With Marvel having had an extraordinary run of blockbusters we are now firmly in the era of their secondary superhero back catalogue and Eternals is certainly that affording those actors who were over looked in the first round of casting a second bite at the blockbuster gravy train. So now we have the Eternals who, as explained in a prologue, are a band of celestials put on Earth by their big boss to protect humans from the Deviants which strangely does not include Prince Andrew. So whilst they protect us Earthlings from said Deviants they are also under strict instruction not to intervene with human warfare something which causes conflict amongst them and must be a frustration when they have an array of admittedly daft super powers. So we have Kingo (Kumail Ninjiani) who can fire energy bolts from his fingers when he folds his hands into a pistol shape like he’s still in a playground with 7 year olds, Barry Keoghan as Druig with the power to influence others with his mind and presumably furious that Derren Brown made a fortune with the idea and Sprite (Lia McHugh) a ginger haired school kid desperate to be an adult – a sort of polar opposite to Jeanette Krankie. But having started with Captain Marvel the studio has expanded their base away from white male superheroes with the recent release of Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and so consequently the Eternals are an eclectic mix of races, and also disability too.
Flipping locations around the world as well as different centuries it starts with present day London with Sersi (Gemma Chan) living out her superhero days as a teacher loved up but not wanting to unveil her Eternal origins to her already suspecting boy friend (Kit Harrington) but they soon find themselves in the first of many battles as an emaciated creature hauls itself out of Camden Lock which for once is not some stoned student off his face on dried banana skins but turns out to be the first of many battles against the long dormant Deviants now remerging and the Eternals now finding that something is about to run amok.
In Marvel tradition the film is rife with well staged battles as the Eternals become a team again but at their heart are something of a dysfunctional family bickering over who should be leader and how they should go about protecting mankind and in that respect this is Richard Madden’s (as Ikaris) and Gemma Chan’s film with the former keen to be the team leader and the latter taking a more studied approach but all find that there is more at play here with the imminent emergence of a new Celestial that will wipe out the world’s population and the team find themselves conflicted in their duty to their own masters and the people of Earth.
With a running time slightly longer than the epic Dune its an appropriate titled film and with an overcrowded team many are sidelined notably Angelina Jolie still looking her glacially gorgeous self in between battles in what must feel like a re-enactment of divorce proceedings with her ex husband. This new era of Marvel films with its mix of characters is suitably progressive but it still boils down to the essence of many Marvel plots – namely, Will the superheroes manage to save the entire world? And as well done as it undoubtedly is it might be the mid credit sequence and the actor who appear that might prompt the most discussion.
Here’s the Eternals trailer…..