Let me first say that Eternals is an emotionally charged film but it's also a film that has moments void of any emotion and feels empty and it’s in these awkward moments that weighed down the strong parts of the film. It is a visual spectacle; it is beautifully shot, it's grand and operatic with some poetry to the shots and I mean they are poetic when you look at the context of them and there's many instances like that here, where it's really toned down and even though, it's about these super powered celestial beings who have been alive for eons, there’s still this sense of awe and love for humanity.
The direction and writing (shady leaning towards meh writing) find a way to ground and make them feel closer to us, though we know that they are not human and that's the one thing I liked about Eternals. They weren't trying to make them human; they were in a way just making these powerful God-like creatures just understand feeling. And that's when Eternals and Chloe worked great, when they were just understanding and processing feelings. When it was just, for me, about a family coming together after tragedy or just working through whatever is unsaid and is underneath the surface, it worked. HOWEVER, that kind of focus is placed on one or two characters, which makes the others suffer greatly, thus the film’s character progression also suffers which is bad.
I mean this is one of the major problems I have with the film, especially with the handling of certain characters, example with Thena, I felt like the film fails to explore her trauma which she clearly has, but rather the film makes her lean on another character and which is fine. The film still then fails to have these two characters work through that major trauma which is causing a major glitch in Thena’s mental state, effecting who she is at her core.
Also I felt like Druig presented interesting thoughts and ideas about humanity that aren’t explored to their fullest, there’s something there but Chloe decides not to go Which is upsetting because that would have played well into her core themes. There’s a lot of characters leaning into each other, without resolving their issues and that hinders their growth but also this is a very MCU thing, character’s never fully resolve anything, they just sweep it under the rug, hide it with some ill-timed humour and move on, and for this film it was not deserved.
Also, the way in which the story unfolds, the whole back and forth time jump thing um… I don't know hey, it was just kind of like they felt that we wouldn't be smart enough to sort of... uhm understand or grasp the story if it unfolded in a linear manner, which would have helped with the film’s operatic and grand feel you know? Trying to capture human history through flashbacks and jumping back to the present in between, is a bit jarring and makes the story feel disjointed and deads any emotion, plus we didn’t need the title cards every time it came back to the present, I mean we could tell that it’s the present, trust us the audience.
It just felt like they were dumbing it down for us and that irked me a bit because I'm like we are in the peak superhero film-making era, we have seen films that deconstruct the superhero genre, we have seen films that do so many things with the genre, and this shouldn't be any different. Also Eternals is a film that did not deserve it's run time, its a long film, it's unnecessarily long and that runtime deserved to be cut down because it ended up being filled with moments that were utterly flat and hindered the progression. The writing really let's it down when it should be soaring to match the beautiful visuals.
Eternals doesn't feel like an MCU film, and I think that is a great thing. There is a nice romantic sense about the film, but it's balanced beautifully with this awe and wonder for humanity, and not just about humanity but like about life in the universe and what it's like to be connected by love or like connection with another being. And I think that's where it works wonderfully when it does this and not the superhero-ing or whatever.
Uhm ultimately, I loved the smaller moments of the film, where Chloe focuses on being naturalistic with these god-like characters, I think it's interesting but it doesn't work as superhero film due to the simple fact that Chloe's humanistic and naturalistic approach doesn't match well with the MCU formula. Otherwise I’m still pretty much conflicted about whether I think Eternals is great or bad and I’ve seen it twice now. I just don't know but these are my thoughts essentially.