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'Eternals' just not as grand as it wants to be

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Film review: Eternals (12A), The Light Cinema, Wisbech, out now

Starring: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Don Lee, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie.

Running time: 2hr 37m.

Director: Chloé Zhao

Director Chloé Zhao with actor Richard Madden
Director Chloé Zhao with actor Richard Madden

Chloé Zhao was the first woman of colour and only the second female ever to win best director when she was given the award at the Oscars this year, so the decision to hire her to oversee the latest offering from Marvel was seen as an important move for diversity.

And, without completely shaking things up implausibly, she more or less succeeds in this film.

We have Brian Tyree Henry as weapons and technology inventor Phastos, the first superhero to be depicted as gay in an MCU film.

Don Lee is the first Korean superhero as the strongest Eternal, and the whole cast are from diverse ethnicities.

But, political correctness achieved, you still need to put together a good film – and Zhao just about achieves it here.

The plot is decent: an unexpected tragedy forces the Eternals, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years, to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, the Deviants.

In a series of flashbacks, we see the lives they were living and the lives they have lived together.

The film also alludes to the journey mankind and the earth it inhabits have made during that time, even referencing climate change. The trouble is, it tries to take too much on it too little time.

Any film over two hours is pushing the boundaries for me, but when you’re trying to deal with the whole of time... perhaps make it a two parter.

Although there was the usual Marvel bells and whistles thrown at it, the film just wasn’t as grand as it wanted to be.

There’s an all-star cast, but no-one really impresses. Gemma Chan as Sersi is quite forgettable, Angelina Jolie as Thena seems to be going through the motions and we don’t see enough of their leader Ajak, played by Salma Hayek.

And for a film supposedly bringing diversity into Marvel, the Indian characters of Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) and Karun (Harish Patel) are figures of fun more akin to a Seventies sitcom.

By Jeremy Ransome

Rating: 6/10

Also on from today (Friday)

Showing at the Light Cinema, Cromwell Road, Wisbech, from Friday

Ron’s Gone Wrong (PG)

Sat & Sun – 11.00, 13.15, 13.45; Wed 17th – 11.00

Paw Patrol: The Movie (U)

Family special: Sat & Sun – 10.10, 11.00

The Boss Baby: Family Business (PG)

Sat & Sun – 10.15, 10.45, 13.00 , 14.50

The Addams Family 2 (PG)

Sat & Sun – 10.00 (autism-friendly), 10.40, 12.30

Cry Macho (12A)

Fri – 15.20, 20.45; Sat 18.45, 21.30; Mon, Tue & Wed 17th – 15.20, 20.45 ; Thur 15.45, 20.45

Venom: Let there be Carnage (15)

Fri - 13.20, 15.50, 18.10, 20.40; Sat & Sun 16.00, 18.20, 20.45; Mon, Tue, Wed 17th – 13.02, 15.50, 18.10, 20.40; Thurs 18.20, 20.30

Dune (12A)

Fri, Mon, Tues, Wed 17th – 13.30, 17.00, 20.30; Sat & Sun – 16.30, 20.00; Thurs 18th – 13.30, 17.00

No Time To Die (12A)

Fri, Mon, Tues, Wed 17th 12.45, 15.45, 16.15, 19.15, 20.00– Sat & Sun 12.45, 15.40, 16.15, 19.15, 19.45; Thurs 18th 12.00, 15.30, 19.15

Eternals (12A)

Fri, Mon, Tue, Wed 17th 12.00, 13.00, 15.30, 16.20, 19.00, 19.45; Sat & Sun – 12.15, 13.15, 15.45, 16.45, 19.30, 20.15; Thurs 18th 12.15, 15.40, 16.45, 19.10, 20.15. Fri 12 baby friendly. Subtitled: Tue 12, Thurs 15.40

The French Dispatch (15)

Fri, Mon, Tue, Wed 17th 13.00; Thurs 18th 14.00

Spencer (12A)

Fri, Mon, Tue, Wed 17th, Thurs 18th 13.30, 16.30, 19.30; Sat & Sun 13.00, 16.00, 19.00. Tues 13.30 (silver screen)

Tick, tick… Boom! (12A)

Fri, Mon, Tue, Wed 17th 12.30, 17.50; Sat & Sun 17.30;Thurs 18th 12.45

Ghostbusters : Afterlife (12A)

Thurs 18th 13.00, 13.50, 16.10, 16.50, 19.00, 19.45

Showing at the Luxe cinema, Alexandra Road, Wisbech, from Friday...

Spencer (12A)

Fri: 13:30 & 16:30; Sat: 19:00; Sun: 20:00; Mon: 16:45 & 19:45; Tues: 17:00 & 20:00; Wed 17th 16:30.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (12A)

Thur 18th: 17:00 & 20:15

Ron’s Gone Wrong (PG)

Sat: 16:00; Sun 17.15 (sensory friendly)

Cliff Richard: The Great 80 Tour (Encore)

Fri: 19:30; Sun: 14:00; Wed 17th: 19:30

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