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Never, in seven millennia, did we think a Marvel Studios project would warrant comparisons to Warner Bros.' DC Extended Universe, but hey — there's a first time for everything. Oscar-winning writer/director Chloé Zhao apparently blurs the artistic lines between competing cinematic universes with Eternals.
"It takes some big swings, sometimes feels like a DC film (not a criticism), other times feels like no other superhero movie ever," tweeted Peter Sciretta of /FILM following the movie's world premiere in Los Angeles Monday evening. "I wish I had a glowing quick reaction to offer you, but I’m left with more complex thoughts."
Scott Menzel, founder of We Live Entertainment, likened the piece to Zack Snyder's Justice Leauge in that it's "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."
Scott Mendelson of Forbes Entertainment put forth something similar, though not as complimentary: "At its best, it almost plays like Marvel playing in the DCEU sandbox, but coasting on comparatively generic superhero archetypes."
Eternals (which centers around an obscure race of god-like aliens created by Jack Kirby in the 1970s) is also being described as "spectacularly weird", "a freaking masterpiece", and "epic in every sense of the word" by those lucky viewers who got to see it ahead of the wide theatrical release early next month.
Put in the words of Collider's Steven Weintraub, "Eternals is beautifully shot and looks very different than previous MCU films. Story surprised me with some of the twists and turns."
"Eternals is one of the most visually stunning comic films we’ve seen," echoed Geek Vibes Nation. "Zhao has a great eye for detail and we see that with her set pieces and character designs which pay homage to the comics."
In addition, Geek Vibes took the time to acknowledge the ensemble cast, promising that "fans will really fall in love with these characters." The collection of talented actors includes Gemma Chan, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Angelina Jolie, and Kit Harington.
"Kumail Nanjiani steals every scene in Eternals and gives it so much energy and life as Kingo," tweeted Brandon Davis of ComicBook.com. "Also, especially huge fan of Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Barry Keoghan as Druig, and Don Lee as Gilgamesh. Richard Madden and Gemma Chan give really, really strong performances!"
Understandably, there are some narrative hurdles to overcome since the plot spans 7,000 years (the amount of time the titular heroes have been protecting humanity from monstrous creatures known as Deviants).
Collider's Perri Nemiroff explained that while the exposition can be a little weighty at times, the story succeeds most "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. Also, Angelina Jolie in the MCU is EVERYTHING."
"Eternals is a whole lot of movie," added Davis. "It’s shot with a massive scope, looking visually different (and more intimate) than anything else Marvel. It has laughs, great surprises, and heart to go with the gigantic, crowded story it unpacks. Chloé Zhao has a really unique visual stamp."
In a follow-up post, he made mention of the film's two post-credits sequences, which received "wild, loud reactions from the crowd. They’re both really, really exciting."
The Hollywood Reporter's Brian Davids added that "Eternals is perhaps the most ambitious Marvel movie ever made. But the highest compliment I can pay it is that it’s not a Marvel movie; it’s a Chloé Zhao movie."
Check out some more reactions below:
Eternals arrives in theaters everywhere Friday, Nov. 5.