Eternals: New Scores Reveal Audiences Love It Way More Than Critics

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Gilgamesh, Then, Sersi, Ikaris, Eternals

Following a lengthy promotional tour and major premiere events all over the world, Marvel Studios officially unveiled its 26th theatrical movie, Eternals, on the big screen. With arguably the most star-studded cast of any MCU debut flick and an Academy Award-winning director at the helm, Marvel Studios has big expectations for what the franchise's race of immortals can bring to the table.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and director Chloé Zhao, amongst others, have made the rounds in interviews and discussions about the boundaries Eternals will push and how it will tie back to the MCU's storied past. While this set exceedingly high expectations for the film before its debut, critics who saw the film early had much different reactions than anyone could have expected.

Eternals recently became the first movie made by Marvel Studios to be "rotten" on the Rotten Tomatoes website. As of today, it has fallen to 50% with 246 official reviews.

In a surprising twist, that negativity appears to be the complete opposite of how fans are reacting to the MCU's latest film.

Marvel Fans Loving Eternals on Rotten Tomatoes

Following the release of Marvel Studios' Eternals, the film's audience approval score on Rotten Tomatoes was revealed to be 86% with over 1000 verified ratings.

This marks a 37% increase from the film's current Tomatometer of 49% approval from critics, which is the biggest gap between the critics' and audience's scores for any Marvel Studios movie. 

Eternals, Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes

The next closest gap is 2019's Captain Marvel (79% critic approval, 45% audience approval) although the critics came in with much higher ratings for that movie than the audience. Captain Marvel's case is particularly noteworthy since it was released before Rotten Tomatoes' review verification system was put into place.

Usually, MCU movies come in with critics and fans having fairly similar opinions on each new movie, whether they are positive or more middle-ground. Examples like this include 2010's Iron Man 2, which only boasts a 1% difference between the two numbers.

For a more recent comparison, Marvel's second movie of 2021, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, excelled in both departments with a 92% critics score and a 98% audience score.

 Fans and critics took to Twitter to share their opinions on the movie, particularly tying back to the negative reviews from critics.

The Hollywood Reporter's Richard Newby had a rave review for Eternals, simply calling the film "one of the MCU's best:"

"Yeah, I loved this. Epic, genuinely emotional, meditative, character driven, uniquely tragic. Deviants subplot needed a bit more. But Zhao joins Snyder and Donner as one of the few filmmakers to fully embrace the idea of superheroes as myths. One of the MCU’s best."

Newby also commented on how many reviews have lumped the MCU movies together for being so similar before still lamenting the franchise for doing "something unique:"

"Can’t believe we sat through a decade of ‘all Marvel movies are the same’ from critics, to reject a film that actually does something unique and both honors and deconstructs its source material. Hope Zhao knows she delivered something special that will be reevaluated in time."

YouTuber @matthewvhaynes expressed sheer disbelief at how critics initially reacted to Eternals. Although he understood some of the reviews that weren't so glowing, he thought the movie was "AMAZING:"

"Just finished #Eternals... WHAT WERE PEOPLE ON ABOUT!? THIS MOVIE WAS AMAZING! Maybe it's because I read all the comics and was able to connect certain things. I could see why people didn't dig it, but it's REALLY not as bad as people (critics) were making it out to be."

Twitter user @torreyb also loved the latest Marvel Studios epic, raving about the "world building and backstory" that came with 7000 years of human history in the plot. Praising the movie all the way around, she apologized to the critics while giving Marvel Studios its props:

"#Eternals was so good! The history nerd in me loved all the world building and backstory, the relationships & found family elements were great, plenty of moments of humor (that didn’t take away from the emotional moments). Sorry critics, but Marvel don’t miss."

French illustrator @PetiteMadame didn't find the movie "boring" or "bland" in the slightest. Even with so much new information to take in, she felt it worked "fine:"

"#Eternals (already out in France)

- Two post-credit scenes

- The movie is actually great. The trailer didn't do it any justice. It's NOT boring, it's not bland. It takes its time in the best way possible.

- A lot of new characters + new mythology to process, but it works fine."

YouTuber Patrick Burrow called this MCU movie the first one he's loved "in a long time." Praising its visuals and uniqueness, he enjoyed that the movie "separated itself from the usual MCU formula:"

"#Eternals is the first time I’ve loved an MCU film in a long time. It’s big, it’s gorgeous to look at & is also very unique. It’s ambitious with its structure, story & being its own thing, separating itself from the usual MCU formula. It’s so fresh & way better than expected!"

Another MCU Hit for the Fans

Marvel Studios hasn't held back in teasing how much of a game-changer it hopes Eternals will be, regardless of how various critics felt about the results before its release. Marvel has also made it clear through the years that these movies are made for the fans, and based on these numbers from Rotten Tomatoes, it appears that the MCU is accomplishing its goals yet again.

While some critics didn't express much love for the way Eternals differentiated itself from other MCU stories, these fan reactions indicate that the movie made its mark in that department in some respects. With numerous reviews praising the movie's use of world-building and emotion, the new outing clearly resonated with fans who were nervous about what critics have said for the past few weeks.

As more fans see the movie over the coming weeks, these reviews from fans and critics alike will certainly be a talking point as Eternals adds to the MCU legacy.

Eternals is now playing in theaters worldwide. The Direct's review of the movie can be seen on our website.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.