An ‘Eternals’ Retrospective: Behind the Screen of Marvel Studios Divisive Film

It has been more than a year since Marvel Studios released Eternals, a blockbuster film that has been met with a multitude of reactions from audiences and critics alike. As we commemorate the first anniversary of its release, it is fitting to reflect on the film’s production, its place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the creative process of its director, Chloé Zhao.

Upon its initial release, Eternals garnered 400 million dollars in revenue, cementing its success as a new franchise within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, its future within the franchise remains uncertain due to its more mature tone and lack of humorous elements, which diverge from the usual “aesthetic” of Marvel films.

Despite its financial success, the release of Eternals was not without its challenges. The film faced significant censorship in Chinese markets and faced a boycott campaign in the United States by conservative political parties due to its premise of diversity and representation. This irony is not lost on Zhao, who aimed to create a film that truly represents the diverse world we live in, a world where people of all backgrounds and experiences coexist and shape our society. In doing so, Zhao also sought to bring together a cast that represents those who are often seen as misfits, outcasts, and underdogs in mainstream media, showcasing their strength, resilience, and inherent worth. The ultimate goal was to give the audience a sense of connection to these characters, to see them not as representatives of their ethnicity or nationality, but as a loving family.

On the technical side, the flick is a masterclass in visual storytelling and technical proficiency. From the very beginning of the film, Zhao’s unique visual style is evident, as she uses a variety of techniques to draw the viewer into the world of the film.

One of the most notable aspects of Zhao’s direction is her incorporation of elements of classical cinema into the film. She frequently employs long takes and elaborate camera movements, reminiscent of the work of directors like Stanley Kubrick, to heighten the emotional impact of key moments in the film. Additionally, she incorporates elements of classical Hollywood glamour, such as glamorous costume design and sweeping, epic score, to add a sense of grandeur and timelessness to the film. These nods to the golden age of cinema lend Eternals a sense of timelessness and classicism, and further reinforce the themes of legacy and eternity that are central to the film’s narrative.

Eternals has the potential to be more than just a typical superhero film and offer a deeper and more complex viewing experience. One possibility for showcasing Eternals within the MCU could be to present it as an anthology series, separate from the main MCU story, which would allow for a more in-depth exploration of the characters and world without being restricted by the overall continuity. The final decision on how to present Eternals in the MCU will depend on the filmmakers and the studio, but it is definitely an exciting possibility worth considering.

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