Chloe Zhao is the first Oscar-winning director to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe and judging by the early reactions to “Eternals,” her vision has not been sanded down by corporate interests.
“Take out one or two passing references and you wouldn’t even know that ‘Eternals’ is a Marvel movie. This is a good thing,” IndieWire executive editor Eric Kohn wrote on Twitter.
“‘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,” Indiewire critic David Ehrlich wrote on Twitter, before slagging the finished product: “So why is it still just misfit spandex people fighting bad CG for 3 hours?”
“Chloé Zhao takes a swing with ‘Eternals.’ Doesn’t all work, but the ‘let’s get out of the Atlanta soundstage and shoot on a beach’ approach paid off for me. Spike Jonze’s ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ came to mind,” wrote Polygon editor Matt Patches.
Long in the making, “Eternals” focuses on a group of ancient celestial beings and features an all-star cast including Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Kit Harington, and Brian Tyree Henry among many others. Zhao started work on the film before winning her Best Director Oscar this year for “Nomadland.”
“I think Marvel Studios has always worked with filmmakers [who have] very distinct voices, and that’s why the films are different,” Zhao told Fandango about the film. “But I think for this specific movie, what drew me to this movie and why they hired me, I think, is that the visual experience for this film must feel immersive enough for the audience to believe that these superhero characters have walked the earth for 7,000 years. So, to do that, there’s what I like to call an anthropological way of capturing things. The cameras are very grounded, and the movements are very natural. Shots are longer — we use wide-angle lenses, and deep focus. … it’s about giving the audience the space and the time to be able to explore what’s within the frame, and therefore come to their own conclusion of the relationship between the characters and the space they’re in.”
“Eternals” is out in theaters on November 5 and the film’s official review embargo will break later this month. For now, check out Twitter reactions from the “Eternals” premiere and early press screenings.
Eternals is Marvel’s version of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. A film that builds upon a cast of unknown characters and does so with great success. Chloé Zhao direction is superb. Easily one of the best looking Marvel films of all time. Insane post credits scenes too. #Eternals pic.twitter.com/TbZlqPJxGQ
— Scott Menzel (@ScottDMenzel) October 19, 2021
#Eternals is probably the most shocking and surprising Marvel movie you’ll see. Many twists and turns. Kumail Nanjiani Is hilarious in every scene. As always, stay to the VERY end. pic.twitter.com/Z3Hm6Vxznx
— Kirsten (@KirstenAcuna) October 19, 2021
Just got out of #Eternals. I've never been so invested in a story. It was cinematically beautiful. I was engaged the entire time. There's a lot to ingest but they do such a great job to process it all. This feels so different from the MCU, like it's own universe. I loved it.
— Lauraaaahhh!!! A Ghost! ลอร'า 劳拉 (@lsirikul) October 19, 2021
With the sweeping visuals by Chloé Zhao and an ensemble filled with actors that feel destined for the MCU, #Eternals is unlike any other Marvel movie. So many great twists and the chemistry of the cast really make this movie one to watch
— Nora Dominick (@noradominick) October 19, 2021
#Eternals flirts with being "just a superhero movie" but (barely) gets by on scale, a few affable actors and some eventual intrugue. At its best, it almost plays like Marvel playing in the DCEU sandbox but coasting on comparatively generic superhero archetypes. pic.twitter.com/Im83hV6sm0
— Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) October 19, 2021
#Eternals is surprising, epic, beautiful yet dense. It takes some big swings, sometimes feels like a DC film (not a criticism), other times feels like no other superhero movie ever. I wish I had a glowing quick reaction to offer you but I’m left with more complex thoughts.
— Peter Sciretta (@PeterSciretta) 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 , wow! A lot to unpack. If Marvel movies are a Venn diagram — variations within that overlap — this movie is off the charts. Hands down the most different of any of their films.
— Aaron Couch (@AaronCouch) October 19, 2021