Marvel has managed to find success this year as well with the help of big box office attractions such as Spider-Man: No Way Home, a movie that has already broken commercial records and has been positively received by fans and critics alike. The latest Chloe Zhao film, Eternals, cannot be counted among those successes even though it did end up doing well commercially.
After directing one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of last year in Nomadland, Zhao made the decision to venture into the lucrative cinematic world of Marvel to try and attempt a revision of the definition of what a Marvel film is. However, it has backfired since neither the critics nor the fans really appreciated what Zhao had been going for.
Featuring a stellar cast involving the likes of Harry Styles, Gemma Chan and Kit Harington among others, Eternals chronicles the conflicts between two alien races who continue their ancient battle on Earth. While Zhao was praised for her artistic vision, the film’s slow narrative structure and pacing felt out of place in a Marvel film which angered many fans.
Although the studio usually has a lot of creative control on the artistic projects it produces, Zhao maintained that Marvel let her take the lead for this one since they had known that she had wanted to make this specific project for the longest time. As a result, Eternals was a mixture of Marvel’s studio techniques and location-based filmmaking in areas like Camden, London.
At first, Zhao was offered standard shooting locations in the UK until she came across something better. She explained: “My partner, who’s the camera operator on Eternals, said, ‘We’ll go somewhere a bit more cooler than that. Come on.’ The bar we shot in is a place where Kit lives across the street. Gemma, Richard, it was everybody’s old stomping ground. Everyone had a story.”
After an October premiere, Eternals has hit the theatres and has had a strangely ambiguous reception. Check out the new trailer below.