Marvel has, yet again, completely outdone itself with the intricate plot and beautiful cinematography of Eternals. The diversity of gender, race, sexuality, and physical abilities is groundbreaking, and something that should be looked upon as an example for other big corporations similar to Disney.
As an avid Marvel fan myself, I was incredibly excited to hear that Marvel was starting to introduce more characters and branch off into more “out of this world” plotlines after their record-shattering movie Avengers: Endgame. Some may disagree, thinking that nothing will ever replace the “old Marvel” with Captain Steve Rodgers and Tony Stark’s classic ego, but this mindset leaves Marvel with no place to go. Positivity and looking towards the future is what allows more amazing characters like those in the original six Avengers to have their time on the big screen, and newer movies like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals show that the “old Marvel” isn’t going away, it is just expanding.
As Eternals began, I already knew I was going to enjoy it from the “Star Wars-like” background text that went down the screen. This segment of the movie described how the actual Eternals team came to be and their mission to keep the Earth safe from the deviants, an evil animal-like species on a mission to destroy humankind.
In classic Marvel fashion, the movie started off in a complete disaster. The Eternals thought that they had killed all the deviants, and they were waiting for their celestial master, Arisham, to call them home. But now, the deviants have returned, and the Eternal Sersi is attacked in London by one. She helps keep the citizens safe with her fellow Eternal Sprite, and her ex-lover Ikaris shows up as well. They fight the deviant and realize that it has begun to heal itself. They end up killing it, but this trait has never been seen in a deviant before, so they decide to go searching for their former leader, Ajak. This grabs the audience perfectly, and I was completely sucked in.
As these three Eternals go to find Ajak, the movie frequently cuts to flashbacks of their past battles with the deviants. There are obviously more members to the Eternals team, but it seems as if they split up for some unknown reason. We later find out that the leader Ajak let them go to find their own way on Earth, and live a true life of happiness. I thought this was extremely beautiful and poetic. The Eternals had been fighting for Earth for so long, and they finally got to live, at least for a little while.
Sersi, Sprite, and Ikaris end up finding Ajak’s hideout, but they find her dead body lying in the grass. All three of the Eternals are greatly shaken by this and fear for their own lives. If their powerful leader Ajak can be killed by one of these deviants, then they only had a matter of time before they themselves joined her. While Sersi is mourning over Ajak’s body, a piece of Ajak’s power that allowed her to speak with the celestial master Arisham goes inside Sersi’s chest, showing that Ajak chose Sersi to be the new leader of the Eternals. Sersi is very fearful of this new power, and it takes her quite a while to actually figure out how to talk with Arisham.
The movie picks up speed here, showing the three Eternals (Sersi, Sprite, and Ikaris) go to find the rest of their former team to inform them about Ajak’s death. During this segment, the movie continues to show scenes from their past, spreading across thousands of years. Here we see each Eternal’s different personalities and how their powers affect those around them.
The Eternals end up finding the rest of their team, including Thena, Goddess of War; Gilgamesh, one of their strongest warriors; Kingo, Eternal turned Bollywood star; Druig, a rebel with a knack for mind control; Phastos, genius inventor; and Makkari, the fastest being to ever exist. Makkari in particular is a huge step up in diversity for Marvel, because she is deaf and uses sign language throughout the entire film. This has not been seen in Marvel before.
As the Eternals gather their friends and try to figure out why the deviants have gotten so powerful, Sersi finally speaks to Arisham, and he drops a metaphorical bomb on her entire way of thinking. It turns out, this entire time, the Eternals had been created by Arisham for one purpose: to get Earth ready for the emergence. The emergence is when a new celestial is born from Earth, taking all of the energy from the human population, and destroying the entire planet. This entire time, the celestial inside of Earth had been feeding off of human evolution and growing to finally “emerge” and destroy the planet. This, obviously, really freaks out Sersi. She has loved this planet and the people she has grown up with, and she does not want the planet to be destroyed.
This is where the movie begins to get really interesting. The Eternals decide to stop the emergence by creating a device that unites their powers together, known as a “unimind,” to make the lead Eternal strong enough to freeze the celestial from expanding anymore, thus allowing the planet to be saved. This goes directly against what Arisham wants them to do, and so there is definitely some apprehension in the group as well.
Now here come the plot twists. Once Ikaris finds out about this plan, he admits that he has known the entire time that the emergence existed, and never told the Eternals. Sersi is especially hurt by this, since her and Ikaris were in love for a very long time. Ikaris then destroys Phastos’s plans for the unimind, thus preventing the Eternals from stopping the emergence, and it is revealed that Ikaris was the one responsible for Ajak’s death. Ikaris wants the emergence to happen. He is completely blinded by loyalty and duty, and the rest of the Eternals team end up fighting against him.
This, for me, is the highlight of the movie. I personally never saw this coming, and the acting during this portion was incredibly professional. Richard Morrison expertly portrayed Ikaris’s conflicting feelings about staying true to his purpose as an Eternal, or following his heart and staying with his family.
As the Eternals fight it out, Phastos completes the unimind and ignites it at the perfect time. Since Sersi was given Ajak’s power earlier on in the film, she becomes the “lead Eternal” and uses the power from the unimind to stop the emergence and completes their mission. They ended up losing Gilgamesh along the way, gravely hurting Thena as her and Gilgamesh were very close, but they ended up in a victory. Ikaris finally lets his feelings out to Sersi after the emergence was stopped. He says he is sorry for his actions, and flies off into space. This leaves the movie with its first cliffhanger. Where did Ikaris go?
Then, as if this couldn’t get crazier, Sersi and a few of her fellow Eternals are lifted into space by the powerful celestial Arisham, and he is not happy that they stopped the emergence. He says that he will examine the Eternals’ memories of Earth, and will come back for judgment. He then disappears, taking Sersi and her friends with him.
This really freaked me out. Arisham is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, characters I have ever seen. The editing for his character is incredibly realistic, making him larger than life and his coloring a beautiful reddish gold. Based on the Marvel comics, this “judgment” that he mentioned is not a good sign. Here we have a second cliffhanger.
Next: Thena, Makkari, and Druig are in their ship, talking about how Sersi and their friends are missing. They have no idea what to do, until their knight in shining armor shows up: the one and only, Harry Styles! Well, not actually Harry Styles, but Harry Styles as Eros, Prince of Titan and brother to the mass murderer Thanos from previous Marvel films. There have been rumors for months now that Styles was going to make a cameo in this film, and the collective gasp in the theater was proof enough of how much excitement there is around this new character. Eros tells Thena that her friends are in big trouble (meaning the Eternals who had gotten snatched by Arisham) and he knows where to find them. This is a third cliffhanger!
I personally love the fact that Styles is being incorporated into the MCU. I think it is a great attention grabber. Styles has been on multiple different movie sets for the past year, and he starred in 2017’s Dunkirk, so his acting chops in the MCU will definitely elevate it.
The final cliff hanger comes in the form of actor Kit Harrington’s character, Dane Whitman. He was only in the film for a very short period, showing up earlier as Sersi’s boyfriend before the entire mess of the emergence happened. During the second end credit scene, he is bestowed a blade that is referred to as the Ebony Blade. He had mentioned to Sersi that his family history was a bit complicated, and he was correct. This blade belongs to Marvel comics’ anti-hero, the Black Knight, so it seems like this character may be Dane’s father or distant relative. This whole scene alludes to Kit Harrington being involved in future marvel projects as the new Black Knight, which is incredibly exciting.
Overall, this movie left me absolutely speechless. Everything from the costumes to the acting to the editing to the straight-up crazy plot is classic Marvel and a feeling I have been missing for a while. I cannot wait to see where they go with all these cliffhangers, and I feel very grateful to be witnessing this incredible cinema. It can only go up from here.