“Eternals,” the third film installment in Marvel’s Phase 4, recently came to theaters and marked a nice change in the studio’s traditional releases. Going into “Eternals,” I was feeling apprehensive due to the poor critic ratings, but the film’s diverse cast and engaging plot signaled a new and better era for Marvel.
The film follows a group of eight extraterrestrial beings known as the Eternals, lead by Gemma Chan as Sersi. Each has their own unique powers, who have sworn to protect the Earth from the Deviants (alien monsters who are trying to eat all of human life).
Now that I’ve seen the movie, I can say that these critics — who gave “Eternals” a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes — are pretentious assholes who can’t handle not having their straight, buff, XY chromosome superhero dominating the screen.
This movie is full of diversity and plot that goes beyond the same old, same old of past Marvel movies. Director Chloé Zhao (director of the award-winning film “Nomadland”) incorporated her unique way of storytelling into the movie, making it a new take on Marvel projects.
In addition to the consistently delivered action-packed scenes, the movie also explores the relationships between characters, crafting a storyline that portrays the love and friendship of the Eternals, with more struggles than just right versus wrong.
The film did a magnificent job crafting multi-dimensional characters, giving each of the eight Eternals personalities and depth. This is achieved through the use of flashbacks throughout the movie that helped expand the cinematic universe in the story.
Marvel did a brilliant job portraying Eternal Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), who is deaf and communicates solely in sign language. The directors made sure that Makkari holds more personality than just being deaf. The technical details surrounding being deaf were also addressed and it was fantastic to see actors facing her directly so she could lip-read. Toward the end of the film, her facial expressions, gestures and more made her personality shine, and she is definitely one of my favorite Eternals.
Marvel did a similarly good portrayal with Eternal Phastos, who is married to a man. This presentation of an LGBTQ+ character that isn’t just in the background and is allowed to kiss other characters on-screen signals a much-needed change in Marvel’s LGBTQ+ representation. Even more so, Phastos and his husband reject the conventionally queer achetype of difference as they experience the same struggles customarily seen with straight couples in Marvel movies.
Marvel has been going in a new direction with Phase 4, and it’s incredible. Serving off cookie-cutter superhero movies that focused on only one hero and a villain wasn't going to cut it for much longer. “Eternals” shows that Marvel can craft an excellent storyline while also maintaining a legacy of exciting action scenes.
Thank goodness Marvel is moving away from movie styles like those in “Iron Man,” “Thor” and “Captain America” to usher in a new era. The future for Marvel is looking golden.
Elizabeth Secor is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @esecor2003