I watched Eternals this past week on Disney+, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved it.
Going in, I wasn’t sure I was ready for another group of Marvel superheroes, but it turns out I was wrong. It took me a couple of viewings to absorb their cosmology and the nuances between all the characters, but I’m so on board for team Eternal.
Basically, the Eternals were created (by Celestials, specifically Arishem) to protect mankind from the Devients, a group of scary-looking predators, and to help them progress and evolve over time. They wiped out the last Devients about 500 years ago (they’ve been around since 5000 BC), and are just waiting to get the word from Arishem to go home (a planet named Olympia).
But in the present, the Devients come back, and the individuals that make up the Eternals must come back together to defeat them. But they find their leader, Ajak, dead, and the new leader, Sersi, finds out the true nature of their mission here on earth. And they’re not happy about it.
The plot of the movie is entertaining and it’s their very reason for being, but it’s the characters themselves and their relationships that I fell in love with.
Ajak, their leader, can heal herself and others; Icarus can fly and can shoot laser beams from his eyes; Sersi can change matter into something else (rock into water, for instance); Kingo has laser beams that come out of his hands; Sprite can form illusions; Thena is a great warrior, as is Gilgamesh; Druig can do mind control; Makkari is super-fast; and Phastos can create sophisticated tools and contraptions.
So here’s the relationship rundown: Icarus and Sersi fell in love and were together for 5000 years, until a few hundred years ago, when he mysteriously left her; in the present, Sersi is in a relationship with the human Dane. Thena and Gilgamesh are a fighting team and great friends (I’m not sure if it goes beyond that, but their bond is deep and strong). Sprite is secretly in love with Icarus, but she’s in the form of a child and cannot take her feelings very far (and he’s with Sersi, so yeah). Druig and Makkari seem like an unlikely pair, but they share a sweet friendship and flirtation over the centuries that becomes more apparent in the present. Phastos gives up on humankind after Hiroshima, but then finds love with another man in the present and they adopt a son. And Kingo, well, he becomes a Bollywood star and has a human valet named Karun who knows all about the Eternals.
The movie has an overall theme of evolution: of humankind over the centuries, but also of the Eternals themselves. On an individual level, Sersi learns that she is capable of more than she thought: formerly she could only transform one simple element into something else, but in a battle with a Devient she turns the creature into a tree, without knowing how she did it. On a collective level, the Eternals themselves grow beyond their original mission to saving the people of earth. Oh, and I can’t forget one particular Devient who evolves into a sentient creature who can speak and think. Yikes!
And if you want to get real meta, my opinion of some of the Eternals evolved over the course of the movie, too. At first, I agreed with Kingo when he said, “Druig sucks.” At first, Druig seemed aloof and righteous and just annoying. But by the end of the film, I loved him. Turns out he’s just intense (and he’s truly a different person when he’s around Makkari). Icarus, also, waxed and waned in my judgment. As the unofficial second in command, he’s super handsome and super strong and just all around super super-heroish. But then he commits an unforgivable act, and I hate him. Then at the end I feel sorry for him. I was all over the map with these people, all in one movie, lol.
There’s some Marvel humor laced throughout and the casting is perfect (and casting a deaf actor to portray Makkari is awesome),
In the end, this was a fun, weird, exciting, satisfying movie, and I’m ready for a sequel right now, lol. One of the end credits sets us up for a sequel, while the other sets up another possible branch for Marvel with Dane Whitman, played by Kit Harington, as the Black Knight (I have no idea who that is, but I’m game).
Have you seen Eternals? What did you think? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!