‘Eternals’ Review: Angelina Jolie Shines In Marvel’s Visually-Stunning But Busy Epic

Marvel assembles a strong cast with vets like Angelina Jolie and newbies like Lia McHugh for its latest film 'Eternals.' While 'Eternals' does suffer from an overstuffed plot, 'Eternals' is at its heart a family drama and less superhero blockbuster.

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Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios/Marvel/Everett Collection

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand and is bringing the Eternals into the fold. Chloé Zhao directs Marvel’s latest tale that explores the past and present of the 10 Eternals. While we haven’t seen them yet within the MCU, the Eternals have been around for thousands of years. They’re a cosmic race created by Celestials who protect humans from Deviants.

Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, and Don Lee. (Walt Disney Studios/Marvel/Everett Collection)

Introducing a whopping 10 key characters in one movie is a feat, but Eternals does the best it can with its 2-hour and 37-minute runtime. Honestly, Eternals would have been better suited as a Disney+ limited series. While Sersi is supposed to emerge as the leader of the pack, it’s actually Thena, Druig, and Phastos who have the most emotional depth.

Angelina Jolie doesn’t get nearly enough screen time, but she does wonders in the time that she’s given. Angelina plays Thena with quiet force. Thena is a fighter to the bone, but the weight of her thousands of years of living has begun to weigh on her. Druig seeks to use his powers to prevent violence in the world and finds himself at odds with other members of the group. Barry Keoghan brings a swagger to his Druig and doesn’t hesitate to throw his sarcasm at other members of the group. He spices the movie up when it’s needed.

While Sersi (Gemma Chan) and Ikaris’ relationship is central to the Eternals plot, the most effortless chemistry between a pair within the group is between Druig and Makkari, played by Lauren Ridloff, who makes history as Marvel’s first deaf superhero. Despite years apart, Druig and Makkari’s connection is undeniable. They’re playful and fun, but there’s an unspoken emotional pull to them that’s lacking between Sersi and Ikaris (Richard Madden).

Marvel is making more history with Phastos, the franchise’s first gay superhero. Brian Tyree Henry steps into the role with such ease. Phastos has settled for a normal life after thousands of years with the Eternals and lives a quiet and fulfilling life as a father and husband. Phastos steps up when he’s needed most in hopes of protecting his family. The stakes are high for everyone, but Phastos has so much more to lose than the other Eternals, which makes this cosmic being more relatable than any of the others.

Lauren Ridloff
Lauren Ridoff and Barry Keoghan in ‘Eternals.’ (Walt Disney Studios/Marvel/Everett Collection)

Even though too many storylines clog Eternals, the film is exceptionally stunning. Zhao does a stellar job with the visual effect, some of the best in the MCU. Many of Zhao’s wide shots are breathtaking. Her use of the broad and beautiful landscapes around her, rather than CGI, help elevate the film.

Eternals goes against the typical Marvel movie grain, and there are times that it works and times that it doesn’t. There are plenty of ways the Eternals could be incorporated throughout the MCU, and by the end of the movie, the possibilities are very exciting. Eternals will be released in theaters on November 5.

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