The cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is something that has been played around with for a while now, whether it be exploring the deep corners of space in the Guardians of the Galaxy films or the tesseract manipulating its way through several films before ending up with Thanos. Eternals, the latest instalment to a franchise that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down, is a film that introduces a whole family of ancient beings who have played more of a part in human history than you might have first thought.

An unexpected tragedy forces the Eternals, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years, out of the shadows to reunite against mankind's most ancient enemy, the Deviants.
Eternals is one mighty balancing act with ten main characters to introduce and a lot of story to tell and, for the most part, Chloé Zhao does a great job in bringing it to the big screen. She has such a deft touch when it comes to making films feel so human and even manages it with a bunch of super-powered beings, whose powers range from shooting energy from their fingertips to mind control. Zhao, along with Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo and Kaz Firpo has written a thoughful superhero film that revolves around such compelling subjects as family and humanity itself, conflicting thoughts amidst the team making for some of the film's more powerful moments as they start to see similar flaws amongst themselves that they see in humans.

The film's hefty runtime is certainly warranted as Zhao takes her time in fleshing out these characters so they become more than just background characters, Sersi and Ikaris taking more of a centre stage than others with a sensual love story spanning thousands of years. It doesn't even feel that long either, even with rather large amounts of exposition throughout, scattershot action sequences that reflect just how much the Eternals are learning about the ever-evolving Deviants the more they fight them and a decent amount of humour, some of which doesn't land unfortunately, that meets the MCU brand requirements keeping the film flowing. 
That being said, Eternals is certainly one of those MCU films that feels different from anything that has come before, the scale of it all awe-inspiring with our first proper time spent in the company of the Celestials and their presence alone serving as a reason to see this in IMAX. It's shot beautifully, Ben Davis doing his most visually striking work since his first of now five collaborations with Marvel Studios in Guardians of the Galaxy, wide shots utilised for scale but also choosing to showcase the Celestials close up just to emphasise how huge they actually are. There's stellar work in the score department too as Ramin Djawadi delivers powerful themes alongside softer notes that ensure these characters feel superpowered yet human at the same time, the inclusion of choral singers adding another layer of epicness to proceedings.

With such a diverse and talented cast at its disposal, it's no surprise that they all take to playing their respective roles so well in Eternals. Some have a bit less screentime than others but that doesn't stop them from making an impact on the film, Barry Keoghan's Druig and Lauren Ridloff's Makkari, the first deaf superhero in the MCU, being great examples of this and amongst my favourites on this initial viewing. Angelina Jolie's Thena is one of the most intriguing characters, her fluctuating mental state hindering their plans from time to time, and Jolie does a great job in bringing that to the fore in her character. Being a real ensemble piece, it's a film that can bring about new favourites each time, giving me plenty of reasons to keep coming back to the film.

Eternals is a lot to take in there's no denying that, an entirely new roster of characters introduced in a single film that makes sure Phase Four of the MCU is one of the most interesting to date so far. Where it goes from here is anybody's guess and with two post credit scenes that went right over my head, usually some idea of who or what is being teased, it could not be more exciting to see where this particular road is leading to.



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