Well that was underwhelming. I mean, we waited an eternity…for this?
For being the most anticipated and mysterious post-Avengers new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (as opposed to the streaming one), the debut teaser for Marvel’s Eternals feels horribly, blandly generic — right up to when the full team assembles in their quasi-cheesy costumes — which includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Barry Keoghan, and (from House Stark) Richard Madden and Kit Harrington.
Failing to evoke inspiration, awe or wonder (let alone thrills) except, perhaps, for the diehard “Marvel can do no wrong” fanboy, this first look doesn’t give anyone much of anything to get excited about. It even skirts the basic premise, i.e. that the Eternals are a team of super-beings that have remained in hiding from the rest of the world until now.
What dreaded impending doom finally draws them out to blow their cover remains a mystery, though it should be a doozy, I guess, given that (apparently) THANOS DESTROYING HALF OF ALL GALACTIC EXISTENCE didn’t quite register on the Eternals’ Defcon 1 red alarm emergency scale. (According to an official Marvel blurb, that threat is mankind’s oldest enemy, The Deviants. Cool. New super villains. To replace the old ones. I’m so thrilled.)
Doubling the disappointment here is that it comes from recent Best Director / Best Picture winner Chloé Zhao (Nomadland), a serious, fascinating artist who (by the looks of this) threatens to have her singular, contemplative, character-driven voice be subsumed by the Marvel machine.
The one thing that gives me hope: Marvel let director Ryan Coogler “Coogle” in Black Panther, which is the most auteuristic vision of any Marvel film to date. So, despite the trailer playing it safe, hopefully the final film will end up being as much a Chloé Zhao movie as a Marvel one.
We’ll know when Eternals opens in theaters this fall on November 5, 2021.
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