Minority groups have been some of the biggest fans of the Marvel universe, cinematic or comic, because the struggle of being unique, fighting for the basic right to live, and the fear of not fitting into the status quo resonates deeply to the core of our existence. Yet, while we see ourselves in the struggles the mainstream characters endure, we seldom see ourselves portrayed in strong meaningful ways. Yes, there are powerful minority characters, but they are not many, and out of 30+ properties developed for MCU, you can count the representation in lead characters and actors, and film/tv shows dedicated to them – on one hand.
What Academy Award-winning director Chloé Zhao (and her team) have done with the Eternals is phenomenal. Zhao deconstructed an obscure property in the Marvel repertoire and brought it forward as a love letter to the minority groups who need our own heroes.
Now, I am not saying this film is a masterpiece of film, to be honest, sometimes it dragged, but – when you’re trying to tell 7000 years of back story and establish nuanced characters – chances are you won’t ace it all.
What she did get right, though, was allow Asian people, Black people, Black queer people, Latino people, East-Indian people, people with unconventional families, and people living with disabilities to find their own heroes. That was always what this was meant to be, and Eternals does it well, along with beautiful cinematography, special effects, acting, and directing.
Eternals also shifted the paradigm of what it means to be powerful. It wasn’t being a “Superman,” it wasn’t being a super fighter… Rather, empathy was the greatest power in the Marvel universe all along.
The real reason why the critics are panning this movie so hard is that for the first time they’re feeling what a lot of us have dealt with – they don’t fully see themselves in the movie, not significantly, and it makes them uncomfortable. Well, welcome to being a black queer comic lover, or a person living with disabilities who’s never had their own hero in the mainstream.
I for one loved this movie, and I love its promise: The MCU doesn’t give a damn about the fragile fanboys, they’re here to tell fantastic stories for everyone in Phase 4. That’s what Tony Stark and Captain America died for.
So ignore the hostile critics and go see this film! If you’re mad at it, stay mad. Just know it’s going to get a lot more uncomfortable for y’all the way they ended this movie.
Marvel’s Eternals is NOW PLAYING in cinemas only.