Complete A-Z list



Stars: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Brian Tyree Henry, Don Lee, Barry Keoghan, Lia McHugh, Lauren Ridloff, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harington, Harish Patel, Harry Styles

Director: Chloe Zhao

Here's a Marvel superhero film for our woke era. Ten Eternals (although naturally living for ever, they can be killed) have been placed on Earth from the faraway planet Olympus to help Earth's inhabitants make a natural progression to civilisation - even if they're not allowed to interfere with human wars.

Led by Ijak (Hayek), they've been knocking around for several thousand years - we see their exploits in BC Mesopotamia and Babylon - taking on deviants (fearsome skeletal monsters) placed on Earth by the same galactic power.

Right now, the massive maulers have re-emerged in London, just down the road from Camden Lock. This puts the wind up Sersi (Chan), an Eternal who has been getting close to human Dane (Harington), but she and a couple of other Eternals are helped out by the arrival of Ikarus (Madden), once Sersi's lover before the group fragmented. He can fly real fast and shoot fire from his eyes, so it isn't long before the deviants are dispatched into nearby water.

Now the Eternals are forced to re-assemble. There's Eurasian Sersi, gay black Phastos (Henry), tiny sub-teen Sprite (McHugh), Makkari (McHugh) who cannot hear and uses signing, Indian Kingo, who's become a Bollywood superstar, poor old Thena (Jolie) who, when not wielding Excalibur, is suffering from some form of galactic dementia, Scottish Ikarus, Irish Druig (Barry Keoghan) and chubby Korean chef Gilgamesh (Lee). See what I mean about woke?

And they all, of course, possess special powers.

Meanwhile, the true purpose of our heroes' mission has been hidden from them and Olympus doesn't exist. Do keep up.

Director Zhao, who won an Oscar for Nomadland, conjures up some striking images, but the script is pretty mundane and Chan a but of a wet lemon in the lead (and no great actress either). Portly Patel, however, is great fun as Kingo's Bollywood producer, who insists on filming the Eternals' adventures.

Personally, I could have done with a bit more deviant action and less soulful yak and sci-fi mumbo-jumbo. A scene after the main credits paves the way for Eternals 2.

David Quinlan

USA 2021. UK Distributor: Disney (Marvel). Technicolor.
157 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 04 Nov 2021