By Senji Torrey
Public Relations Manager
SPOILER ALERT: MARVEL ETERNALS. On average, I only see one movie in a theater every year, and that movie is usually a Marvel film. This year was no different as I paid my $12 admission to watch the extraordinary Eternals in action.
Eternals begins with a prologue explaining how the celestial being Arishem created a roster of Eternals to regulate the populations of Deviants on many different planets. It quickly introduces Ajak, played by Salma Hayek, who serves as the unofficial leader of the Earth’s Eternals.
On that note, let’s introduce some of my favorite Eternals. Ranked from least to most likely to pass a vibe check, we start with Ikaris. Richard Madden, Ikaris (aka b-tech Superman), takes the helm as the strongest Eternal, per consensus. Despite his strength, or perhaps because of this, Ikaris is simply on the wrong wavelength. Case in point: He ditches his girlfriend for two-thousand years, then returns, assuming that the relationship is still going strong.
The second-place candidate goes to the warrior goddess Thena, played by Angelina Jolie. I’ll be totally honest, for the first half of the movie, I thought that she didn’t speak English, but once she started speaking, it didn’t help her case. She tries to kill her fellow Eternals, so by default I can’t put her much higher on the list.
Then we have the walking soda commercial, Sprite. Just kidding, Sprite’s just a hormonal teenage girl who longs to catch the attention of Ikaris. She can also create apparitions, teleport, and become invisible. Back to the whole “in love with Ikaris” thing though, in her defense, all of them are thousands of years old, so age isn’t exactly the problem. However, choosing love over family is an issue, one that puts her third on this list.
Now we get to the sunnier side of the hill with Makkari, played by Lauren Ridloff, a silent speedster who loves to steal things. Hey, nobody’s perfect. Plus, a friend who keeps your secrets is a friend who lasts forever.
Next, we have Makkari’s boyfriend Druig, embodied by Barry Keoghan. He’s a cult leader who uses his mind control powers to brainwash his followers. However, his Irish accent and top-tier robe skyrockets this man to the moon.
Sersi is up next. Played by Gemma Chan, she can transform any non-living thing into whatever she pleases. I was personally waiting for a “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” scene with some boba or something, but I’ll take roses. Her boyfriend is Jon Snow himself, so at least she knows how to pass one vibe check.
Salma Hayek’s Ajak is next. Ajak is the mama bear of the group, thus she naturally has the ability to heal any wounds, physical or otherwise. She doesn’t exactly throw out the best vibes, but she’s also been holding a dark secret for the past 7,000 years, so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say that under that repressed conscience is a fiery personality.
Next is Gilgamesh, who is played by Don Lee. He’s the BFG with a killer right hook. His care towards Thena whenever she tries to slice him up is admirable, especially because his one superpower is obsolete when it comes to nurturing.
Then we have Bryan Tyree Henry’s Phastos, the only non-violent member of the group who has the ability to create technologies for humans. His quick-witted humor is what gives this movie dimension, and any man who can make an entire movie theatre laugh at 8:30 AM has earned an A+ vibe check score.
Finally, we have Kingo, played by Kumail Nanjiani. He is a Bollywood actor who can also shoot energy balls from his fingertips. His humor is admittedly lacking compared to Phastos, but his sidekick, Karun — played by Harish Patel — is what truly gives Kingo this landslide victory. Karun is helpful, supportive, and most of all, passionate about what he does, all of which combine to form a maxed out Alfred.
Now let’s get to plot. Through a low budget Star Wars text crawl, we learn that the Eternals arrived on Earth during around 5000 BC to fight these aforementioned Deviants. These creatures resemble both primal and mythological creatures, except they are more incognito and ambiguous. Eventually, all of the Deviants are eradicated, and the Eternals can live their lives freely.
As the film progresses, there is a sense that something more is at play than just the reemergence of these ’roid rage beings. Things turn far south when Ajak is murdered under mysterious circumstances, ostensibly by a reborn Deviant.
Arishem soon reveals to Sersi, the newly appointed leader, his true plan for all of the planets that Eternals inhabit: to cultivate enough intelligent human energy to allow a new celestial to be born from the planet’s core. For reference, a celestial is larger than planet Earth.
This leaves Sersi troubled. She has grown to love humans, and doesn’t want to see them all die for the birth of just one being. But betraying an individual necessary to the continuation of the universe and the size of three planets is a bit ill-advised.
In all seriousness, “Eternals” is an incredibly important film for myself as a person who is part-Asian. With three lead Asian characters and an Asian director, I am undoubtedly biased, but I can say without a doubt that this is my favorite film I have watched this year.