FILM REVIEW | Eternals

Marvel Studios makes great movies.

This can't be denied - from massive team-ups like the Avengers quadrilogy, to origin stories and smaller tales, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has very few duds.

Unfortunately, Eternals is one of them.

The ambitious new addition to the MCU, directed by newly-minted Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao, introduces a slew of new super beings into the mix and fails to either give them enough screen time or make the audience care about them.

It's a real shame, as the cast that's assembled is top notch and their characters are interesting.

But Eternals buckles under the weight of its ensemble and overly expansive story.

Marvel's previous successes with massive casts - particularly Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame - worked so well because audiences were already familiar with and invested in the characters.

Too ambitious: Ma Dong-seok, Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Lia McHugh and Brian Tyree Henry star in Marvel's Eternals, rated M, in cinemas now. Picture: Disney

Too ambitious: Ma Dong-seok, Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Lia McHugh and Brian Tyree Henry star in Marvel's Eternals, rated M, in cinemas now. Picture: Disney

But in Eternals, we've never met the titular heroes before, so that inherent character familiarity and appreciation, which allows more time for story-building, is not there.

All that being said, our newest MCU actors do a great job - especially leads Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians) as Sersi and Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) as Ikaris - and much of the film is shot beautifully.

It's just unfortunate that many of the other talented cast members (Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Ma Dong-seok, Lia McHugh and Kit Harington) haven't got enough screen time to make their mark.

There are also several plot holes and anachronisms that are glaring to anyone paying attention (and the MCU typically begs you to pay attention with tiny clues), not least of which is their use of English with varied accents from the moment they arrive on earth in 5000 BC.

The driving force of the story - that the Eternals must eliminate space beasts on Earth to protect humans, while not interfering in any of their internal conflicts - is not particularly strong as far as Marvel plots go. It would probably have been interesting enough to just spend some time with these characters working stuff out over 7000 years, without the threat of unimpressive beasties.

Rating: 5.5/10