“The Eternals”, on Canal +: superheroes in the fight against global warming


She had first been approached to direct Black Widow (2021), film finally entrusted to the Australian Cate Shortland. Postponed. Marvel wanted to work with Chloé Zhao who, herself, dreamed of it. And it’s on The Eternals that the renowned director of American independent cinema was able to enter the studio yard.

It’s hard to imagine a bigger gap than the one she lent herself to, in the space of a few months, going from nomadland (Golden Lion to Venise, four British Baftas, two Golden Globes and three Oscars) to Eternals. In other words, from an independent production to a big-budget blockbuster ($200 million). From a van trip on the American roads, going to meet the (real) victims of capitalism and the most deprived, to a science fiction interplanetary teleportation which stages creatures endowed with superpowers.

Something to arouse curiosity, to know if the filmmaker was going to be able to print her mark, despite the constraints imposed by the specifications, the mechanics and the Marvel aesthetics. The answer is yes, if we judge by the share of humanity – and humor – dispensed to superheroes, the primacy given to large desert spaces, the graphic poetry included in the image and the formal fluidity that gives the story a certain simplicity. An unclear bet at the start.

Unpublished epic

Because the twenty-sixth film of Marvel casts a wide net, very wide even, thanks to the ten “Eternals”, created in comic strip by Jack Kirby, in 1976, and chosen for this unprecedented epic. Five men and five women (parity requires!) from the planet Olympia, who came to Earth thousands of years ago to protect the inhabitants against predators called the “Deviants”, kinds of dinosaurs all in muscles and sprawling arteries. A successful mission at the cost of many struggles waged all over the world.

Remaining on Earth since, dispersed on all continents, they led their lives discreetly among humans. After a passionate 5,000-year relationship with the Eternal Ikaris (Richard Madden), Sersi (Gemma Chan) has rebuilt her life with an ordinary Earthling. Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) has built a successful acting career in Bollywood. Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) married a man and started a family. Thena (Angelina Jolie) withdrew into the desert…

Time has flown, and everyone has evolved. Some are attached to our species, others are longing for their planet and missions to accomplish. The close-knit group, which we saw fighting in the past, has lost its coherence, even its motivation. And here they are forced to meet to resume service, since the Deviants are back. However, in these modern times, the threat of global warming has been added, which threatens to make everything disappear. Ecological message heard!

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“The Eternals”, on Canal +: superheroes in the fight against global warming