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In the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there was Iron Man. In the very beginning, there was a bunch of Eternals.

Marvel debuts trailer for Chloe Zhao's superhero movie 'Eternals' > USA TODAY See more videos "> See more videos > > > > > What to watch next
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The newest Marvel superhero film covers more than 7,000 years of history and, if that wasn’t a large enough feat, introduces 10 very different new personalities – including characters played by A-listers Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek – to the mega-popular movie franchise, courtesy of Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao (“Nomadland”). An impressively ambitious and often beautiful film, “Eternals” (★★½ out of four; rated PG-13; in theaters Nov. 5) is in many ways the anti-Marvel movie: It only occasionally references the ultra-connected MCU, favoring mythology creation over forcing itself into the grander plan. Unfortunately, the exceedingly earnest narrative struggles to juggle its many subplots and tries to do too much in its hefty two hours and 47 minutes.

Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani, far left), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), Thena (Angelina Jolie), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Ajak (Salma Hayek), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and Druig (Barry Keoghan) are the immortal superbeings of Marvel's © MARVEL STUDIOS Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani, far left), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), Thena (Angelina Jolie), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Ajak (Salma Hayek), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and Druig (Barry Keoghan) are the immortal superbeings of Marvel's "Eternals."

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The Eternals are immortal superpowered beings sent to Earth – specifically Mesopotamia, circa 5000 B.C. – by the cosmic Celestials to protect humans from dangerous alien monsters called Deviants. And akin to the Avengers, they’re a complementary supergroup: healing leader Ajak (Hayek), matter-manipulating Sersi (Gemma Chan), illusionist Sprite (Lia McHugh), inventive Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and mind-controlling Druig (Barry Keoghan) are the thinkers, while eye-blasting Ikaris (Richard Madden), energy-shooting Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), ultra-speedy Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), weapons master Thena (Jolie) and super-strong Gilgamesh (Don Lee) are the warriors.

But this family went their separate ways after wiping out all the Deviants over several millennia, and in present day, the movie catches up with Sersi in London, where she and her roommate Sprite pass themselves off as humans in society. Sersi is out with her boyfriend, museum co-worker Dane Whitman (Kit Harington), when a Deviant attacks them and Ikaris (aka Sersi’s ex) shows up to save the day.

'Eternals': Kumail Nanjiani says getting 'jacked' helped him break out of stereotypical roles

Sersi (Gemma Chan) is living among human society in present-day London in "Eternals." © MARVEL STUDIOS Sersi (Gemma Chan) is living among human society in present-day London in "Eternals."

The reappearance of the creature, more souped-up than they’ve seen before, leads Sersi, Sprite and Ikaris on a “getting the band back together” mission, first tracking down Ajak in South Dakota and then finding the others: Kingo, for example, is a famous Bollywood star and Gilgamesh is working with Thena on PTSD resulting from eons of war. But as they reunite, old dysfunction returns, truths are revealed and differences arise about their role on Earth in the past and present.

Utilizing Zhao’s penchant for naturalistic environments, “Eternals” looks unlike any other Marvel movie and is perhaps the most welcoming for MCU neophytes in forever. There’s as many references to Superman (yes, the rival DC hero) as there are to Thor, and it helps to cast 10 ridiculously attractive people as characters even comic-book fans deem obscure.

It’s a minor miracle that each Eternal gets their moment: The movie-stealing Nanjiani’s great whenever the fame-obsessed Kingo has a chance to shine; Sersi being torn between Ikaris and Dane symbolizes much of what the movie tries to say about humanity; and the Thena/Gilgamesh dynamic is also fascinating. (Jolie gets one of her best action roles in years here.)

Arishem is the Celestial that sends the Eternals to Earth in Marvel's © MARVEL STUDIOS Arishem is the Celestial that sends the Eternals to Earth in Marvel's "Eternals."

But when you factor in the heap of characters, the various twists and turns, a murder mystery and all the bouncing between present day and ancient history, “Eternals” becomes a head-spinning, multi-car pileup of stuff. An intriguing theme like the ethical conundrum of the greater good is just touched on instead of satisfyingly explored. Zhao’s included so many Marvel firsts and important diversity elements – a sexual encounter (albeit PG-rated), Makkari's inclusion as a deaf superhero, a gay family being an important part of Phastos’ story – yet each only gets so much screen time before the story moves on to something else.

Zhao understands the larger assignment, as the epic sets the stage for future MCU intrigue. Her attention to detail and eye for design does wonders, even if by the end it all feels like an eternal chore.

>Full screen 1/22 SLIDES © VALERIE MACON, AFP via Getty Images

The immortal heroes of Marvel's "Eternals" were out and about Monday night! 

Directed by Oscar-winning Chloé Zhao, the latest movie from Marvel Studios premiered on Oct. 18 in Los Angeles at the Dolby Theatre. The movie stars Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani and Salma Hayek as immortal heroes. "Eternals" hits theaters on Nov. 5. 

Scroll through for more photos from tonight's star-studded premiere, including Jolie attending with her children: Maddox, Vivienne, Knox, Shiloh and Zahara. 

2/22 SLIDES © VALERIE MACON, AFP via Getty Images
Jolie is pictured here with her children walking behind her.
3/22 SLIDES © VALERIE MACON, AFP via Getty Images
Jolie strikes a pose.
4/22 SLIDES © VALERIE MACON, AFP via Getty Images
Hayek plays Ajak in "Eternals."
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Hayek and her daughter Valentina Paloma Pinault arrive at the world premiere of "Eternals" in Los Angeles.
6/22 SLIDES © Rich Fury, Getty Images
Harington plays the Black Knight in "Eternals."
7/22 SLIDES © Rich Fury, Getty Images
"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" actress Meng'er Zhang at the Los Angeles premiere of "Eternals."
8/22 SLIDES © Rich Fury, Getty Images
Kumail Nanjiani plays Kingo in Marvel's "Eternals."
9/22 SLIDES © VALERIE MACON, AFP via Getty Images
(L-R) Malin Akerman and her husband Jack Donnelly.
Slideshow continues on the next slide 10/22 SLIDES © VALERIE MACON, AFP via Getty Images
Filipino-American singer Bella Poarch poses for the cameras.
11/22 SLIDES © VALERIE MACON, AFP via Getty Images
Lauren Ridloff plays Makkari in "Eternals."
12/22 SLIDES © VALERIE MACON, AFP via Getty Images
Actor Troy Kotsur at the world premiere of "Eternals."
13/22 SLIDES © Rich Fury, Getty Images
(L-R) Nikki Chapman and Destin Cretton.
14/22 SLIDES © VALERIE MACON, AFP via Getty Images
(L-R) Screenwriters Kaz Firpo and Ryan Firpo.
Slideshow continues on the next slide 15/22 SLIDES © Rich Fury, Getty Images
"Werewolves Within" actor Sam Richardson.
16/22 SLIDES © Rich Fury, Getty Images
Actress and comedian Dani Fernandez.
17/22 SLIDES © Rich Fury, Getty Images
(L-R) Patton Oswalt and Meredith Salenger.
18/22 SLIDES © Rich Fury, Getty Images
YouTuber and MUA Patrick Starr.
19/22 SLIDES © Rich Fury, Getty Images
Krystina Arielle.
20/22 SLIDES © Rich Fury, Getty Images
Remi Cruz.
21/22 SLIDES © Rich Fury, Getty Images
Matt Lintz
22/22 SLIDES © VALERIE MACON, AFP via Getty Images
Costumes are on display in the arrival area ahead of the world premiere of Marvel's "Eternals" at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
22/22 SLIDES

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Review: Marvel's overstuffed 'Eternals' is a star-studded exercise in superhero excess

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/movies/news/review-marvels-overstuffed-eternals-is-a-star-studded-exercise-in-superhero-excess/ar-AAPU7Zc

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