The Eternals paves the way for MCU’s next superhero generation

The new Marvel film, The Eternals, released on Nov. 5, puts a unique twist on the classic Marvel narrative by presenting the film in a more mature and serious tone. Available in theaters worldwide, The Eternals, directed by Cloe Zhao, is a breath of fresh air for the Marvel universe, with a cast of completely original characters and a plot independent from the Avengers.

Consisting of 10 superhumans, the Eternals from the planet Olympia are sent down to Earth to ensure protection of the human race from the alien Deviants feeding on human intelligence. The Eternals have been living among humans for 7,000 years, protecting society in secret as they await to return to their home planet.

The beauty of the film and fantastical scenery is a large part of The Eternals intrigue, with the cinematography by Ben Davis shaping the film’s aesthetics. The more neutral tones of the movie, as well as the usage of scenery with open fields and forests both create a calming atmosphere, which enhances the abrupt destruction enforced by the Deviants as they invade these landscapes.

Not only is this film a fresh change from Marvel’s usual action-packed and comedy driven films, but it is full of queer, racial and female representaion. The Chinese–British actress Gemma Chan plays Sersi, the leading woman of the film, who is able to turn anything she touches into different materials, such as water, metal or marble. At Sersi’s side stands the warrior Thena, played by Angelina Jolie, who eagerly uses her sword and shield to fight the Deviants raiding Earth, as well as the deaf Mexican–African–American actress Lauren Ridloff playing the fast as lightning Makkari.

Ridloff’s character is the first introduction of a deaf individual in the Marvelverse, with the Eternals regularly using ASL to converse and not treating Makkari’s Deafness as an obstacle. Bryan Tyree Henry plays Phastos, the first canon queer lead character in a Marvel film. Phastos has a husband and 10–year–old child, and is a part of the first–ever kiss between two men in a Marvel movie. Phastos family is normalised within the film, with the Eternals treating him no differently because of who he loves, which is important to depict in media, as it further establishes that LGBTQIA+ individuals deserve equality and to be treated with kindness.

Although critic and audience reviews are finding the film controversial, with a 48% Rotten Tomatoes score and a 6.9/10 IMDb score, Marvel’s The Eternals is a fantastic film brought to life by Chloe Zhao’s incredible vision and a cast of diverse and influential figures, bringing about a new and exciting vision for the future of Marvel superheroes.

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