Marvel's Eternals / Disney

Eternals, assemble.

Wait, those aren’t the words. The next team-up movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe does not include Iron Man, Captain America, or Spider-Man. The assembled team is an immortal alien race that’s called upon to fight upon a new enemy after secretly living on Earth for over 7,000 years. The movie is Eternals, which arrives in theaters on November 5.

The little voice in my head just said, “Wait, this is a Marvel movie?” Eternals includes powerful aliens who fight to protect the fate of humanity so yes, this is a superhero movie. However, there’s something different about Eternals. It doesn’t look like your typical superhero film with an abundance of CGI and VFX. This clearly wasn’t all shot in a studio in front of a green screen.

Eternals has its own visual style, and that signature vision belongs to the director, Chloé Zhao. Zhao is fresh off of the highly successful Nomadland, which won three Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. I am not saying that Nomadland and Eternals are in the same ballpark in terms of genre. However, watch Nomadland, and then watch this trailer, and it becomes clear they belong to the same director. The sweeping wide shots, the use of natural light, and the facial closeups are apparent in both films thanks to Zhao’s distinct style. In an interview with Variety, Kevin Feige couldn’t hold back his praise for Zhao, saying,” This is right out of a camera; there’s no VFX work to this at all! A beautiful sunset, with perfect waves and mist coming up from the shore on this giant cliffside… this is a signature style.”

The plot of the Eternals revolves around one question: Why now? If the Eternals have been around for over 7,000 years, why did they sit back and watch Thanos wipe out half the population? That’s a question they will have to answer once when they come out of hiding. The trailer also cites the arrival of the Deviants, the Eternals’ evil enemy, as one of the reasons why the powerful heroes must come together to defend humanity.

The MCU needs some new star power with the (alleged) departures of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson. Eternals includes big-name actors and actresses like Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek. The cast also includes emerging stars from popular franchises like Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians), Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta), and the leaders from Game of Thrones, Richard Madden and Kit Harrington.

The tide is changing in the world of film and television. Superhero films and TV shows are starting to become more respected within their respective critical academies. Wandavision and The Falcon & Winter Soldier both received multiple Emmy nominations this year. Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix both won Oscars for their portrayal of the Joker. James Mangold received a screenwriting nomination for Logan. Black Panther was the first MCU film to be nominated for Best Picture. At some point, a superhero film is going to break through at the Oscars in non-technical categories. Under Zhao’s direction, perhaps Eternals will resonate with the Academy and result in multiple Oscar nominations.

In a post-Endgame world, world needs a new group of heroes. The Eternals might be the answer to the future of the MCU.

Are you excited about Eternals? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

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