Eternals First Reactions: An Ambitious, Visually Stunning Epic Full of Surprises

Early social media reactions to Chloé Zhao's MCU entry say it's gorgeously shot, packed with story, and unlike any other Marvel movie yet. Also, stay for the wild post-credits scenes.

by | October 19, 2021 | Comments

Will Marvel ever let us down? The Marvel Cinematic Universe is 25 movies in and not once has the franchise received a rotten Tomatometer score for its theatrical features. The 26th, Eternals, looks like another winner, but not by following the pack.

According to the first reactions to the movie, this is the most uniquely different installment of the MCU yet, mostly thanks to the care and aesthetic of Oscar-winning writer-director Chloé Zhao (Nomadland). It also might be the grandest in ambition, scope, and impact. But is it too much movie, or will it leave us wanting more?

Here’s what critics are saying about Eternals:


Has Marvel done it again?

Holy crap — Eternals is a freaking MASTERPIECE!!!
– Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Eternals is amazing!
– Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Eternals is a total blast.
– Ashley Menzel, We Live Entertainment

Eternals was one of my most anticipated movies of the year, and I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint at all.
– Dorian Parks, Geeks of Color


The cast of Eternals

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

How does it compare to other movies in the MCU?

Eternals is one of the most ambitious and distinct Marvel movies to date.
Sarah El-Mahmoud, CinemaBlend

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.
Dan Casey, Nerdist

It’s one of the more “cinema” Marvel movies to date and deserves a place in the upper tier of MCU films.
Herb Scribner, Deseret News

Definitely not the best marvel movie, not even close, but the best looking one is quite possible.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment


Will fans be surprised?

Eternals breaks new ground for the MCU and not in all the ways you’re expecting.
Drew Taylor, Collider

Eternals is probably the most shocking and surprising Marvel movie you’ll see. Many twists and turns.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider

It does not feel like a Marvel movie at all… A lot of the MCU elements are not included in this movie.
Herb Scribner, Deseret News

This feels so different from the MCU, like its own universe. I loved it.
Laura Sirikul, Empire Magazine

Eternals is the most different entry in the MCU filmography.
Wendy Lee Szany, The Movie Couple

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, Hollywood Reporter


Eternals

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

What does it bring that’s new to the MCU?

So many MCU firsts!! Your mind will be BLOWN!
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

In style and tone this is easily the least Marvel-like movie in the MCU (it doesn’t look like plastic. also, sex happens).
David Ehrlich, IndieWire

Legit LGBTQ rep — Legit sexual tension — Does not feel like it’s on autopilot.
Andrew J. Salazar, Geeks of Color

Eternals brings a kind of austere (veery Villeneuve-inspired) sci-fi to the MCU, and a heady, cosmic ambition that is thrilling to see in a superhero flick.
Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

The film focuses more on relationships between the characters rather than action scenes, which is refreshing.
Wendy Lee Szany, The Movie Couple


Will it bring new audiences to the MCU?

This film is totally going to be divisive (spoke to other critics after that had way different opinions than me) but I think that’s just the sign that it doesn’t feel streamlined for the most part.
Andrew J. Salazar, Geeks of Color

Def not for everyone.
Dan Casey, Nerdist


Richard Madden and Chloe Zhao on the set of Eternals

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

Does it feel like a Chloé Zhao movie?

Chloe Zhao’s vision and style really comes through.
Wendy Lee Szany, The Movie Couple

Chloé Zhao has a really unique visual stamp.
Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com

Chloé Zhao’s direction is superb.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment

Absolutely loved living in Chloé Zhao’s side of the MCU.
Sarah El-Mahmoud, CinemaBlend


So it looks good?

Cinematically beautiful.
Laura Sirikul, Empire Magazine

The visuals are incredible.
Dorian Parks, Geeks of Color

The naturalism of Ben Davis’ cinematography spotlights characters’ humanity.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Eternals is beautifully shot and looks very different than previous MCU films.
Steve Weintraub, Collider

It’s shot with a massive scope, looking visually different (and more intimate) than anything else Marvel.
Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com

Easily one of the best looking Marvel films of all time.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment


Eternals

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

How is the action?

The fight sequences have a dramatic heft to them. It’s masterful work.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Packed with adrenaline right from the start.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Some great fight scenes from Angelina Jolie.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider

There are moments where you want more action, more battles rather than a story. If you love dialogue, you’ll love this movie.
Herb Scribner, Deseret News


How is the script?

I’ve never been so invested in a story… I was engaged the entire time. There’s a lot to ingest but they do such a great job to process it all.
Laura Sirikul, Empire Magazine

As its own story, it’s really good.
Herb Scribner, Deseret News

My favorite part of Marvel movies is how they consistently manage to find new ways to tell their stories… Surprised me with some of the twists and turns.
Steve Weintraub, Collider

Without exaggeration it is the most plot heavy MCU film, and it definitely *feels* like the longest.
Andrew J. Salazar, Geeks of Color

The scale is cosmic in a way that makes the Avengers arc feel like a blip.
David Ehrlich, IndieWire

Eternals is thought-provoking, thematically dense and thoroughly enriched by the characters’ motivated stakes.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Eternals is DENSE, and 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 and the passion when they fight for each other and the things they love.
Perri Nemiroff, Collider

The story is a mixed bag… follows the whole “getting the band back together” story structure, and it feels very bloated and convoluted in its approach.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment


Richard Madden and Gemma Chan in Eternals

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

Is it faithful to the comics?

Delightfully comic book-y… These are Jack Kirby’s space gods done right.
Dan Casey, Nerdist

Nods to comics but a totally unique story.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky


Is there anything missing from the movie?

Eternals is A LOT.
Andrew J. Salazar, Geeks of Color

Eternals is a whole lot of movie… It has laughs, great surprises, and heart to go with the gigantic, crowded story it unpacks.
Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com

A lot of material to cover but it is handled well.
Ashley Menzel, We Live Entertainment

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.
Drew Taylor, Collider

Chloé Zhao takes you on a thrilling and emotional journey… The cosmic side of the MCU is expanding.
Dorian Parks, Geeks of Color

Chloé Zhao and company turn in an evocative, emotional, extraordinarily epic superhero film.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction


Eternals

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

How is the team as a whole?

The cast absolutely kills it.
Dorian Parks, Geeks of Color

The ensemble have great chemistry and all get big Movie Moments to showcase their prowess.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Obligatory thirst tweet: EVERYONE IS HOT.  There’s a scene where Thena fights and I said THAT’S SO F**KING HOT. EVERYONE IS SO HOT. WTF.
Laura Sirikul, Empire Magazine

Each character has their own story and motivation. Some are better than others, some are more built out than others. It’s a little uneven in how much attention it brings to every character.
Herb Scribner, Deseret News


Do any of them stand out?

Kumail Nanjiani steals every scene in Eternals and gives it so much energy and life as Kingo.
Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com

Kumail Nanjiani Is hilarious in every scene… Gemma Chan, Kit Harington, Richard Madden, Lia McHugh all standouts.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider

Gemma Chan and Richard Madden own this movie. Brian Tyree Henry steals the show… Brilliant cast.
Herb Scribner, Deseret News

Angelina Jolie in the MCU is EVERYTHING.
Perri Nemiroff, Collider


Kumail Nanjiani, Gemma Chan, and Lia McHugh in Eternals

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

Are there any complaints?

The first half is rough and the pacing baggy.
Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

The latter half of the movie is definitely superior to the first.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider

Still just misfit spandex people fighting bad CG for three hours?
David Ehrlich, IndieWire


What about the post-credits scenes?

Of all the end credit scenes I’ve watched during a premiere, I’ve never heard the audience lose their minds as much as they did for this one.
Ashley Menzel, We Live Entertainment

The Eternals post-credits scenes got wild, loud reactions from the crowd. They’re both really, really exciting.
Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com

Those end credits are GAME CHANGERS!!
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

It goes without saying, but the post-credits scenes are absolute bangers.
Dan Casey, Nerdist

Insane.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment


Eternals

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

Will it leave us wanting more?

I’m going to need a Kingo Disney+ series about the making of Shadow Warrior ASAP.
Dan Casey, Nerdist

I would watch a Kingo spinoff show — a thought I had every time Kumail Nanjiani was on screen in Eternals.
Kirsten Acuna, Insider

Eternals 2 can, and should, happen. Lots of world building to explore. Lots of questions raised that need to be answer. You can bet there’s plenty to explore.
Herb Scribner, Deseret News

Can’t wait to see how it influences [the MCU’s] future.
Sarah El-Mahmoud, CinemaBlend


And will it warrant repeat viewings?

I can’t wait to see it again.
Drew Taylor, Collider

The first Phase 4 project I’m excited to watch again.
Andrew J. Salazar, Geeks of Color


Eternals opens in theaters on November 5, 2021.

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