Category: Movies

Eternals: Chloé Zhao’s impossible task

by Savannah Brooks

When you think of a film with ten leads, two timelines, a 7,000-year time span, and a 2 hour and 37-minute runtime, you generally don’t think of a five-star film. Eternals could not have been handled more gracefully by anyone other than Chloé Zhao, who recently won Best Director for Nomadland at the 2021 Oscars. Eternals, as a singular film, chronicles the entire history of the group of immortals, from when they arrived on Earth in the time of Mesopotamia to today, something that has taken Marvel comics over ten comic book runs (so far) to accomplish. 

Speaking of comic books, Eternals deviates far from its source material (if you haven’t seen the film yet, stop reading here – spoilers ahead!). In the comics, the Eternals have their name for a reason – when they die, they’re resurrected, so they are never truly gone. In the movie, when they die, they die, which makes sense from a practical standpoint, since the actors will age (whereas art never will), so the Marvel Cinematic Universe can’t keep reviving their characters for longer than a century or so, but removes so much of their appeal. Salma Hayek’s character, Ajak, is also killed in the first act of the film, which is heavily disappointing once the viewer finds out she isn’t coming back. This, too, raises the question of how none of the ten died in a 7,000 year time period, yet three die in a week. There’s also the large change of Richard Madden’s Ikaris turning against the rest of the Eternals – in the comics, Ikaris is the vision of a hero, and even serves as the Prime Eternal for a short amount of time. He is often considered the leader of the Eternals and would never dream of turning against them. While fans of the character may have been dissatisfied with the path he took, the twist certainly surprised even the most devoted comic book fans. 

One major change was certainly for the better – Eternals is significantly more diverse than its comic counterpart and any other movie the MCU has produced. Six of ten of the leads are people of color, and half are women. Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos is the first LGBTQ+ hero in the MCU, and Ajak, Lia McHugh’s Sprite, and Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari are all genderbent – in the comics, their characters were men. Makkari has another major change: in the movie, she is deaf and communicates only through sign language. Ridloff herself is deaf, and she plays the first deaf character in the MCU. Makkari’s power is super speed, so her deafness makes sense, and is actually a part of her powers – her speed creates sonic booms, which don’t affect her since she cannot hear them. This is one of several intentional small details scattered throughout the film by Zhao that contribute to Eternals’ significance in the Marvel universe. The film is extremely different from anything Marvel has done before. It is filled with meticulous and careful design like Barry Keoghan’s Druig and Angelina Jolie’s Thena viewing the painting “The Monk by the Sea,” which was placed intentionally as foreshadowing. 

Even with its star-studded cast, beautiful storytelling, and breathtaking cinematography (Zhao insisted on shooting on location as much as possible, which made the film that much more real and aesthetically pleasing), Eternals still was too much of a challenge to be handled perfectly. The juggling of ten leads was overwhelming, especially for the casual viewer. The uniqueness of the characters’ names didn’t help, either – if you didn’t have any familiarity with the comics, keeping track of the leads was not an easy task. Kro, the secondary villain, was also incredibly underwhelming, He had maybe five minutes of screentime and did not hold any significance in the final conflict of the film – he could have been cut from the film and it would have been almost entirely the same with more time to spend on the leads. Overall, the cast and Zhao held Eternals together and made it special – Madden’s first venture into the superhero genre showed just how right he is for it (if Ikaris never makes another appearance, I personally might riot), Jolie’s veteran status shone and her portrayal of a wounded warrior was absolutely heartbreaking and incredibly real, and Gemma Chan’s Sersi served as a wonderful connection between these gods and us humans. Kumail Nanjiani’s comic relief was some of the best I’ve seen from him (and I’m a huge fan) especially when he was with Mchugh, who, at only 16 years of age, took on her role as a centuries-old being with ease. Keoghan and Ridloff were surprising standouts who had palpable amounts of chemistry, even when they weren’t touching foreheads. I was very happy to see Ma Dong-seok venture into American cinema as the lovable Gilgamesh, and I hope his performance encourages more Americans to watch Korean films. Hayek, even in her limited screentime, recreated Ajak as a sensible and caring matriarch and showed why she is such an iconic figure in American pop culture, and Tyree Henry shone as Marvel’s first gay hero with a beautifully emotional and touching execution of Phastos. Kit Harington and Harish Patel as Dane and Karun are worth mentioning as well – their human perspectives helped ground the film and the most laughs surely came due to Patel’s genius comedic timing.
Eternals, in its poor ratings and its characters’ obscurity, still cements itself as a turning point for the MCU and a lovely film in its own right. Its diversity and Zhao’s attention to detail set important precedents not just for the MCU, but for Hollywood as a whole. I give Eternals four stars.

Wonder Woman 1984: The Wonder Woman movie about men

By Savannah Brooks

Spoilers ahead!

Wonder Woman 1984, which was released on HBO’s streaming service in December, had high expectations. Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was one of the best movies D.C. has produced – less dark and more friendly to casual audiences than its predecessors, the movie drew people in with its famed heroine (Chris Pine didn’t hurt either). In this reviewer’s opinion, Wonder Woman 1984 fell far short of the standard that Wonder Woman set.

Continue reading “Wonder Woman 1984: The Wonder Woman movie about men”

[Spoilers] Review: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is jam-packed and heavy

By Brooke Kaluzienski

Photo via Marvel

The movie “Avengers: Infinity War” is the culmination of ten years of Marvel movies, starting with 2008’s “Iron Man.”

Continue reading “[Spoilers] Review: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is jam-packed and heavy”

‘Avengers: Infinity War’: Infinity Stones, explained

By Brooke Kaluzienski

Photo via Marvel/Disney

One of the unique factors of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is the existence of six powerful relics that predate the universe itself. These relics are called the Infinity Stones. The concept of the Infinity Stones was first introduced in “Captain America: The First Avenger” with HYDRA’s use of the Tesseract, and the mystery surrounding the Stones has grown from there. Continue reading “‘Avengers: Infinity War’: Infinity Stones, explained”

[Spoilers] Review: ‘Black Panther’ celebrates African culture and black role models

By Brooke Kaluzienski

Photo via Movie Still

“Black Panther” is a cinematic masterpiece, combining incredible acting, beautiful costumes, and an amazing soundtrack with a brilliant plot and script to create a movie that jumped to #1 in the world soon after coming out. It’s no surprise that this happened, because the movie was highly anticipated. Also, it’s so incredible that some people have, or will, see it multiple times—myself included. Continue reading “[Spoilers] Review: ‘Black Panther’ celebrates African culture and black role models”

More than just a movie: why ‘Black Panther’ is so important

By Brooke Kaluzienski

Photo via Marvel/Disney

A long-awaited movie, “Black Panther,” coming to theaters Feb. 16, 2018 in the U.S., had captivated fans even by its first announcement. An all-black superhero movie was unheard of and is an incredible push toward racial equality in movies. With the introduction of the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” and with the way he completely stole the show, a standalone film for the character was inevitable, and to not have one would have been a disgrace. Continue reading “More than just a movie: why ‘Black Panther’ is so important”

Movies to look out for in 2018

By Sierra McFarlane

New year, new movies! Films that have been in production for a while now are finally going to be displayed on the big screen for audiences around the world. While these films have yet to be released, excitement is already swarming on social media for some of the soon-to-be blockbusters. Here’s a few of the upcoming films for 2018. Continue reading “Movies to look out for in 2018”

Five Arundel students share what they’re most excited for in ‘The Last Jedi’

(Photo via LucasFilm)

By Laura Bonnington

With a month to go before The Last Jedi hits theaters, it’s time to get excited! Continue reading “Five Arundel students share what they’re most excited for in ‘The Last Jedi’”