It had to happen sometime. Marvel Studios, which has had an incredible 12-year-run with critics and audiences may finally have a dud on its hands. Marvel’s Eternals is now the worst-reviewed MCU movie ever. With over 257 reviews in, its critical Rotten Tomatoes score has dropped to a 49%, which gives it a “rotten” rating, making it the worst-reviewed MCU movie out of the history of MCU films.
That is lower than The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World. All three, considered the worst of the MCU, have 67%, 72% and 66% RT scores respetively.
Here’s what critics are saying:
Mick LaSalle from the San Francisco Chronicle says, “A friendly word to future directors who take on the superhero genre: If you’re going to sell out your artistic integrity, just sell it and hope to buy it back with your next movie. Don’t pretend. It’s just painful. Every faux-sensitive, melancholy conversation in Eternals plays like a Blu-ray extra, like a scene deleted from the original release.
It takes a special kind of movie anti-magic to make an entire audience indifferent to the potential destruction of the planet and the elimination of all life on Earth. Eternals manages it. Thus, the pleasures in Eternals must be incidental.”
Dana Stevens from Slate agrees, “Eternals Is a Disaster of Intergalactic Proportions. The film, scripted by Zhao, Patrick Burleigh, and Ryan and Kaz Firpo, weaves plenty of jokes in with long stretches of intergalactic hocus pocus and equally long action set pieces. But the parts only sporadically cohere into anything like a whole. Zhao, a director whose previous three films have all centered on the everyday lives of working-class rural outsiders, seems ill-suited to a movie of this scale and frankly uninterested in the fight scenes.”
K. Austin Collins from Rolling Stone also agrees, “Eternals is so busy showing off what it can do, where it can go, that it bypasses and overlooks what it really has to offer. There are real dilemmas, real battles of interest buried beneath the soft-pedaled, naturally-lit, cozy surfaces of this movie.”
Jake Cole from Slant Magazine concurs, “At every turn the formula that Eternals seeks to challenge only reasserts itself, as the film is constantly given over to exposition and, with a few notable exceptions, ultimately absolving its characters of the fraught revelations of their culpability in the evil that threatens the world. At once bloated and rushed, Eternals suffers from frequent lurches in tempo that dispel its occasional moments of tranquil thoughtfulness by rehashing plot information ad nauseam until the simplest of details start to feel convoluted. Where Synder’s Justice League displayed a far greater grasp of the grandeur of Kirby’s work, Zhao ultimately robs the artist’s comic of its sweep by constantly turning a space opera into a repetitive character drama, one where demigods with the fate of the world in the palm of their hands spend far too much time sitting around a table attempting to work out their own personal issues.”
Johnny Oleksinski from the New York Post doesn’t hold back, “Seriously, what a snooze. Fresh off of winning the Best Director Oscar for Nomadland, Chloé Zhao has upchucked one of the MCU’s worst movies in ages. Angelina Jolie’s Thena has the personality of a bar of soap and an accent that suggests her semester abroad in London was the best four months of her life.
All the characters are similarly bland. Richard Madden’s Ikaris is hot, can fly and has laser eyes. Gemma Chan’s Sersi is able to change inanimate objects into other inanimate objects, but God forbid she alter her facial expression.”
Cary Darling from the Houston Chronicle didn’t love it either, “Eternals makes history as the most diverse superhero movie in terms of race, gender, orientation, age and abilities (Ridloff is deaf) and that’s remarkable in terms of representation. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’re stuck in a story that’s dull and predictable.”
Christy Lemire from RogerEbert.com eloquently says, “Director Chloé Zhao applies her distinctive aesthetic imprint to Eternals, but she can only do so much to bend the Marvel Cinematic Universe to her will. The result is a blockbuster of unusual gentle beauty that also strains to fulfill the gargantuan requirements of a massive action spectacle.
It is, in short, a bit of a mess. It is also—and I cannot stress this enough—2 hours and 37 minutes long. And yet because the talented, eclectic cast is so enormous and so much world-building must occur, Eternals ultimately feels rushed and unsatisfying. The mythology here is both dense and frequently silly, with the movie grinding to a halt around the one-hour mark for an extensive information dump. By the end, you may still be unclear as to what’s going on, but you also may not care.”
Justin Chang from Los Angeles Times, agrees, “What initially seemed fresh and invigorating devolves into something you’ve seen countless times before: The fate of the world hinges on an epic burst of teamwork, as well as one character’s perfunctory realization of long-suppressed potential. Longtime friends betray and forgive each other, and eyes and hands shoot bolts of gilded lightning. A rush of end-credits cliffhangers elicits gasps from the audience, and the final title card — “Eternals will return” — starts to sound less like a promise than a threat. You walk out in the depressing realization that you’ve just seen one of the more interesting movies Marvel will ever make, and hopefully the least interesting one Chloé Zhao will ever make.”
Peter Travers from ABC News isn’t a hater stating, “Prepare to be wowed. But not in the way you think. Eternals, the 25th epic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a plea for diversity and empathy wrapped in an eye-popping blockbuster that keeps springing surprises you don’t see coming.Cheers to Zhao for bringing a distinct touch to characters whose time on Earth involves deaf and queer communities and actors of Black, Latina, and Asian descent. Based on the comics created by Jack Kirby in 1976, the movie shows its hand with the Uni-Mind, which allows the Eternals to quit squabbling and unite as a single force.”
Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly also seemed to like it and said, “Zhao’s imprint is also hard to miss in the movie’s steady thrum of melancholy and its deeper, odder character arcs. Her sprawling cast’s superhuman powers tend to belie their extremely human traits: They fight, fall in love, and fall prey to their own egos; some have serious day jobs and even non-Eternal husbands (or at least Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos does).”
The Eternals is about a race of immortal beings with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years who reunite to battle the evil Deviants, and it comes out exclusively in theaters on Friday, November 5, 2021. The film was directed by Chloé Zhao, who also wrote the screenplay with Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, and Kaz Firpo. It stars an ensemble cast including Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Harish Patel, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie.
The film is currently in theaters.