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Eternals (12A, 156 minutes)
If ever there was a case for Marvel and Kevin Feige to take the title Avengers: Endgame literally it’s this pretentious piece of self important twaddle.
Director du jour Chloe Zhao, a film maker of realism, depth and subtlety, is completely ill suited to what is an embarrassment of epic proportions that was meant to be the flagship of phase 2 in the Marvel Universe.
Based on Jack Kirby’s comic book characters, Eternals are aliens sent to earth in 5000BC by a creator with the supposedly altruistic agenda of allowing civilization to develop on its own while protecting it from monsters called Deviants, who not only have a really silly name more suitable to the dirty mac brigade, but also bear an uncanny resemblance to the villains in the Tom Cruise film Edge Of Tomorrow.
Ajak (Salma Hayek), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Thena (Angelina Jolie), Sirsi (Gemma Chan) etc are adopted as legendary deities as the centuries pass, but when the Deviants suddenly return in the present day, the group must re-emerge while coming to terms with the hidden truth behind their mission.
Diversity makes sense when it’s done naturally, but there’s so much rampant box ticking going on here I lost count (although there’s no trans character so I expect there will be some finger pointing over that).
Set pieces of green screen madness and the inevitable moments of comic relief fail to elevate a pedestrian screenplay written by committee and even more pedestrian performances that make the 7,000-year storyline feel like it’s playing out in real time.
Hayek admitted on Graham Norton’s show recently that she signed on without being allowed to see a script first but I expect the cast will take comfort from a quick look at their bank statements when they ask themselves why on earth they did this dreadful rubbish.