Thoughts & Essays

Re: Eternals (Spoilers)

We finally watched Eternals last night, and I must say, that certainly was a very pretty two hours of boring shit.

I didn’t like it. In fact, I actively disliked quite a lot of it – which is new. I usually love Marvel movies. Even the ones that aren’t that great are at least fun.

For example – I haven’t been super thrilled with the first two Spider-Man movies, but there was a lot of good stuff in them and I enjoyed watching them even if I didn’t really care for how they were handling the character. Didn’t love the first couple of Thor movies – Thor was such a huge stick-in-the-mud – but they were still fun to watch. Didn’t love Captain Marvel – it felt very staid and by-the-numbers, like the movie was telling me “here’s your dumb women’s empowerment flick, now leave us alone,” but I still loved the part where Carol blasted the bad guy two feet into a mountain after he demanded she fight him without her powers.

But Eternals was just… boring. Which is a shame! They did a lot of things that should have been cool! The cast was diverse. There was a gay main character with a husband and a kid. The effects were really pretty. I just didn’t give a single shit about any of the characters and actively hated a few of them. The plot made no sense. The planet still probably should have been seriously broken. One of the end credits scenes introduced Eros, which, awesome, that’s what this movie was missing, the rapey character. The only mildly interesting character in the movie was Dane, and he was only in the movie for 15 minutes and we didn’t learn anything about him.

Patton Oswald was in one of the end credit scenes. That was neat.

So, here’s a few problems I had. There’s one character, Druig. His power is mind control. This guy is apparently capable of mind-controlling the entire human population, and, importantly, he wants to do that. In fact, he spends much of his time mind-controlling a whole population of people for shits and giggles, so he can run an efficient commune in the South American jungle somewhere. And the rest of the characters’ reactions to this are basically, “I dunno, man, this seems kind of rude,” but that’s it.

What he’s doing is objectively evil. This is considered objectively evil on a universal basis. This is the villain’s plot in more works of fiction than I can name. And no one stops him or even appears to care that much. He gets a mild scolding. A light finger-wag a couple of times. Like. What?

Another character, Ikaris, is the nominal leading man, and he does a big heel turn because he thinks the plot that will destroy the Earth should go ahead and happen on account of it will create billions more lives eventually, even if it ends the lives of everyone on Earth and like, my dude, you are murdering billions of people right now because you think it will create billions more later, this is not good ethics. This is obviously wrong and bad.

And, props to the movie, people at least call him out on this, but not, you know, with any real conviction. They’re like, “Well, yeah, billions later, but we like a couple of the humans here and this planet is kind of pretty.” Not, notably, “NOTHING THAT RESULTS IN BILLIONS OF DEATHS IS A GOOD IDEA YOU PETULANT DINGUS THERE IS ALMOST CERTAINLY A BETTER WAY TO GO ABOUT THIS.”

Another aspect of the movie that I absolutely loathed was that the Eternals took all the agency away from the human population. According to the movie, basically, humans only evolved and developed civilizations and built technology because the Eternals were there holding their hands and leading them along. And like, fuck you, movie, I hate this trope when it shows up. “You dumb monkeys would never have accomplished anything if hadn’t been for these god-like entities,” get bent, movie, I hate you.

The movie insinuates that everything good humans did was due to the Eternals and everything bad humans did was on humans and look,

Humans in the real world are awful, short-sighted little trash monkeys that fell out of trees and immediately started screwing everything up. We’ve committed untold horrors on each other and the planet. But as many horrors as we’ve perpetrated, we’ve also done tons of good and amazing shit. I hate the trope that humans are bad and are only forced to be good by an outside force. No, we do both. And it’s on us to reckon with that. And when a story takes that away from us, it drives me crazy.

Also worth pointing out: the Celestial the Eternals were trying to stop from being born, was partially born, and is now sticking partway out of the Earth, and sure, it’s only a hand and part of a head, but the sheer scale of this thing means that’s a lot. I’m not good at math or physics, but I feel certain that suddenly having a whole new massive mountain, basically, erupt out of the Earth from the actual core of the planet into the Indian Ocean will have lasting repercussions. And that isn’t even mentioned.

Okay, I get it, Marvel has not been good at things with lasting repercussions in general. And I know it’s a comic book trope – fuck everything up colossally, and it’s all fine again in the next issue and no one talks about it. But an entire actual entity partially erupted out of the Earth’s core and then died and is just sitting there. A whole-ass god appeared in the sky and spoke to the planet. Notably, a whole-ass god that bears a striking resemblance to the new mountain in the Indian Ocean. I feel like a few people should have something to say about that. I dunno, I guess humans couldn’t cope with that because the Eternals didn’t teach us to.

Also, what was even the point of the Deviants? They did nothing. The one that evolved? Did nothing. Their whole plot was meaningless and amounted to nothing. They were only there so the Eternals had some goons to fight while they were figuring shit out. What was even the point of having the one evolve? There wasn’t one.

I actively disliked this movie and all its characters, and I’m mad I spent two hours watching it. Also, it looks like they’re setting up for a sequel involving Eros (Starfox), AKA, the rapey Avenger. His power is making people fall in love with him, which he has used on multiple occasions to sleep with people and screw around with people. Yeah, sure. Let’s make a movie with that guy. Gross.