhao wisely knew to simply build on it.
The cast in this film is impressive: Gemma Chan as Sersi, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Barry Keogrhan as Druig, Bryan Tyree Henry as Phastos, Lauren Ridloff (“The Walking Dead”) as Makkari and Don Lee, aka Ma Dong-seok, as Gilgamesh.
There are some plot spoilers ahead, but major ones won’t be included.
Ajak is the leader of the Eternals, who were sent by their creator to protect Earth from the Deviants, aka monsters.
The Eternals have various powers, from Sersi’s ability to transform matter to Makkari’s super speed.
After getting rid of the monsters, they go off in their own directions for centuries, and “The Eternals” catches up with them in the present where each is finding her or his own route to happiness.
But the reemergence of the Deviants brings the Eternals back together.
Then the movie goes into high gear, with plenty of action, a lot of mystery and surprises about the very concept of life and the universe.
It’s all pretty heavy, and the only real flaw in “Eternals” is there’s too much to understand in one viewing.
But that flaw in “Eternals” may actually be one of its greatest strengths.
It’s refreshing to see a film that doesn’t hesitate to challenge viewers. This writer discussed it with friends afterward and was glad they picked up on details he missed or didn’t understand fully.
It’s a movie that encourages contemplation and discussion.
It’s also a movie that discusses what it means to be human, which is the ultimate objective of all science fiction. Yes, even when sci-fi is discussing aliens and strange new worlds, it’s really all about every human being’s loves, hopes and dreams. And you can see that clearly with the characters of Sersi and Sprite.
As always with Marvel movies, watch at the beginning and the end of the closing credits for additional scenes that set the stage for the next “Eternals” movie. The very final scene will go down as one of the most memorable ones in Marvel Studios history.