Eternals Movie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

It’s time for the premiere of the 26th movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is radically different from previous superhero stories. Eternals is Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao’s attempt to introduce 10 new characters of cosmic origin, endowing them with compassion for humanity. What comes out of it is a boring story stretched over two and a half hours that has absolutely everything but gore.

Eternals movie meaning

Genre: comic book, action
Directed by Chloe Zhao
Starring Gemma Chan (Sersi), Richard Madden (Ikaris), Salma Hayek (Ayak), Angelina Jolie (Tena), Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo), Leah McHughcep (Sprite), Brian Tyree Henry (Fastos), Lauren Ridloff (Makkari), Barry Keoghan (Drui), Kit Harington (Dane Whitman) and more.
Marvel Studios, TSG Entertainment, TSG Entertainment companies
Year of release 2021
IMDb Website

After the Avengers’ massive battle with Thanos, an entire movie era of teamwork between the beloved superheroes came to an end. They’ve been replaced by a new squad of comic book characters whose powers and capabilities open up completely different horizons. To introduce the powerful millennial defenders of the Earth, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige invited Chloe Zhao – a director who has released several indie films – to the project. Notably, at the time Zhao had already joined Marvel, she had won two Oscars for her work on the social drama Nomadland.

According to the plot of the new movie, in 5000 B.C., the Celestials (the race of space gods referenced in the 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy movie) send the Eternals to Earth. They are a team of humanoid beings with superpowers who must fight just one enemy – the monsters known as the Deviants. After successfully completing their mission, the Eternals split up to experience ordinary human life. Millennia later, the Deviants reappear on Earth, which becomes a sign of the planet’s imminent destruction. This prompts the Eternals to reunite to save humanity.


Of course, the first question we want to ask the Eternals is why these mighty heroes didn’t bother to help the Avengers in their fight against Thanos? Actually, this question sounds in the trailer from the character of Kit Harington (the answer, by the way, is also voiced in the trailer, we will not get more intelligible explanations, in the film there will be only additional admonitions that the technological evolution of mankind should also pass without outside interference).

It seems that Marvel fans care about this issue much more than the screenwriters (Chloe Zhao herself is among the authors of the story). The creators of the movie focus on completely different moments – they show more diverse characters that were not in the movie universe before: the main cast includes actors of different nationalities, there is a hearing-impaired character in the super-team, and an openly gay character also appears on the screen.

Chloe Zhao tries to pay attention to everyone, but to fully present 10 new main characters at one time is not an easy task. That’s why half of the characters turn into secondary actors, who appear in the frame closer to the finale. Perhaps the most central figure is Sersi, the heroine who can change inanimate objects (she is played by Gemma Chan, the actress previously appeared in Captain Marvel). The most powerful force stands out Ikaris (played by Richard Madden) – he shoots rays from his eyes, which makes him look like Superman. And the most interesting character becomes the heroine Tena (Angelina Jolie), who resembles a goddess of war.


The heroes have a huge fighting potential, which seems to be revealed in action scenes with Deviants, but at the same time does not cause much excitement (by the way, some of the battles take place in semi-darkness, such dark scenes can be forgiven only to the movie Dune by Denis Villeneuve). The thing is that Chloe Zhao deliberately pays more attention to the emotions of the characters than to their abilities. We see the heartaches of the Eternals, their love for humanity and their concern for each other. Alas, over time, all of this turns into a set of tedious dialog and an overly utopian picture of unity with humans.

In “The Eternals,” a good half of the events unfold in the past, which gradually reveals to the audience the circumstances that divided the characters. There are some really beautiful scenes in flashbacks that show Earth in times long past, plus Chloe Zhao uses a camera that captures landscapes in 360 degrees (the director has already worked with her on Nomadland).

All of this is pretty good, but there’s not enough spectacle and acting variety to keep a movie with a long running time from becoming a heavy burden that you want to get rid of as soon as possible. The film doesn’t even come close to having the superhero gore that animated all the films from the three previous phases of the Marvel universe. Chloe Zhao tries her best to get the viewer to like the new heroes, but these attempts turn into a slow and boring story about love for Earth.


Of course, Kevin Feige has plans to develop the story of the Eternals in future Marvel projects, but the continuation of the story is not exciting. What can’t be said about the movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, released in September, which you’ll want to rewatch several times.

Well, the post credits scenes in Eternals will showcase the characters that could take the lead. Perhaps they will be the ones who can revitalize the dull superheroics.


Diverse characters; Angelina Jolie’s interesting character; beautiful filming

Boring dialog; no superhero excitement that was in other Marvel films; too many main characters for one movie; dark action scenes


With the efforts of indie director Chloe Zhao, Marvel wanted to show a whole new phase in the fourth phase of the cinematic universe. But the result was boring, dragged out and completely uninspiring

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