Diversity Can’t Save Eternals. It’s a Cosmic Disaster.

The key ingredient to the success and popularity of Marvel Cinematic Universe is charisma. Robert Downey Jr. was the Iron Man. Captain America by Chris Evans finally found it. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor had the Biceps. To simulate it, self-awareness and mindfulness. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow Get started Plenty of itThen, you will find it. It was lost. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is so full of information that nobody, even Hiddleston, knows exactly what it should do. (Hence the, Find out more about Lokis(.) Supporting actors, ranging from Florence Pugh and Samuel L. Jackson to Don Cheadle to Awkwafina, filled the gaps with their impressive, widely appealing screen presences.

Marvel’s movies about superheroes delivered entertainment and high intergalactic stakes. Did-you-spot that?Comic book lovers will love these Easter eggs and other lore. They were first and foremost built upon the appeal of vibrant, appealing characters.

When the characters worked, the movies worked—even if everything else was kind of a mess.

The fact is that EternalsWhile the MCU’s third installment, titled, may be a bit of a disaster, it is not necessarily a problem. But the problem is with EternalsThe problem is that this movie features boring characters. It is overlong and dependent upon barely understandable lore. The film also lacks interest as a spectacle. EternalsIt is a disaster in cosmic proportions.

From the first minute, it’s terrible. The film begins with a horrible text dump of cosmic mythology about Celestials/Deviants and the “six singularities”, (which are never referred to again), and Arishem, a huge robot-looking space God. None of this matters.

The foundational work of Jack Kirby is the source for this material. WorkMarvel Comics’ cosmic comic book universe. The only reason it did well on the page was because Kirby delivered it. Amazing artworkThe, which took the bizarre trippyness of Marvel comics circa-1970s and recreated it on an interstellar level. It didn’t matter if Kirby’s lore made sense or not—please, fellow dorks, do not try to explain the First Firmament or the Aspirants to me—it was so awe-inspiringly weird and grandiose that you just accepted it on the strength of its imaginative ridiculousness. EternalsHowever, he gives it to us in a solemn, introductory text. It’s set on a dark screen like homework before taking a major exam.

We do eventually see one or more Celestials on the screen. They look pretty neat. The movie portrays them as mysterious totems that should be revered with quiet tones, rather than the comic-book gaga scifi marvels that Kirby depicts.

Still, these planet-sized interstellar overlords are the film’s most powerful ideas and images—which is itself kind of a problem. The only character that I was interested in learning more about at the end of the movie was Arishem. He is the mysterious, cosmically unknown god-thing, with the loud voice and many eyes.

Because every other character on screen is a complete bore. Yes, the movie has the requisite quippy banter and superheroes-are-normal-people shtick bits, including an entire scene built around jokes about beer fermented in spit, which is even less funny than it sounds. The gags are all forced into the script to satisfy the expected comic requirements of Marvel movies.

The characters are worse than box-checking: They don’t have any identifiable personalities other than “serious”, “comic” and “serious”. Angelina Jolie’s warrior Eternal Thena sometimes goes crazy, but this subplot is a misbegotten one. The team instead comes together like it was put together following the checklist of a corporate diversity specialist. EternalsThe resulting document is called “The Founders of the Internet”. The diversity of its offerings was what it and director, it substitutes empty identity symbols for relatability.

A lot of it is due to bad casting choices. The Superman-like Ikaris is played by Richard Madden from Scotland. It’s more a matter of the script. The actors are limited to engaging in basic banter, until they get the bad guys. At that point, the performers must start using computer-generated laser light from their hands.

Nothing can improve once the light show begins. Marvel films often look bland, particularly when it comes to effects and sequences. However, this is far too common. Eternal just looks like green screen garbage. The computer generated sequences look hazy and muddy. bad dudes look like they were rendered on a PlayStation 2.

One of the ironies about Eternals It is, in part, a lesson on humanity’s goodness. That goodness rests on our human ability to create beauty that inspires. Director Chloé Zhao has certainly shown that she’s capable of creating such images: Her previous film, the Oscar-winning NomadlandThe desolate beauty that is the American West today was captured by a man of extraordinary grandeur. There’s not much here that is even remotely amazing. Instead, EternalsHer earlier works were characterized by ethereal gestures and some depressingly unattractive sequences. They were all set in a small farmhouse in the Dakotas.

Of course, it’s one thing to put up with cruddy-looking visuals if the action scenes are cleverly designed, and if the characters and story have real emotional stakes—or at least some winning protagonists and inspired humor. 

Indeed, it is worth comparing EternalsTo Shang-Chi, the Legend of the Ten Rings and Shang-Chi The previous MCU feature. At the conclusion of it all, there is a big monster fight Shang-Chi The story was equally light and sometimes muddy. However, the story featured some wonderfully bizarre beats. One subplot was about Ben Kingsley’s relationship to a psychic winged butt. It’s even better than what it sounds, unlike the spit beer bit. You can be energetic Action scenes—some of the best in the MCU—balanced grace, cleverness, and knowing cinematic reference. They had an emotional connection with their main characters, as well as a purpose and a personality. Their characters shared a common purpose, purpose and personality. CharmingThe movie was also made. Shang-ChiIt was both a varied and good film. EternalsOnly half of the equation is possible.