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Eternals Receives Lowest Cinema Score in MCU History

Critics have called the 26th movie from the Marvel Universe "over-ambitious," predicting an all out flop. But movie goers may prove them wrong.
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Updated on November 8, 2021

The future may not be looking so bright for Eternals after all. According to ScreenRant, Chloe Zhao’s MCU debut just received a CinemaScore of B. Officially, that makes it the lowest scoring Marvel movie to date, garnering the most mixed and poorest reviews ever.

Last month, countless critics predicted an outcome like this one, but the news still comes as a shock to many. Also, it seems the generally poor critical reception doesn’t seem to be stopping the “overly ambitious, yet progressive” epic from dominating the box office.

How Eternals is Doing at The Box Office

After the not-so-great score was released, many moviegoers quickly responded by saying things like “wow, that’s even higher than I thought it deserved.” But perhaps all of these mixed reviews are actually piquing the public’s curiosity. Reportedly, Eternals had the third-highest opening night of 2021.

That part comes as no surprise. For those unfamiliar, Zhao is the brilliant, award-winning director of Nomadland. Expectedly, people are excited to see what else she can do. Whether audiences are truly loving Eternals or not remains to be seen. As of right now, the masses (and those most loyal to Marvel) are going to see it.

Twitter/@CinemaScore

Eternals: What Critics Are Saying About Chloe Zhao’s Big Marvel Debut

Original Story (October 25, 2021)

For those who haven’t heard, Eternals is the first major studio film by Chloé Zhao. Not so long ago, Zhao took home best director awards at the Oscars, the Academy Awards, and the Golden Globes for Nomadland. And perhaps, those major honors put a certain amount of pressure on her next project, with public expectations exceedingly high.

Many critics are calling Zhao’s latest project “too ambitious,” seemingly overstuffed with more than even the lengthy two+ hours can carry, much less unpack. Still, reviewers give credit where it’s due. According to Steve Rose, Zhao “manages to get some nice-looking shots and personal drama in her superhero debut, but there’s just too much mythology to explain,” per BBC. And ‘too much going on’ seems to be the general consensus.

Figuratively and Literally, There’s Too Much Ground To Cover

Marvel

After giving it two stars, The Guardian said “everything about Eternals is huge, which is both its strength and its weakness,” but praised its “refreshingly diverse” ensemble cast, which includes Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kit Harrington, and Kumail Nanjiani.

Eternals is about a group of 10 demigods who came to earth 7000 years ago to “help protect humans from the deviants” and save the whole world in seven days. The story spans the galaxy and the entirety of civilization. The Guardian says that it’s “not exactly boring,” but it’s also not all that exciting for a premise intentionally this epic, lacking “the breezy wit of Marvel’s best movies.”

Eternals Makes Marvel History But Holds Itself Back

big cloud puff in the sky warning end of days
Marvel Cinematic Universe

The Guardian wasn’t the only publication to arrive at a lackluster rating. Kevin Maher called the flick “self-sabotaging,” giving it two stars, saying its actual plot was “navel-gazing superheroes in quest for a decent script.” But rightfully so, Maher also credited the diverse bunch of titular characters.

As noted by BBC, Eternals comes with two major firsts for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) is MCU’s first openly gay superhero. Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) is its first deaf superhero portrayed on screen. In this way, the movie takes two giant steps forward, but the plot itself falls flat.

Some Critics Are Blaming The Award Winning Director

Chloe-Zhao-embed
Wikipedia | Gage Skidmore

The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin gave Eternals a dim and grim two stars as wells, insisting that while Marvel vividly attempted to “push boundaries,” they arrived at “insipid” results. Collin also felt Zhao’s creative strengths and “compassionate eye and poetic feel for landscape” didn’t shine through, calling Zhao’s directorial calling card “nigh-on undetectable.”

BBC Culture gave Eternals three stars. Although, Nicholas Barber declared it “ultimately unmemorable.” He even went so far as to call it “the most disappointing MCU [Marvel Cinematic Universe] film yet,” heavily blaming those behind the scenes for its failings. “Hiring a writer-director who specializes in muted, documentary-like dramas for an action spectacular about interstellar demigods may not have been the wisest choice,” he explained.

Brownie Points Dished Out For Unusually “Genuine” Scenes

Angelina Jolie looking off into the distance in Eternals
Marvel Cinematic Universe

The folks at Empire were also a little kinder, with reviewer John Nugent awarding Eternals three stars. While his take was well aligned with those who gave it less, Nugent notes that including “a genuine sex scene, and an onscreen gay kiss” were big firsts for Marvel that must be praised.

No matter how progressive Eternals might be, it reportedly still plummets at warp speed into all too familiar pitfalls for superhero movies. “Director Chloé Zhao’s entry into the superhero world is assured, ambitious, and told on a dizzyingly cosmic scale – but even it can’t escape the clichés of superhero storytelling,” Nugent adds.

In The End, Eternals is A Movie For True Marvel Fans

The Eternals sit at meeting in spaceship at round table
Marvel Cinematic Universe

As it stands, the critical consensus is that Zhou’s Marvel movie debut is unlike anything the MCU has seen or done before; But that doesn’t necessarily mean it works. Still, there are critics out there who promise Zhou gets the job done right, and Marvel fans have nothing to fear.

According to ScreenrantEternals is “still worth seeing for all fans of the MCU, from casual to diehard,” dubbing the movie “a thrilling, epic superhero adventure all its own, with a captivating emotional heart, brought to life beautifully by Zhao’s direction.” 

Eternals is expected to hit theaters on November 5. Watch the trailer below.

Youtube/Marvel