Eternals: Through the Ages

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For a quick read, go to Review. For a complete summary, go to Recap.

KBear Recap [Read  time: 3-5 min]

The movie begins with a scroll informing the audience that the Celestial Arishem sent the Eternals to eliminate the Deviants from Earth. The starship Domo heads towards Earth, Sersi (Gemma Chan) meets Ikaris (Richard Madden) and remarks how beautiful the planet looks. It’s 5000 BC, Mesopotamia, ancient humans are fishing when Deviants, animalistic monsters begin to attack. Ikaris, Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Thena (Angelina Jolie), and Gilgamesh (Don Lee) fight off the Deviants. Sersi, Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Druig (Barry Keoghan), and Ajak (Salma Hayek) join them on the beach to strike their group hero pose.

In present day London, Dane Whitman (Kit Harington) teaches his girlfriend Sersi’s class in the Natural History Museum. She works there as a curator and she’s running late. An earthquake begins and Sersi saves a student by turning a falling object into sand. Later that evening at Dane’s birthday party, Sprite is using an illusion to appear to be an adult. As Sersi, Dane, and Sprite leave the party a Deviant attacks them. Ikaris swopes in to save them. Sersi explains to Dane that she is an Eternal, he asks why they haven’t been involved in helping humanity in fighting Thanos for instance. She explains they weren’t supposed to get involved in human history; they were only sent to eliminate the Deviants. They are back so she, Ikaris, and Sprite must find the rest of the Eternals.

Flashback to Babylon 575 BC, the Eternals are fighting the Deviants outside the gates of ancient Babylon. Ajak is summoned to talk to Arishem. Ajak is becoming attached to Earth, Arishem orders her to stay on mission. Aboard the Domo, Phastos is designing a steam engine. Druig and Sprite make fun of it, Ajak tells him it’s too advanced, he scales it down to a plow. Inside Babylon, Sprite creates illusions for the humans. Druig uses mind control to stop some men from fighting. Even though Ikaris’ faith in Arishem is strong, Ajak tells him it’s okay for him to live a life and tell Sersi how he feels. After he tells Sersi he loves her, they end up making love on the sand. In 400 AD in the Gupta Empire, they get married. In present day South Dakota, they arrive at Ajak’s ranch, they find her dead body, she’s been killed by a Deviant. The sphere that was in Ajak’s body enters Sersi’s and she is summoned to meet with Arishem. She tells him that Ajak is dead. He tells her it’s almost time.

Flashback to Tenochtitlan 1521 AD [The Eternals believe they have defeated the Deviants]. Spanish conquistadores are attacking the Aztec capital with their advanced weaponry. Druig wants to stop the fighting and accuses Phastos of making human advancement grow too fast. Thena is overcome with Mahd Wy’ry, a madness that fractures an Eternal’s mind. She attacks her fellow Eternals. Gilgamesh stops her. To cure her Ajak wants to wipe her mind, but Thena wants to remember her life. Druig is through, he doubts their mission and decides to leave, taking mind controlled human soldiers with him. Gilgamesh decides to leave with Thena to take care of her. Ajak releases the other Eternals from their duties and tells them to live their own lives and find their own purpose.

Present day Mumbai India, Kingo is a Bollywood star, and he is filming an elaborate dance number for his movie. After the number, his valet Karun (Harish Patel) tells him he has visitors. His fellow Eternals tell him that Ajak is dead and that the Deviants have returned. On board Kingo’s private jet, Karun is filming the documentary that Kingo is making about the Eternals. They aren’t interested in participating. They arrive in Australia to find Gilgamesh and Thena. A Deviant Gilgamesh recently killed is on the ground. Seeing the Deviant sparked a bout of Mahd Wy’ry for Thena, Sprite creates an illusion of the Domo to snap her out of it. They share a dinner Gilgamesh has prepared.

Sersi meditates so that she can communicate with Arishem. He explains to her what’s really been happening. An event called the Emergence is about to happen, a Celestial named Tiamut will emerge from the core of the planet, destroying Earth. Celestials are seeded in planets, they need the planets population to grow and become advanced, they feed on this energy, and once the planet is populated enough, they emerge. The Eternals weren’t born on a planet called Olympia, it doesn’t exist, he created them in a space station called the World Forge. Arishem created the Deviants to kill apex predators who were killing host planet’s populations. The Deviants eventually evolved into apex predators themselves, so he created synthetic beings who wouldn’t evolve to kill the Deviants. After the Eternals have killed off the Deviants on a planet and a Celestial emerges, their memories are wiped, and they are sent to their next assignment. The Mahd Wy’ry that Thena is experiencing is her remembering prior missions.

Sersi repeats what Arishem told her, they are shocked. She wants to stop the Emergence, but they don’t know how they can do it or whether they should do it. If they are going to stop it, they will need Druig, who is in the Amazon with his followers. He’s shaken by what he’s told, he isn’t sure if he wants to be involved. Thena and Gilgamesh share a nice moment and Kingo tells Sprite he knows she’s in love with Ikaris. The Deviants attack the settlement, and to make matters worse Thena gets the Mahd Wy’ry and attacks Ikaris. Druig mind controls his people to fight, but Sersi convinces him to let them go and retreat to safety. She fights a Deviant and turns it into a tree. The head Deviant Kro kills Gilgamesh. It took Ajak’s healing powers and now takes Gilgamesh memories, it knows what Arishem has done, and it plans to kill the Eternals for revenge.

They need Phastos technological mind for their plan to work but in another flashback, we are in Hiroshima after the atomic bomb, he cries and tells Ajak he blames himself for advancing technology too fast, he declares that humans aren’t worth saving. In present day Chicago, he is at home with his husband Ben (Haaz Sleiman) and their son Jack (Esai Daniel). Sersi and Ikaris tell him what’s happening, Phastos doesn’t want anything to do with it, but Ben convinces him to go to save the planet for Jack. The next stop is Iraq where they unearth the Domo. Makkari has been living on the starship, collecting human artifacts for her amusement. She’s happy to see Druig and it appears they had a relationship before they all split. Phastos proposes they create a Uni-Mind, which will give one of them [Druig] the power to use his mind control abilities to put the Celestial to sleep.

The group has a fight over who should be leading them, Ikaris or Sersi. We get a flashback to South Dakota, six days ago. Ajak is telling Ikaris about the Emergence happening soon, she wants to gather the group together so they can stop it. Overtime she had begun to believe that Earth was special, and the Avengers reversing the blip proves it. Ikaris takes her up north (Artic Circle?) where he’s discovered some Deviants. He tells her he can’t allow her to stop the Emergence, which is against Arishem’s will. He tosses her off the hill for the Deviants to kill her. Ikaris retrieves her body as a delay tactic that keeps the Eternals from trying to stop the Emergence. Another big earthquake strikes, they know it’s the beginning of the Emergence. They send Makkari to find the location, it’s an active volcano in the Indian Ocean. Ikaris attacks the group to stop them from going. He has known about all of this for ages, Ajak had confided in him. He left Sersi hundreds of years ago to keep the secret. Sprite leaves with Ikaris. Kingo leaves, he still believes in Arishem’s plan, but he won’t help Ikaris stop them, he doesn’t want to hurt any of his friends. Thena convinces Sersi not to give up. Phastos needs the sphere that Sersi uses to communicate to Arishem so he can create the Uni-Mind.

Ikaris attacks the Domo when it appears above the Indian Ocean, Thena and Ikaris fight. Phastos activates the Uni-Mind, Ikaris attacks Druig and crashes the starship. Makkari fights Ikaris, with Druig incapacitated, Sersi is forced to stop Tiamut herself. Phastos and Thena team up against Ikaris, Kro shows up, so Thena leaves to kill him. Sprite uses her illusions to sneak up behind Sersi and stabs her. Druig sneaks up behind Sprite and knocks her out. Kro gets the upper hand on Thena and tries to use Gilgamesh memories against her. Thena isn’t fooled and kills the Deviant. Tiamut begins to emerge from the ocean. Sersi is on top of Tiamut and begins to change him to marble. Ikaris arrives and plans to kill her, he can’t though because he loves Sersi. The Uni-Mind begins, and all the Eternals in the area, including Sprite and Ikaris join, giving Sersi the power to finish turning Tiamut to marble. Ikaris cries and tells her he’s sorry, he flies off towards the sun. Phastos tells Sersi that because of the Uni-Mind, Tiamut had joined them in turning himself to marble. Sersi still has some power left, so she generously turns Sprite into a human. She can grow up, but she’s mortal now.

Thena, Druig, and Makkari board the Domo, they are going to look for other Eternals to tell them what is going on and try to stop it. Kingo and Sersi are sending Sprite off to school. Sprite hugs Sersi goodbye. Sersi is back in London with Dane, trying to explain what’s happened. Dane is about to tell her his family secret when Arishem appears in the sky. He takes Sersi, Kingo, and Phastos and tells them he’s upset about what they did, he is going to use their memories of Earth to judge if humans are worthy. Mid-credit: Thena, Makkari, and Druig haven’t heard from the crew on Earth in weeks, Pip the Troll teleports into their starship, he introduces Eros/Starfox (Harry Styles). Eros tells them he’s there to help and he knows where Arishem is taking their comrades. Post credit: Dane opens a crate that contains the Ebony Sword. The cover says, “DEATH IS MY REWARD.” He hears whispers and is afraid to pick up the sword, just as he prepares to pick it up, a voice says, “Sure you’re ready for that Mr. Whitman.”

KBear Review [Read time: 2-3 minutes]

Who are the Eternals? It turns out that they don’t know either. They don’t know their true origin nor their true mission. They aren’t quite the heroes they thought they were. Instead of being mankind’s saviors, they are keeping the beasts [Deviants] away for our eventual sacrifice for the Celestials. The Eternals are your typical dysfunctional family, except for being thousands of years old and having superpowers. In the comic’s mythology, these characters inspired the mythology of the ancient world. Makkari is Mercury from Roman mythology. Ikaris is Icarus, Sersi is Circe, Thena is Athena, Phastos is Hephaestus and Ajak is Ajax from Greek mythology; Ajak also inspired Quetzalcoatl from Mesoamerican mythology. Gilgamesh is Gilgamesh from Sumerian mythology. Sprite is Puck/Tricksters/Sprites from European mythology. Kingo is Kingu from Babylonian mythology. Druig has no direct correlation to any other figure but could be Slavic. They have been part of humanity’s history but weren’t allowed to become too involved with our development. They had to help us along from the shadows so that we would become advance enough to provide the energy to create a new Celestial and end our own existence. So, it turns out the Eternals are a cog in the machine that decides to go against their programming and become what they thought they were.

The Eternals is different from most Marvel movies, and that’s to their advantage and determent. The movie is beautifully shot on location. It’s slower than most Marvel movies, contemplating the big questions of humanity, our place in the universe. It introduces ten new characters, during different periods of time within the past 7,000 or so years. That was its main problem, it had to do too much in a 2h 37m time frame. There were some Eternals who got extraordinarily little screen time. Most of the cast was out of more than half the movie. Unlike most Marvel movies, you couldn’t become attached to the characters. Even with the ones who we saw more of, there was still a distance between them and the audience. There were scenes that we got to get a feel for who they were, when the group dissolved in Tenochtitlan 1521 AD, when they were in the Australia and the Amazon, but  even though the movie was contemplative, it was also rushing through to get to the next big action piece. Of course, you go to a Marvel movie for the action scenes, but with them mostly fighting the CGI deviants, the fight scenes didn’t have the oomph that most Marvel fight scene have. I did enjoy the last battle when the Eternals were fighting Ikaris, it had stakes and some wow moments in it. Even though I didn’t get into the characters like I would have like too, the actors gave the Eternals some much needed humanity. While watching it, I wish it could have started off as a Disney + series, introducing the characters and spending time with them and establishing the group dynamics. Then we could have had the feature film with the big battles.

Dispite its problems, I liked the movie. I appreciated Marvel trying something different and going against their formula. Some people felt they didn’ tgo far enough. It’s an ambitious movie that wasn’t quite able to fulfill achieve its goals. I think it will be one of those movies that people will go back to and reevaluate. If there is an Eternal 2, I think with the groundwork this movie established, it will be more fun and have that extra oomph I like in my MCU movies.

Final Thoughts

Power Set of the Eternals (in the MCU). All of them are powered by cosmic energy.

Ikaris – Flight, firing energy blasts from his eyes, superstrength, second strongest Eternal.

Sersi – Manipulates matter. Her power grew throughout the movie.

Kingo – Projectile blasts from his hands.

Gilgamesh – Superstrength, strongest Eternal.

Phastos – Creates technology and weapons.

Thena – Can create and wield various forms of weaponry, best combat skills.

Sprite – Illusions, it seems like she created the stories than became ancient mythology.

Makkari – Superspeed

Ajak – Healer, leader since she could communicate with Arishem.

The voice of Kro was Bill Skarsgard, Arishem was David Kaye, Pip the Troll was Patton Oswalt, and the voice at the end of the movie asking Dane Whitman “Sure you’re ready for that Mr. Whitman” was Mahershala Ali as Blade.

Dane Whitman will inherit his family legacy of being the Black Knight and the mystical sword he will be welding is the Ebony Blade.

I loved the way the depicted Makkai’s superspeed.

Makkari first deaf superhero in MCU, Phastos first gay superhero depicted in MCU. Sersi and Ikaris sex scene first one in MCU movie.

After stabbing Sersi in the back, Sersi forgives her and gives Sprite the thing she wants most, the ability to grow up. Sersi is a better Eternal than me.

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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