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It’s been less than a year since Chloé Zhao won the Best Picture Oscar for her small-scale drama “Nomadland,” and on Monday night she unveiled a film of a very different sort: an epic Marvel movie. “Eternals” marks Zhao’s MCU debut as the co-writer and director of the star-studded film, and the first reactions praise the feature as epic in scope but intimate in nature.
“Eternals” follows a group of near-immortal beings who were created specifically to protect Earth and its inhabitants from beings known as Deviants. When the Deviants were vanquished 7,000 years ago, the Eternals were left to subtly guide humanity forward while also being expressly forbidden from intervening – unless the Deviants came back, of course. The story of the film finds the Eternals sprung into action when, you guessed it, the Deviants return.
This marks one of Marvel’s most impressive ensemble casts with Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Brian Tyree Henry, Barry Keoghan and Kit Harington starring – just to name a few.
The first reactions to “Eternals” out of the premiere praised the film’s epic scope, with some noting that it makes even “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” feel small by comparison. There was also high praise for Zhao’s focus on the relationships at the heart of the story in a way that no Marvel film has broached before. And while we’ll be avoiding spoilers here, many noted the film does not progress as expected and is full of surprises – up to and including the two postcredits scenes.
Read some of the “Eternals” reactions below. The film will be released exclusively in theaters on Nov. 5.
#Eternals breaks new ground for the MCU and not in all the ways you’re expecting. Alternating between beautiful and baffling, epic and intimate, it’s a movie of huge ideas, where the sentiment often matters more than anything going on in the story. I can’t wait to see it again.
— Drew Taylor (@DrewTailored) October 19, 2021
After 25 films Chloe Zhao incredibly took the MCU in an entirely new direction w/ #TheEternals. The franchise is matured & this is only the beginning of what is possible.
An absolutely breathtaking & epic film where @kumailn provides the laughs but @gemma_chan is the heart.
(@THATJacqueline) October 19, 2021
#Eternals is DENSE & I felt the weight of the exposition often. Movie’s at its best when the focus is on the Eternals recreating their family – the humor of it & the passion when they fight for each other and the things they love. Also, Angelina Jolie in the MCU is EVERYTHING. pic.twitter.com/rMJz0U2It2
— Perrinormal Activity (@PNemiroff) October 19, 2021
Ambitious. Expansive. Fashionable. Surprisingly funny!
Felt quite different than where we’ve been — almost forgot we were in the MCU at times.
Pleased every character has such a chance to shine.
Credits are WILD pic.twitter.com/Sc8gP7rnE2
— Ash Crossan
(@AshCrossan) October 19, 2021
#Eternals: Truly a film on another scale that still feels unbelievably human. Still dumbfounded by how massive battles balanced nuanced^n emotions amidst several time jumps that defined each character, stoked their rifts, and brought the ensemble back together again. Bravo! pic.twitter.com/ttsBzWYdjF
— Bing Pan London Chen (@BingChen) October 19, 2021
My favorite part of Marvel movies is how they consistently manage to find new ways to tell their stories. #eternals is beautifully shot & looks very different than previous MCU films. Story surprised me with some of the twists & turns. The 2 after the credits scenes are
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) October 19, 2021
Marvel’s #Eternals is spectacularly weird & rich w/ a new MCU mythology that makes it feel separate from everything else. It’s honestly refreshing. There’s a bittersweetness to the film that you feel in its sunset shots – a definite Chloé Zhao touch. It is soulful & thoughtful pic.twitter.com/pIAFAyhJ4D
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) October 19, 2021
#Eternals is one of Marvel’s most ambitious films. Epic in scope, lavishly shot, and totally unapologetic about how much lore it dumps on you.
Terrific cast, great direction, and delightfully comic book-y. Def not for everyone, but these are Jack Kirby’s space gods done right. pic.twitter.com/fsuexvcTwY
— Dan Casey (@DanCasey) October 19, 2021
I fell in love with #Eternals tonight.
It's a beautiful translation of the original Jack Kirby comic concepts and it lets us sit with characters and their emotions maybe more than any other MCU film.
It's truly epic. It's really gorgeous. Its trailers haven't done it justice. pic.twitter.com/OpyXaBM6sa
— Hector Navarro (@Hectorisfunny) October 19, 2021
#Eternals is the most different entry in the MCU filmography. The film focuses more on relationships between the characters rather than action scenes which is refreshing. Chloe Zhao’s vision and style really comes through.
— Wendy Lee Szany (@WendyLeeSzany) October 19, 2021
— Rachel Heine (@RachelHeine) October 19, 2021
ETERNALS: in style & tone this is easily the least Marvel-like movie in the MCU (it doesn't look like plastic. also, sex happens) & the scale is cosmic in a way that makes the avengers arc feel like a blip. so why is it still just misfit spandex people fighting bad CG for 3 hours
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) October 19, 2021