Eternals’ Bad Reviews Explained: 8 Biggest Criticisms
After first premiering last November, Chloé Zhao’s timeless cosmic epic has finally arrived on Disney+ for audiences around the world to watch at home. The project introduces big names like Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, and Kit Harrington to the MCU. It also features the introduction of Harry Styles’ great Starfox character, also known as Thanos’ brother.
When the movie arrived, it’s safe to say it wasn’t as well received. It was the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be rated Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. when the general public saw it, they were kinder to the adventure, but there were still lukewarm reactions everywhere.
But then there were those who saw the movie and had no idea what all the negative fuss was about. they couldn’t understand why people had so much trouble with the movie.
luckily for them, the following list will help explain the most common criticisms of eternals and why they’re a problem in the first place.
the problem of deviation
One of the elements that gets called out the most by critics and fans is the villains. Ranking right down there with Thor: The Dark World’s Malekith, the Deviants dragged the story down at every point they could.
Not only were they uninspired and bland in their design, but they never did anything for the plot. instead, they appear when the story calls for a pace of action and then disappear.
what is the real reason they exist in the script? they were theme vehicles and nothing more; the ethical and philosophical questions raised by them only amounted to a single moment anyway.
then there was kro, who the story tried to make sense of, but nothing about him felt any different from the mindless drones following him around. he just felt uncomfortable when he started talking and saying his life’s mission. he never felt like he belonged in any scene.
It didn’t help how the writers stuffed him into the final act, a sequence that was one of the best in the movie. this emotionally fueled confrontation between ikaris and her family was fantastic, but then kro, whom the plot almost forgot about, stumbled onto the beach by chance.
It was an unnerving moment, and forcing the character into a situation he had no right to be in was awkward and questionable, especially since he died minutes later.
The idea of the deviants could easily work and paint a compelling parallel with the eternals themselves. one that would show that although they appear completely different, they are, in fact, the same.
eternals sadly fails to achieve this and instead sticks with forgettable, generic villains who only appear because the plot needs that antagonistic force to move scenes forward; all depth is lost.
the mediocre fights
The Deviants lead into the next criticism, which resides on the lips of many who have watched Chloé Zhao’s new adventure. Simply put, the action scenes are nearly all forgettable.
It doesn’t help that the movie opens right after Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a project that contained some of the best fight sequences in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. so the eternals already had a disadvantage from the start.
the reason for its mediocrity is twofold. First, the action choreography is boring and the visuals are equally bland. then there is the fact that there is nothing that strengthens most sequences; there’s no emotional hook or character moments to be found. it ends up being just repeated scenes of super people beating up bad guys.
Many respond to this point by saying that it’s not just about the action, and that’s true. but if a story has a forgettable fight sequence, then the story still has a chunk of time that isn’t worth experiencing.
However, there is one exception to this: the aforementioned final act with the group against his former brother Ikaris. after that, things finally got more interesting, both visually and emotionally; letting makkari use her powers certainly helped.
what if… ikaris and sersi had chemistry?
One of the major plot points touted about this MCU film before its release was its focus on the love story between characters in ways no others have. But, sadly, many don’t believe that Ikaris and Sersi worked in the slightest as the main couple.
The movie tells the audience that these two have been in love for thousands of years, but it never really feels that way; no discernible spark.
Sure, the story repeatedly talks about how the two pin their heads for each other, but they can’t quite make it seem that way to onlookers. writers can tell viewers all day long that two people love each other, but if it’s not well portrayed in the script and performances, it just won’t work.
was a bigger problem here thanks to their relationship being the central factor influencing plot resolution; as their dynamic faltered, so did the impact of some pivotal moments.
while the writing certainly plays into the problem, richard madden’s ikaris and gemma chan’s sersi just don’t have chemistry. they’re both great actors, but they never really fit in on screen.
this was further accentuated by the fantastic chemistry between barry keoghan’s druig and lauren ridloff’s makkari. their subtle and flirtatious dynamic wasn’t even originally intended to be part of the movie, but it ended up working better than the key couple in the story.
all the many characters
One of the most noteworthy aspects of Eternals’ large cast is how stunningly diverse everyone is, without it ever feeling forced. The leading group themselves are meant to represent what the world as a whole looks like, and for the most part, they nailed it.
The downside to having a cast of this size is simply the sheer number of characters the story has to cater to. Along with the Eternals, there’s also Dane Whitman, the Celestials, and the Deviants, which are more than a dozen characters, most of whom are equally important.
This is another place where many believe the film faltered. the story does not do justice to all its characters.
sure, in theory, it’s okay that whitman was only there for a little catch and was never intended to be part of the larger narrative. but then there is ajak, who only served everyone around her and not herself; she was the shell of a character, whose purpose was simply to be an inciting incident with a dash of flashback drama towards the end.
A similar situation occurred with Gilgamesh. while her friendship with thena is notable, most of the narrative weight was on her rather than on him. she had nothing more than that. when she died, her death had almost no emotional impact. It also didn’t help that the character had a visually dull and generally boring power set.
This doesn’t mean every character is a dud, but with so many people to focus on, the juggling act of providing the right amount of service to each one is difficult and many feel the project dropped the ball. .
Movies like Civil War, Infinity War, and Endgame masterfully balanced all aspects of their story. however, one of the biggest factors that made things difficult for the Eternals is that each person in their story is completely new – the script was needed to build these characters from scratch.
a fest of ideas
Readers may soon start to feel a pattern with these next few criticisms, which all relate to how bloated the film can feel.
In addition to the number of players the story had to deal with, the movie introduced countless new ideas to the mcu. so while fans learned about more than a dozen new people, they also had to keep track of the ever-expanding world lore.
The film had to review what the eternals were, the place of the celestials in the cosmos, the deviants and how there are giant space beings waiting to be born on various planets in the universe. there were some great ideas, some small, and others informed by various twists and turns throughout the adventure. and then there were those that had massive implications for the mcu as a whole.
It was a lot to keep up with and keep up with, while juggling meeting a dozen new characters.
runtime keeps running
Given how much the movie deals with and introduces, it was easy to assume that the film’s length would be a long one; at 2 hours and 37 minutes, it lives up to expectations. Its length, however, is an issue in itself.
The complaint that something is too long is often misunderstood. movies can be two or three hours long, but it all depends on the pace; how the story is delivered to the audience.
If a movie feels like three hours, there’s probably a problem somewhere. however, if the pacing is solid and everything is well designed, you can have a three-hour movie where the viewer has never thought about how long they’ve been staring at the screen.
avengers: endgame is a perfect example of this. it’s the longest project the mcu has ever had, but many hardly notice it when they watch it: the story is presented in such a way that the audience is completely engrossed from start to finish.
With Eternals, there are the issues of flashbacks being sometimes awkwardly placed into the story and the long quest the main characters find themselves on, causing some of the middle parts of the movie to be feel prolonged, among other elements.
Then, of course, there are all those scenes of people staring into space awkwardly contemplating life, as the story slowly continues.
When you put the previous three complaints together, there is an additional problem that comes from it: exposition. Many viewers felt as though most of the scenes within Eternals were simply explaining concepts for motivation.
the exposition is always better when the story shows us instead of telling us. Obviously, telling viewers new information isn’t always avoidable, but the balance a story strikes between the two makes it all work.
another mcu project last year that had the same problem was marvel studios disney+ show loki. Tom Hiddleston’s first solo project introduced so many new concepts and ideas to the MCU that 80% of its first season was one explanation after another.
The film’s inevitable sequel might have a better time with this issue, as most of its characters and the new lore behind them have been established. Talking about the probable eternals 2 leads directly to the final topic of the list.
more excited about the future than the present
Setting up future installments is what the Marvel Cinematic Universe does. Its continued and expansive continuity has made these films the successes they are. So, it’s ironic to say that teasing the future was a problematic aspect of Eternals.
When you walk out of a movie, you should be excited by what you just saw. On top of that, the movie should work on its own and doesn’t need a setup to have a beginning, middle, and end.
Many people feel that history failed on this. some audiences expressed that they were more excited about what was to come next than what they had just seen; others shared the excitement, but showed no enthusiasm for the first installment.
It’s also been said that the story feels incomplete by how it ends, as almost everyone involved in the main story is subject to a cliffhanger and most of the characters didn’t get any sort of resolution to the events of the movie. .
the eternal difference of opinion
Even if Eternals is a flawed project, it’s hard to say that it’s the worst movie to come from Marvel Studios yet-a claim many are making regarding Zhao’s addition to the MCU.
For fans who are down due to the overall reception, look no further than Thor: The Dark World for solace. The film led to the mini-reboot of Thor in Ragnarok, a film that was critically acclaimed across the board. The story of director Alan Taylor’s project also played a key role in the conclusion of the Infinity Saga.
that is, everything can change at any time. Thor had two solo adventures and two Avengers appearances in his belt before his drastic redesign.
Don’t let all these reviews stop you from seeing the movie for yourself. take an afternoon, sit back and form your own opinion by clicking the play button on disney+; after all, it’s imax enhanced.