This could be a giant ‘I told you so’ moment that a lot of people might try to cash in on, but instead, I’ll try taking the high road, at least for a few sentences, by stating that fans need to stop ‘freaking out’ as some articles are pushing, and remind people that if you want to like a movie, then like it. No one gets to tell you whether or not you happen to like something other than you. It might not be a popular movie or opinion, but when folks start allowing critics to tell them what is and is not good, this is how good movies tend to tank at the box office. It’s true, some movies deserve the thumbs-down treatment simply because they weren’t put together all that well, but there might be a few ways to explain why The Eternals appears to be getting bad reviews before its release date this coming Nov. 5th. Believe it or not, movie critics don’t know everything, since they’re operating under the idea that they do know the difference between a good movie and a bad movie, but the truth is that their bias comes into play far more often than they let on. Plus, if you think something is good or bad, that’s YOUR decision.
But getting into why this movie might be getting bad reviews isn’t too hard since one of the biggest reasons could be is that they’re being shunted into the MCU without any buildup, meaning that they weren’t brought in gradually, there was no word of their coming, and nothing to gauge just how they might be accepted. Sure, Iron Man was thrust upon the fans as well when the MCU first started up, but there’s a big difference. A lot of people already knew about Iron Man, even if he wasn’t the most popular character around. He certainly became that way after being introduced, but the thing about The Eternals is that very few people apart from comic book fans had even an inkling of who they are. It’s in their names obviously, the description of who and what they are, since eternal and immortal kind of go hand in hand in the minds of a lot of fans.
The problem with not knowing a lot about a character or group of characters is that it’s tough to invest in them all that much. It’s true that some people invest in a movie character quickly and without any prompting, but given that the MCU has been around for a while now, and each of the characters has been introduced and connected, in the movies at least, by post-credit trailers, people have had a general prompt that gets them excited to learn more. The Eternals are kind of just showing up without any real prompt or motivating force to get people to learn about them. They’re being used as a huge MacGuffin if one is being honest, a force that’s been around for a long time but have been charged with leaving humanity to their fate, even while they’re helping them to develop and move forward. That makes about as much sense as Doc Brown stating that he wants to travel through time but can’t do anything to alter whatever time he travels to, since no matter what happens, interference and interaction are a rather normal trait of sentient beings since either circumstance or mild curiosity will make lack of interaction nearly impossible. And even if it was made possible, meaning the immortals stayed in their own lane so to speak, someone would have eventually found them and discovered their secret.
My point is that The Eternals are essentially being thrust upon the MCU in a manner that says that they were always here, but humans just didn’t notice, and the immortals had their memories altered so that they didn’t remember who they were for a long time. This is a group that’s being used to retcon the MCU’s history without the benefit of having been a part of it until now, and that could be one reason why the movie might not be tracking as well as it should be. It’s almost like a kid stating ‘oh, by the way, this character I created can also do this, and this, and this…oh and they can do this, and I forgot to mention this…” See how that works? Writers tend to do this when they need to, especially in the comics, since characters tend to change as it’s needed in order to keep or establish an edge when it’s desired.
In all honesty, The Eternals have been a part of the Marvel universe since 1976, but like many of the characters in the Marvel universe, they’ve been changing since then as well. This current version of the group might not be quite what critics were hoping for, but if you do go see the movie, make up your own mind and ignore the reviews.