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BWN Nerds’ Movie Review: Eternals (2021)

The Nerds continue to stay fairly current on movies and go for a new release! Eternals adds to the Marvel cinematic universe! Is it a positive addition or does it bomb?

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Welcome to this week’s edition of the Nerd Review!  Every week the Nerds give you their take on a different movie from the Nerd-o-sphere.  This week, Patrick and Dave review the latest blockbuster from the MCU Eternals!

*SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT FORWARD*

  • The Flick:  Eternals
  • What’s it About:  For centuries a race of god-like warriors have been living in secret on Earth.  They have been protecting the human race from creatures known as the Deviants.  After seemingly eradicating all Deviants from Earth, they then help the human race develop as a civilization over time.  When the Deviants mysteriously return in the present day and one of their own is found dead, the Eternals must reunite and unravel the mystery of the Deviants return.
  • Metacritic Score: 52

The Nerds’ Take on Eternals (2021):

Dave: Eternals is a lot like the last movie I reviewed, Dune. It is a heavy world-building type of movie. The difference between Eternals and Dune is that Eternals is trying to build a world within the confines of a world that was already established over 25 prior movies. The result is a movie that succeeds on most levels, but is not quite all we might have been hoping for.

Roughly 10,000 years ago, a Celestial named Arishem sent 10 Eternals to Earth to protect humanity from the Deviants. The Celestials are, in many ways, the Creators of the Universe and the Eternals their police force, to a certain extent. The Deviants are dark, malicious, creatures that prey upon humanity. In the early 1500’s, the Eternals eliminate the last of the Deviants. They all remain on Earth but go their separate ways. They are forbidden from interfering in human affairs. In 2021, a Deviant returns. At the same time, the leader of the Eternals, Ajak, is killed by one of the Deviants. This forces the Eternals to come together, especially when Sersi is made the new leader by way of some sort of posthumous selection process by Ajak. Sersi acquires the ability to speak directly with Arishem and is horrified to discover the truth. The Eternals are synthetic beings created by the Celestials to help bring about the Emergence of new Celestials. The problem is that newborn Celestials are the size of planets so when they “emerge” they destroy all life on the planet from which they emerge. With the reversal of the Blip, Earth had the right population for an Emergence to take place. We also discover that the Deviants were also placed on Earth by the Celestials to wipe out any Apex predators that could threaten humanity. When the Deviants evolved around this though, the Eternals were created to bring things back into balance.

Having lived on Earth for ten millennia, Sersi and many of her companions have developed a great affection for humanity and do not wish to go along with the program any longer. They come up with a plan to try and put the soon to emerge Celestial, Tiamut, to sleep. Things go awry though when Ikaris, Sersi’s prior love interest and probably the most powerful of the Eternals, reveals that he has been aware of Arishem’s plan all along, was actually the one who killed Ajak, and he actively goes against his former friends. This leads to a huge battle that I do not really feel like spoiling for you here. I will say though that the end of Eternals, along with the post-credit scenes, create a ton of questions and intrigue moving forward.

Eternals, like Dune, is very hard to place. The overarching question about the movie is “Why are we introducing these elements now?” The Eternals and Celestials are hugely powerful beings. Why did they stand idly by while Thanos exterminated half of all life in the known Universe? Yes, the movie attempts to answer that by stating that the Eternals were forbidden from interfering with human affairs. Then, not even within a blink of an eye by the standards of time in the movie, they decide to disobey that exact same mandate to save the Earth. So how did life on Earth suddenly become of such paramount importance that it trumped saving all life everywhere else? There is no logic to this decision and it is one of the worst examples of story-telling that the MCU has presented thus far.

But it is more complex than that. The MCU wants to get beyond the Infinity Saga. To be blunter, the MCU needs to get beyond the Infinity Saga. Now, in that regard, Eternals is a great success. It is very clear thus far that Phase 4 is going all-in with the Cosmic stuff. Yes, we still have street level heroes such as Hawkeye, Winter Soldier, Captain America (Sam), Spider-Man, and others that are rumored to be on their way, most notably Daredevil. But when you take a look at what went down with WandaVision, Loki, & Shang-Chi, then you look at the immense Cosmic scope of Eternals, then the notion that Thanos might have only been the tip of the iceberg becomes more plausible. Eternals teaches us that there are truly Gods out in the cosmos and they might not have our best interests at heart. If we are looking for the next Big Bad, then a group of dark Celestials is as big and bad as it gets. So, while it is easy to say, “Why are we going here now?” it is equally easy to say, “Wow! Where are we going next?”

Switching back to the negative side of things, the movie does move a bit too slowly and it is not nearly as heavy on action as say Black Widow or Shang-Chi was. That is not really a detriment though as the movie is more cinematic in scope than those other two. It is, however, hard to follow in certain places. If you read some of the more negative reviews of Eternals that are out there, character development has been flagged as a problem. I would have to agree with this a bit but certainly not to the extent that some critics have. It is too easy to try and compare any new MCU franchise with lesser-known characters to what was accomplished with Guardians of the Galaxy and that is not really fair. The Eternals were never meant to be comic-relief like the Guardians were. It is an apples-to-oranges type of situation. Yes, it would be great if every new MCU character was as beloved as Groot, Rocket, and Drax right off the bat. But it is awful hard to catch lightning in a bottle once, let alone twice. So, no, you will likely not find yourself as emotionally invested in Sersi, Ikaris, Sprite, and the others as you were with Starlord and Gamora. That does not mean that the characters are woefully underdeveloped. It is just different.

The cast for Eternals is quite solid and there are really good performances by Gemma Chan as Sersi, Richard Madden as Ikaris and Lia McHugh as Sprite. Kumail Nanjanji is fantastic as Kingo, the character that comes closest to resembling a Guardians-like character. Brian Tyree Henry is tremendous as Phastos. Where Eternals could have spent a bit more time with character development was with Salma Hayek’s portrayal as Ajak. Ditto for Kit Harrington as Dane Whitman, although we can let that slide as it is evident from the post-credit scene that his story is not yet done, not by a long shot. If you are not an Angelina Jolie fan, her portrayal of Thena will likely not sway you much in one direction or another. All in all, the majority of the cast does a good to great job with their respective roles.

I keep going back to the fact that this movie is just so very hard to place when looking at the MCU as a now 26 movie-long continuous saga, along with three streaming series. It is clearly a departure from the Infinity Saga that is setting the table for something even bigger. But its placement at this particular point in time is questionable. There are some odd things about the film to be sure. Superman and Batman are mentioned by name and while this, in no way, means a DC/Marvel cross-over is in the offing, it is still a curious movie that we have to presume was signed off on by Disney/Marvel and DC/ Warner Brothers. The movie ends with a distinct lack of closure and just when you reconcile yourself with the fact that we are moving past the Infinity Saga, we meet Thanos’s brother, Eros, another Eternal. Then again, the MCU introduces us to a whole slew of mammothly powered heroes that you feel could go toe to toe with Thanos, Thor, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, The Hulk, Dormammu, Superman, Batman, or whomever else you want to throw at them. It ups the ante considerably as to what threat could be looming out there that would imperil everyone all over again.

See what I mean by tough to place? I will say this though: The critics who somehow suggest Eternals is worse than Thor: Dark World or Iron Man 2 are simply insane and wrong. Eternals is much better than those movies were. Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes ratings be damned….Eternals is far from the worst movie in MCU history. Yes, it is far from the best as well but it is definitely a good movie. So long as you realize and accept that the goal is to progress things beyond the Infinity Saga, then I am confident you will enjoy Eternals as much as I did.

Dave’s Rating:  3.5/5.0

Patrick:  Two weeks ago, Dave and I reviewed a movie in Dune Part 1 that went against the convention of the traditional space opera. Denis Villeneuve spent two plus hours laying the groundwork for future films and it paid off immensely critically and in the box office. This week, we look at Eternals and I couldn’t help but notice quite a few similarities between Chloe Zhao’s film and Villeneuve’s epic. The difference here has been that while Dune Part 1 was generally well received by critics, Eternals has been faced with mixed reviews. Many talking heads have even gone so far as to call this film the first failure of the MCU. So, today, rather than a typical review, I think I’m going to focus a bit more on why I think response to Eternals has been less than stellar. I’ll still give my analysis of the film, just without the usual talk of plot points and acting performances. Because I really think this film is being punished for not being the conventional MCU movie. As our leader Greg DeMarco would say, this movie did not fit a lot of peoples’ playlists.

As movie goers, we have been conditioned for over a decade to expect a certain formula from our Marvel films. We are introduced to our heroes, they face some grave supernatural threat and they save the day (mostly).  Then, we get an after credits scene and we move on. Often, the heroes have some superficial level of character development, but really relationships are generally built over the course of numerous films, the exception really being The Guardians of the Galaxy series. But let’s be real here, MCU films are known for their dynamic action sequences, culminating with some titanic battle full of explosions. Zhao eschews most of this identity to gives a film the brings laser focus to the Eternals and their interpersonal relationships. There are plenty of action sequences, sure. But they feel secondary in this film.

And this makes sense given Zhao’s background as a filmmaker. She is an award-winning director known for her character-driven films. She has a strong reputation as an actors’ director able to bring out the best in their interplay. Zhao’s skills are on full display here, and frankly they need to be. You see, Zhao was given the challenging task to not only introduce a new set of characters that audiences will want to follow, she was also tasked with resetting the foundation of the MCU as we know it. The Eternals comic was a trippy concept developed by the great Jack Kirby. It is a comic far more introspective for its time, and it would never take off the way some of the more palatable characters of the time did. To make that sort of film, you don’t give us two plus hours of over-the-top action sequences. No, no it comes from character interplay and, dare I say, exposition. In this regard, Zhao was very successful in my opinion. By film’s end, I was fully invested in Gemma Chan’s Sersi and Barry Keoghan’s Druig (my favorite character of the film, btw). I am ready to learn their fate when the next film comes along.

And this is why I think reviews from the mainstream have been so mixed. Eternals, more so than any previous Marvel property, couldn’t be what we as an audience and critics are accustomed to seeing. For these characters to work, we need to know them, and more than just superficially. We needed to see who they were, why they were on Earth and how their past ultimately creates the present. Chloe Zhao was the absolute perfect director to world build this for the audience.  I really enjoyed Eternals and the risks it took in turning the MCU as we know it upside down. I do agree with the sentiment that the action sequences in the film are weak, but that isn’t Zhao’s strength as a director. If you want great action pieces, check Shang Chi on Disney Plus. Eternals sets a new stage for us and gives fans multiple characters to care about moving forward.  Is it my favorite MCU film? No. Is it a good MCU film? In my opinion, absolutely.

Patrick’s Rating:  4.27/5.0

 

Overall Nerds’ Rating for Eternals (2021): 3.89/5.0


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Bandwagon Nerds

Bandwagon Nerds #132: Double Trouble

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Bandwagon Nerds
Bandwagon Nerds #132: Double Trouble

The Nerds ran with a rather limited Bandwagon this week as Dave and PC Tunney, with a cameo or two from Rey Cash, offer up their thoughts on a bunch of trailers including Season 3 trailers for The Boys & Umbrella Academy, Netflix’s Geek Week, HBO’s upcoming George Carlin documentary, and a trailer for She-Hulk that generated a lot of buzz, but for the wrong reasons. The guys also touch base on some newsworthy topics including Disney + picking up and continuing Daredevil, a possible Captain Carter project in the works, and a huge announcement from Kevin Feige about the upcoming Secret Invasion series that has some wondering the eternal question….is everyone a Skrull?

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About Bandwagon Nerds

Join Patrick O’Dowd, David Ungar, PC Tunney, Rey Cash, and Aesop Mitchell as they keep everyone up on all things nerd, and maybe add some new nerds along the way. It’s the Bandwagon Nerds Podcast!

About the Chairshot Radio Network

Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, Suwama’s Station, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.


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Bandwagon Nerds

Bandwagon Nerds #131: The Best Comics Stories Ever Told

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Bandwagon Nerds
Bandwagon Nerds #131: The Best Comics Stories Ever Told

With no shows to review and trailers being a bit scarce, the Nerds enjoyed the calm before the storm of content on the horizon. This week, the guys touch on all sorts of little news nuggets including lots of Marvel talk (including a juicy news rumor that broke while the show was recording), news about the Arrowverse, Dune II, an awesome new Lego set, the Zack Snyder controversy, and some talk about Star Wars Celebration coming up Memorial Day Weekend.  Then, it is the return of The Comic Spotlight, sort of, as Dave and Aesop count down their Top 10 best comics stories of all-time. Whether you are a Bandwagoner looking for an excellent list of titles to read or a veteran Nerd curious to see if your favorite made The List, this is a countdown you won’t want to miss.

  • @WrestlngRealist
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  • @PCTunney
  • @ViolentAesop
  • @therealcplatt
  • @ChairshotMedia

About Bandwagon Nerds

Join Patrick O’Dowd, David Ungar, PC Tunney, Rey Cash, and Aesop Mitchell as they keep everyone up on all things nerd, and maybe add some new nerds along the way. It’s the Bandwagon Nerds Podcast!

About the Chairshot Radio Network

Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, Suwama’s Station, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.


The Chairshot Radio Network
Your home for the hardest hitting podcasts and radio shows!

All Shows On Demand

Listen on your favorite platform!

iTunes  |  iHeart Radio  |  Google Play  |  Spotify
Listen, like, subscribe, and share!


Bandwagon Nerds Mario


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Let us know what you think on social media @ChairshotMedia and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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