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Eternals branded Marvel’s ‘most disappointing film’ in early reviews calling out ‘insipid’ characters

Highly anticipated film starring Angelina Jolie and Richard Madden dubbed ‘a mess’

Annabel Nugent
Tuesday 26 October 2021 12:30 BST
Eternals trailer
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Reviews for Eternals continue to roll in – and it appears that some viewers will likely be disappointed by Marvel’s latest film.

Based on the comic book series of the same name, Eternals – which is directed by Oscar-winning Nomadland filmmaker Chloe Zhao – focuses on a race of immortal beings who protect the planet Earth from supernatural threats.

Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani and Kit Harington star in the film alongside Salma Hayek, Brian Tyree Henry and Richard Madden.

Eternals has been one of the studio’s most anticipated releases but if reviews are anything to go by, Marvel fans should temper their expectations.

The Guardian’s Steve Rose wrote that “there’s just too much going on”, adding: “It’s not exactly boring – there’s always something new to behold – but nor is it particularly exciting.

“It lacks the breezy wit of Marvel’s best movies,” said Rose.

In his review for Polygon, Joshua Rivera called the film “a mess” and “contemplative to a fault”, writing that “the film’s cast is too big to give every character a fulfilling arc”.

“Unfortunately, Eternals isn’t bold, merely incongruous,” writes Rivera. “The simpler explanation is truer: Eternals is a mess.”

(Marvel Studios)

The BBC’s Nicholas Barber noted how the huge anticipation surrounding the film has heightened the sense of regret at its eventual release.

Eternals may not be the worst of Marvel’s movies, but it’s undoubtedly the most disappointing,” said Barber.

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In a two-star review for The Telegraph, Robbie Collin discussed Jolie’s hugely hyped entry into the franchise as “regal swordswoman Thena”.

He wrote that the part is “a parody of a Jolie character: all piercing stares and breathy monologues, until it’s time for her CG avatar to tap in and perform some preposterous combat acrobatics”.

Speaking about the cast, Collin added that “much is made of the fact the ten-strong team are capital-D diverse – which might have meant something if they weren’t also completely capital-I insipid”.

(Marvel Studios / YouTube)

A three star review for Empire notes that “playing on such a colossal stage, it’s inevitably challenging to keep the focus at the (super)human level” , conceding that it is not the boundary-pushing film that fans may be looking for.

“This is still business as usual for Marvel – a continuation, rather than a great leap,” writes critic John Nugent.

A review for The Hollywood Reporter is less critical than others. “While the zigzagging convolution of the storytelling can prove frustrating, particularly the film’s lumpy first half, there’s plenty to keep you engaged in the mix of camaraderie, friction and rivalry among the bantering Eternals,” writes David Rooney.

Eternals is released in UK cinemas on 5 November.

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