Eternals ★★★½

Eternals is easily the most out-of-the-box film in the MCU. When it does its own thing, it's a really interesting and engrossing tale that traverses some new ground. When it has to remind viewers that it's an MCU film, it's pretty annoying. Perhaps because the tone is mostly different than the rest of the MCU, those moments feel jarring, and serve to take the viewer out of the storyline.

This somewhat extends to the film's need to be an action movie as well. Though some action does inherently feel necessary for the story, there is an entire subplot of the film that only serves the purpose of adding fight scenes. While some of these scenes are fun, by the third act they are nothing more than a distraction from the main plot.

Thankfully that main plot is pretty interesting. Far from a normal "villain of the week" plot, the movie instead focuses on a more philosophical concept, which allows the heroes to not only have a goal, but also share their very different ideas about the conflict. This makes for an intriguing through-line, even though the film isn't willing to engage with it 100%.

There's a truly great film sitting within Eternals, but it's frustrating to see the franchise holding it back from achieving its true potential. It ultimately boils down to the fact that this is a story that simply doesn't mesh very well with the universe, and would probably have been better kept somewhat at a distance. As is, it is an interesting and engaging film, but one with significant issues.

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