Initial Eternals Critical Reactions Offer Mostly the Highest of Praise
With its massive ensemble cast of characters mostly new to the general public, art-house director eschewing special effects where she could, and story seemingly unrelated to the Avengers adventures, Eternals seemed like a bigger-than-usual risk for Marvel Studios. Judging by the Eternals critical reactions coming out of the junket press and trades at the premiere Monday night, however, it paid off. Save a mini-controversy involving Variety spoiling certain details — which we will not reveal here — director Chloe Zhao and the cast remain critical darlings.
Tessa Smith at MamasGeeky.com summed up the general response in her praise:
Holy crap – Eternals is a freaking MASTERPIECE!!! Packed with adrenaline right from the start, but also filled with lots of heart & humor! So many MCU firsts!! Your mind will be BLOWN! Nods to comics but a totally unique story. Those end credits are GAME CHANGERS!! #Eternals pic.twitter.com/jKiMJukn4S
— Tessa Smith – Mama’s Geeky (@MamasGeeky) October 19, 2021
The Wrap’s Drew Taylor expanded a bit on that thought:
#Eternals breaks new ground for the MCU and not in all the ways you’re expecting. Alternating between beautiful and baffling, epic and intimate, it’s a movie of huge ideas, where the sentiment often matters more than anything going on in the story. I can’t wait to see it again. pic.twitter.com/KE6oHlU8xI
— Drew Taylor (@DrewTailored) October 19, 2021
As did Fandango’s Erik Davis:
There’s A LOT of story to devour in #Eternals (it spans thousands of years!), but Zhao does a good job balancing it all. Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry & Kumail Nanjiani were my favs, but everyone is good & they all have fascinating powers. Some truly great character moments, too pic.twitter.com/ZUDBGfHeXq
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) October 19, 2021
Scott Menzel of We Live Entertainment offered a most surprising comparison. But one meant as a compliment:
Eternals is Marvel’s version of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. A film that builds upon a cast of unknown characters and does so with great success. Chloé Zhao direction is superb. Easily one of the best looking Marvel films of all time. Insane post credits scenes too. #Eternals pic.twitter.com/TbZlqPJxGQ
— Scott Menzel (@ScottDMenzel) October 19, 2021
And THR‘s Brian Davids notes that the director’s voice remains strong:
— Brian Davids (@PickYourBrian) October 19, 2021
Not everyone gushed quite as much, but the reservations generally came across as minor. Jenna Busch, who used to co-host a show with Stan Lee, found it a bit too much:
Lots of great humor and some really sweet moments. Fun mid- and after-credits scenes. I liked so much of it, but it was too much to put into one film. Brian Tyree Henry and Kumail Nanjiani are wonderful…could they have a spin-off please? #Eternals (2 of 2)
— Jenna Booooooosch (@JennaBusch) October 19, 2021
Perri Nemiroff also felt it too dense, but still liked it:
#Eternals is DENSE & I felt the weight of the exposition often. Movie’s at its best when the focus is on the Eternals recreating their family – the humor of it & the passion when they fight for each other and the things they love. Also, Angelina Jolie in the MCU is EVERYTHING. pic.twitter.com/rMJz0U2It2
— Perrinormal Activity (@PNemiroff) October 19, 2021
And Scott Mendelson at Forbes leaned just barely positive, suggesting Marvel is coasting on their laurels:
#Eternals flirts with being “just a superhero movie” but (barely) gets by on scale, a few affable actors and some eventual intrugue. At its best, it almost plays like Marvel playing in the DCEU sandbox but coasting on comparatively generic superhero archetypes. pic.twitter.com/Im83hV6sm0
— Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) October 19, 2021
No major reactions found by Superhero Hype came off as anything less than leaning positive. But perhaps the funniest reaction was the BBC taking an affectionate swipe at the film’s production design:
— Doctor Who on BBC America (@DoctorWho_BBCA) October 19, 2021
Reportedly, the embargo on full reviews will lift on Sunday, with non-junket press actually seeing the film Monday. So while not everyone weighed in yet, this feels like a great start.
What do you expect from Eternals? Let us know in comments!
Recommended Reading: The Eternals by Jack Kirby Vol. 1
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