The Marvel comic book universe expands once more, with this adventure ignoring the Avengers and instead focusing on a group of ageless beings – the Eternals of the title – who have watched over humans for centuries. Their job has been to protect us from Deviants (large, chomping monsters) but not to interfere in human affairs (which explains why they didn’t saddle up and help the Avengers defeat Thanos).
In the present day with the Deviants supposedly defeated a few hundred years before, the group of 10 have separated around the world but are brought back together when a Deviant pops up in North London. It seems this creature can absorb an Eternal’s power, and when one of their number dies the battle is on. Complicating matters is the fact that the group don’t exactly get on anymore, and the news that their original mission may not quite be what they thought it was fractures the team even further.
Bogged down by a huge amount of exposition in the first half of the movie, as the Eternals’ mythology and history is established – Ajak (Hayek) is the spiritual leader who communicates with their bosses the Celestials, Thena (Jolie) can’t always control her powers, Ikaris (Madden) and Sersi (Chan) used to be in a relationship but aren’t any more which is awkward, etc – this eventually heads towards the inevitable impressive CGI battle we’ve come to expect from Marvel movies.
Before that, there a few very guessable twists, and the high points end up being not the action sequences or even the plot, but the performances. Chan is terrific as Sersi, who has developed a strong connection with humans, and there are also enjoyable turns from Hayek, Nanjiani (who becomes Bollywood star Kingo when blending in as human), Harish Patel (as Kingo’s manager) and Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, the Marvel Universe’s first deaf superhero.
Others, unfortunately, are forgettable (Madden), annoying (Lia McHugh doing the best she can with the underwritten Sprite) or underused (Jolie, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Brian Tyree Henry), while fans expecting Harington (as Sersi’s human boyfriend Dane) in a central role will be very disappointed (although an end credits sequence hints we’ll see more of him in the future).
Ultimately, it’s an interesting sidebar in the Marvel movie universe rather than an essential instalment, but if you want impressive computer effects, a few fun battles and a CGI monster thundering through Camden Town, it’s worth a look.
Is Eternals suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This, like the other movies in the Marvel universe, is aimed at older kids and adults and features battle sequences and fights.
Parents should note that this is the first Marvel movie to feature a love scene, although it isn’t explicit and there is no nudity.
Younger children may find the Deviants scary, especially in the sequence in Camden, London. There are also tense scenes where the Deviants attack humans, and the results of attacks (one human is eaten, some are paralysed by the creatures who use tentacles to entrap their prey and suck the life/power from them) are shown.
One central character is killed and this may upset sensitive viewers.
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