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ETERNALS Cements Itself as the Lowest-Rated Marvel Movie Ahead of Release

Photo from Eternal’s Instagram

ETERNALS Cements Itself as the Lowest-Rated Marvel Movie Ahead of Release

By Movieguide® Staff

Ahead of wide release, Disney Marvel’s newest movie, ETERNALS, posted the worst Rotten Tomatoes scores since THOR: THE DARK WORLD—which fans have generally agreed is the franchise’s weakest installation.

Movie critics’ early reviews have resulted in the lowest score for a Marvel Studio movie in its history.

A portion of Movieguide®’s review reads:

ETERNALS is a different kind of superhero movie from Marvel. An all-powerful supreme being sends 10 powerful, immortal beings called Eternals to protect humanity from a race of monsters called Deviants. Over time, the Eternals conquer the Deviants, or so it seems, but the Eternals remain on Earth to oversee humanity’s development. The Deviants reappear, however, after the Avengers brought back half of humanity. So, the Eternals get back together and battle this new threat. However, an apocalyptic threat against humanity develops and threatens to pit the Eternals against one another.

ETERNALS is beautifully photographed and has an epic quality to it. The action is often rousing and exciting, leading to a satisfying conclusion. Also, the character development is dramatically compelling. That said, the story suffers from too much exposition and some static dialogue. Even worse, although it promotes some Christian moral values such as love, family and sacrifice, the movie has a strong, false pagan mythology that erases Jesus from Creation and from human history. ETERNALS has a brief sex scene, a major homosexual character, some foul language, and revisionist history.

Fans have yet to throw their opinions into the mix, but Movieguide® notes that the movie’s worldview problems align with ETERNALS’ initial reviews.

ETERNALS, which will be released in theaters starting Nov. 5, also features Marvel’s first openly LGBTQ+ character in a leading role.

Directed by Chloe Zhao, best known for her Oscar-winning picture NOMADLAND, many note that it is Marvel’s most diverse cast of characters.

Slate writer Dana Stevens wrote a scathing review:

That’s not to say that Zhao’s Eternals doesn’t feel different from the average Marvel offering. This is a movie with a prominently featured gay male relationship, a (PG-13–rated) sex scene between two other major characters, the first deaf superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari), and the most diverse cast of superbeings the franchise has yet offered.

Eternals is as sociologically inclusive and as pictorially beautiful as any movie in the franchise, with scene after scene bathed in the warm light of Zhao’s favorite time of day, the pre-dusk “golden hour.” But it’s also one of the weakest Marvel movies I’ve seen, meandering and wan.

Eternals’ cinematography incorporates a little more natural light and open landscape than your average Marvel joint, but the demands of a $200 million corporate enterprise ultimately prevail over any aspirations to auteurship. That’s OK—a filmmaker of Zhao’s gifts has earned the right to try her hand at what, like it or not, is one of the dominant genres of the 21st century. She has also earned the right to make a bad movie, shrug it off and move on. Whatever world she decides to build next, I hope its heroes are significantly less super.

While critics may point to poor pacing and poor directing, ETERNALS’ major worldview problems set it a part from most of Marvel’s previous movies; and not in a positive way.

Movieguide®’s review notes:

The most disappointing aspect of ETERNALS, however, is its false pagan mythology. For the first time in its superhero movies, Marvel has decided to totally eliminate the God of the Bible, including Jesus, from Creation and human history. At least in the comic books, there’s an ultimate Supreme Being who creates the “Celestials.”

In this light, ETERNALS has a major philosophical problem. The movie talks a lot about the love for people that some of the superheroes have. Indeed, it is this love for people, as well as the love the superheroes have for one another, that ultimately saves the day during the movie’s climactic battle in the third act. However, unless you have an ultimate divine source, a Personal and Benevolent Supreme Being, or God, for such love, then the idea of love from one lesser being to another lesser being has no ultimate, transcendent foundation. At the end of the movie, Sersi says she became a better person because of her interaction with the goodness of the human race down through the centuries, but where do the human beings derive this goodness since they are, like the Eternals, created beings? Arishem, the Supreme Being in this movie, is clearly a poor substitute for the God of the Bible.


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