The Fourth Host: ‘Eternals’ Proves Divisive in First Wave of Reviews

Marvel Studios Eternals will open up for Thursday night previews in just 10 days and the first wave of reviews from the New York and Los Angeles press screenings and premiers are now online. You can read our review right here, but it is safe to say that the reviews to Marvel Studios 26th film are as divided as any film since 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Too Much Talk

A common criticism of the film is that large portions of it serve as actionless exposition. While that might be expected of a film that attempts to explain the origins of an entire universe, it didn’t land with everyone:

Peri Nemiroff (YouTube): “The weight of complicated exposition weakens the energy of Eternals a little too often.

Rodrigo Perez (Inverse): “Eternals is a chore to explain too, and even comes with an opening “Star Wars”-like crawl—it is by far the Marvel movie with the most mumbo jumbo backstory explaining the setup of things.

Different is Good

Some critics believed that director Chloe Zhao accomplished something truly unlike anything the MCU put to screen before:

Don Kaye (Den of Geek): “… Marvel Studios’ Eternals doesn’t feel much like the “typical” Marvel movie, whatever that may be.

Robert Abele (The Wrap): “But what makes “Eternals” feel special is that, for once, the director genuinely cares as much about the character within that spectacle, as the spectacle itself.

Different is Bad

Other critics believe that Eternals fell short, in part, by moving away from the Marvel formula.

Steve Rose (The Guardian): “It’s not exactly boring – there’s always something new to behold – but nor it is particularly exciting, and it lacks the breezy wit of Marvel’s best movies.

David Ehrlich (Polygon): “By making such an unadventurous movie about how crisis breeds creativity, Marvel effectively illustrates why even the most independent-minded of filmmakers are powerless to evolve an apex predator franchise that doesn’t have any Darwinian impetus to adapt.

Reading through a dozen or so reviews, you’ll see some critics praise the use of locations over CGI backdrops and see others cite it as a fault; you’ll see some praise the plot, while others say it’s too dense and complicated. On the whole, the reviews are just as divided on Eternals as the team of Eternals within the movie have become over 7,000 years. As always, the best way to determine how you feel about a film is to see it yourself.

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