Marvel's Eternals Reviews: What Are Critics' First Reactions?

By Russ Milheim Updated:
Eternals, MCU, Marvel

Chloé Zhao's upcoming Eternals is the next film on the MCU's slate, and if the trailers are any indication, fans are in for an epic journey. After all, when the plot centers around a group of god-like beings that have been on Earth for 7,000 years, it's hard for it not to be a story for the ages.

One of the most anticipated aspects of the film is the incredibly diverse team of heroes that Eternals introduces to the Marvel world. From the likes of Salma Hayek, to Angelina Jolie, and Kumail Nanjiani, the cast alone makes the movie worth seeing.

The blue (yes, not red) carpet premiere just went down in Los Angeles, with the entire cast gathering for the occasion. Even from the photos alone, the excitement is palpable.

With it being the world debut of the film, the first handful of people have now seen Eternals in all its glory from start to finish. So what did they think?

Marvel's Eternals' First Critic Reactions

Ahead of the November 5 release of Marvel Studios' Eternals, critics have shared their first spoiler-free reactions to Chloé Zhao's upcoming epic.

Erik Davis from Fandango described the film as "spectacularly weird & rich," admitting that it was "honestly refreshing:"

"Marvel’s #Eternals is spectacularly weird & rich w/ a new MCU mythology that makes it feel separate from everything else. It’s honestly refreshing. There’s a bittersweetness to the film that you feel in its sunset shots - a definite Chloé Zhao touch. It is soulful & thoughtful...There’s A LOT of story to devour in #Eternals (it spans thousands of years!), but Zhao does a good job balancing it all. Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry & Kumail Nanjiani were my favs, but everyone is good & they all have fascinating powers. Some truly great character moments, too"

The Hollywood Reporter's Aaron Couch declared the film as "the most different of any of [Marvel's] films:"

"#Eternals, wow! A lot to unpack. If Marvel movies are a Venn diagram — variations within that overlap — this movie is off the charts. Hands down the most different of any of their films."

Courtney Howard from Variety put a spotlight on the film's cinematography, which "spotlights [the] characters' humanity:"

"#Eternals is amazing! Chloé Zhao & company turn in an evocative, emotional, extraordinarily epic superhero film. The ensemble have great chemistry & all get big Movie Moments to showcase their prowess. The naturalism of Ben Davis’ cinematography spotlights characters’ humanity."

Next Best Picture's Matt Neglia had a more negative take on the film, saying that "the story is an expository convoluted mess," and has an "uneven tone:"

"Aside from a few dazzling moments & a wonderfully diverse cast, ETERNALS disappointed me. The story is an expository convoluted mess as it jumps through time & multiple continents with an uneven tone. Ramin Djawadi’s score soars but Chloé Zhao’s distinctive style is sadly absent."

Brian Davids from The Hollywood Reporter called the film "the most ambitious Marvel movie ever made:"

"#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."

Brandon Davis from Comicbook mentioned that the film has "great surprises," and that "Kumail Nanjiani steals ever scene:"

"#Eternals is a whole lot of movie. 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... Kumail Nanjiani steals every scene in #Eternals and gives it so much energy and life as #Kingo. 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!"

The Direct's own Richard Nebens praised the film's "great action and visuals", though admits that there were some "expected... twists:"

"Just got out of the #EternalsWorldPremiere!!! Can’t decide if it’s my favorite 2021 #MCU movie. Some great action and visuals, expected and unexpected twists, yet another solid #MarvelStudios outing. Check this one out! #Eternals"

Nikki Novak from Fandango said that the film is a "major Marvel gear shift:"

"Just got out of the @TheEternals premiere. Extraordinary technicolor world built by #ChloeZhao - gorgeous & ambitious on a level that it’s a little mind boggling. I will be unpacking this movie all night. A major Marvel gear shift. The credits will SHOCK everyone. #Marvel"

Wendy Lee Szany from Movie Couple mentioned how "the film focuses more on relationships between characters rather than action scenes:"

"#Eternals is the most different entry in the MCU filmography. The film focuses more on relationships between the characters rather than action scenes which is refreshing. Chloe Zhao’s vision and style really comes through."

Slash Film's Peter Sciretta thought that "sometimes [Eternals] feels like a DC film," though he made sure to note that his comparison isn't a negative:

"#Eternals is surprising, epic, beautiful yet dense. It takes some big swings, sometimes feels like a DC film (not a criticism), other times feels like no other superhero movie ever. I wish I had a glowing quick reaction to offer you but I’m left with more complex thoughts."

Buzzfeed's Nora Dominick believed that "the chemistry of the cast really make this movie one to watch:"

"With the sweeping visuals by Chloé Zhao and an ensemble filled with actors that feel destined for the MCU, #Eternals is unlike any other Marvel movie. So many great twists and the chemistry of the cast really make this movie one to watch"

Chris O'Falt from Indie Wire admitted that he is "normally bored by Marvel movies," but with Eternals, he "was engaged from beginning to end:"

"The #Eternals: Normally bored by marvel movies, I was engaged from beginning to end. Good, not great, overall it’s more soulful, these heroes fuck & love & live, there’s a sense of discovery & stakes. Big emotion that teeters on YA, it’s a genuine swing for the fences"

Collider's Steven Weintraub praised the film for being "beautifully shot:"

"My favorite part of Marvel movies is how they consistently manage to find new ways to tell their stories. #eternals is beautifully shot & looks very different than previous MCU films. Story surprised me with some of the twists & turns. The 2 after the credits scenes are [awesome]"

Scott Menzel from We Live Entertainment boldly claimed that Eternals "is Marvel's version of Zack Snyder's Justice League:"

"Eternals is Marvel’s version of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. 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. Insane post credits scenes too. #Eternals"

Eternals, Was it a Hit?

Based on these reactions, it would seem Marvel once again has a hit on their hands. The majority of what critics are saying is overwhelmingly positive. Only one or two of the reactions above are negative—though, a few do note that the movie has some flaws, despite how positive many other aspects of the film are.

The biggest common ground between them all is it seems the film excels at developing these new characters and the relationships that they have with each other. While character work has always been an important aspect of MCU films, it's hard to deny that sometimes those elements take a backseat to the bombastic action sequences fans know and love.

When it comes to the more negative side of things, some of the reactions call out the fact that the pacing is off, and how the story is convoluted and packed to the brim. Even the more positive reactions allude to a crowded story, even if they don't outright say as much.

Fans will have to see Eternals for themselves when the movie hits theaters on November 5.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.