Readers Write In #426: Eternals: A reflection on God, powers and greater good

Posted on November 10, 2021

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(by Prakash Alagarsamy)

I am a fan of the MCU having read some comics. But on hearing the news that eternals is being made I was unsure. The comic book story is cliche as cliche gets. Even gaiman’s story is a done to earth superhero origin story. And seeing the all Star cast my doubts increased. Marvel films usually casted lesser/unknown actors who embodied that role and gained acceptance. Will eternals be able to do that. And after release seeing all the mixed reviews I felt vindicated. But duty called and I saw the film in theatre. And I thoroughly enjoyed it 

God: celestials are presented as creators of universe. If ever there was a god he would be like arishem. Uncaring of the people he created. And why would he. We are just like cattle to him. We bring cosmic food is a much better explanation of all the sufferings/ sin we see around us. I never imagined a comic book will have a better explanation of the nature of God than the so called revelations and scriptures.

Power: I always hated superman. His smug belief that helping people will automatically lead to a better world. Here we have the eternals genuinely grapple with what people have become. Some don’t care. But some want to actually help even if it meant loss of free will or technological backwardness. And the characters felt old. They looked like beings who actually lived 7000 years, With memory loss, bitterness, anger, loneliness. Their motivations in what they did felt organic. Greater good: so many films and novels have attemped to answer this question. I believe there are no easy answers. Here to the heroes debate among themselves. But I believe the finality of a planets destruction is too cruel. Maybe the celestials could have given us a warning to enable other planets colonization. But we don’t matter to them. We are ants. Disposable matter. Just fuel like petrol. And some of our heroes can’t bear that. Maybe they view us as their pets. But they do care. Icarus was a fascinating character. Maybe some Nazis were like him. Rationalising his sins for the so called greater good. His guilt and apparent suicide was well acted. You could feel his inner conflict. 

Marvel movies are bashed(somewhat deservedly) for being too fluffy with no real stakes. In that aspect eternals was deep( as Deep as a comic book movie can be). Maybe that was the reason for the mixed review. The audience I watched kept making stupid comments during the introspective scenes. But you expect critics to analyse a movie on its merits. I strongly believe eternals did well what it was set out to do. Maybe it will be appreciated in the future. Hope the MCU keeps making these kinds of movies too.