Things I Loved About Eternals
wow that was an amazing movie and it fucked me up I have so many emotions
let's go down the list of Immortal Family Angst
1. The Immortal Family Angst: First off, the 7000-year-old gods were gorgeous and powerful and petty and human, which is everything I could’ve asked for in a Mythological Deities movie. They��ve definitely got that Greek Mythology Olympians vibe with their differing fields of expertise (what they were made for + what they came to embody over the centuries), but I guess what makes them more or less fucked up than Greek gods is their unquestionable love for each other. Isn’t that such a curse and a blessing?
2. The physical disability representation from Makkari: When she spoke, everyone automatically fell silent, and not once in the film was her disability a hindrance to her. Why? Because her 7000-year-old family members accommodated her needs, which isn’t that impossible to do. (Headcanon: her machine body might’ve been built with deaf ears because constantly breaking the sound barrier might be disastrous to the eardrums, maybe. Also I love her combat style, speed is deadly.)
3. The mental disability representation from Thena: This was done so well, with Ajak continuously reminding her, “You are loved,” with the others supporting her in not wanting to give up who she is, with Gilgamesh agreeing to keep her company through the years and constantly being there to remind her that just because she can’t fight the same way she used to doesn’t mean she is less loved.
Mental illness can become more difficult to deal with when one experiences the loss of a loved one. Thena's character arc showed that though Gilgamesh was gone, the progress she had made and the determination to stay with her recovery did not become null. Sometimes remembering the love that was given to you is the reminder you need to continue to accept yourself, illness and all. (That cave battle metaphor for mental illness was on point. The Deviant was doomed the moment he quoted Gilgamesh without truly understanding the humanity he'd stolen from him.)
4. Phastos’s loving family representation: How about this disillusioned god of inventions, who saw all the bad that humanity could do and also rediscovered the good that humanity could offer? He’s a gay black man who’s got a happy, loving relationship with his handsome husband and his beautiful son. Wow did I love seeing this on the big screen. (Also his combat scenes? What a badass.)
5. Ajak, Ikaris, Gilgamesh, and fate: Let’s talk about these three. In a way, Ajak and Ikaris’s endings were almost fated due to the choices they made. Ajak could’ve chosen to stand her ground sooner, or could’ve not burdened her favorite child with the heaviest weight she carried. Ikaris could’ve chosen to accept the change of plans and reassessed his faith earlier. But neither of them could shake off the responsibility they were indoctrinated into that easily. Ajak’s favor of Ikaris might’ve doomed them both, but how could a mother love her son and not give him a chance to prepare for the approaching end? Could she have truly avoided raising him in the spitting image of herself? The loneliness she must have felt, with her burden. A Shakespearean tragedy, in the flesh.
In contrast, Gilgamesh did nothing to deserve his fate. Where Ajak was the Mind, Gilgamesh was obviously the Heart. He’s the one who volunteers to dedicate his life to helping Thena live hers. Without Gilgamesh, Ikaris would’ve died in the Amazon forest. He’s the protector, readily sharing comforting words and good food, as well as a badass fist. You could say he’s the purest embodiment of who an Eternal is. It makes me feel some type of thing, knowing that the tale of Gilgamesh is the first human epic we have a remaining record of, and it’s the story of a man who grew into a good, compassionate king and met a very human death. (Interesting how the Deviant became so human-like after absorbing Gilgamesh’s essence.)
Ajak, Ikaris, and Gilgamesh, despite their godly power, are not named after gods. They are named after mortal heroes (Ajax and Icarus from Greek mythology, Gilgamesh from ancient Mesopotamian mythology). Like their namesakes, it was not their power that defined who they were, and for them were reserved the most human ends.
6. Ikaris, Sprite, and immortality: They really came for my throat with the Peter Pan and Tinkerbell reference. Eternal youth isn't all that great, especially for Sprite or Ikaris. Peter Pan killed his mother because he couldn't bear to break out of his old way of life. He was unwilling to grow up. In contrast, Sprite wants more than anything else to be able to grow up, but is held in stagnation against her will. But in the end, when Peter Pan is gone and Wendy Darling is the new immortal leader of Neverland, Tinkerbell chooses what Wendy Darling had and leaves her old self behind. She changes.
(In the beginning of the movie, the title Eternals sounds grand and impressive. But near the end of the movie, when Ikaris talks about eternity with Sersi, the name no longer sounds glorious. Eternity sounds like a curse.)
7. Kingo and his faith: Take notes, Ikaris, this is how not to wage a holy war in the name of your faith. Kingo did leave Sprite to loneliness to pursue his love of movies, but at his core, his first and foremost love is for his family. (Something about Fighter Classes and how they throw themselves into danger for the other robot deities does something to my heart.) Despite his love for humanity, he cannot compromise his beliefs. That does not mean he is willing to harm others for that faith, because that is not what faith should be for. (Looking at you, Ikaris.)
8. Druig and his burned-out love: What a way to deal with a morally gray mind-controlling god, whose only wish was for humans to stop fighting and live companionably together. Here’s this deeply tired, flawed person who was unable to lose his empathy, however hard he may have wanted to. He was willing to shoulder the blame for preventing a Celestial’s birth if it meant sparing Sersi the weight, and I think that might be the essence of his character.
9. Sersi and her destructive creation: Finally, we come to the sorceress of myth (named after Circe from Greek mythology). Sersi is the most loving, kind-hearted person, but the power of creation she wields is the most destructive force of all. She shares the same characteristic with Celestials. This movie seems to be saying, ‘look hard at miraculous acts of creation, and make sure you know what the price of that creation is’.
"It is the most natural thing in the world to want to protect the one you love," said Gilgamesh. Sersi did so, and so did Ikaris. What a shame that it was such a struggle for Ikaris to do the most natural thing in the world. What a shame that Sersi's heart made a choice that would weigh her down with enormous guilt and terrible repercussions. It should not be so terrible to want to protect, and yet.
(Maybe it’s the way these robot deities were programmed, but every one of these people seem to have an instinctive love for humans and their world. That includes Ikaris, who took one last look back at the beautiful planet he had loved for several millennia, before flying into his destruction. If he had listened to love more than duty, things might be different. But then he wouldn’t be Ikaris. Again, Shakespearean.)
10. Celestials and their birth: What if all Celestials who were brought forth into the world by Eternals are a little in love with them, from that first mind-meld at the beginning of their life? What if Tiamut, while connecting with these tiny implements of birth and creation, saw their sorrow for the destruction of a beloved planet and chose—with a newborn deity's own free will—to make the sacrifice for these grieving, loving robots? (Why the continuous cycle of rebirth for this specific group of robots? Can this expression of sentiment be explained in any other way than love? Arishem may not be aware how much his tools are loved.)
(Also I can't believe the eventual death of the universe, which is highly likely considering the actual science of everything, can be explained mythologically as Star-Forgers who grew too compassionate for the products of their creations and chose a slow and certain death over a hard-reset cycle. What a story.)
(If you think of the planet as the mother and the Celestial as the child, the movie is a pro-abortion metaphor. Of course mothers have a right to abortion if the pregnancy is life-threatening. The potential for new life cannot outweigh the free choice of who is already here. It's a question of seeing humans as mere implements of procreation or as actualized individuals with vibrant lives.)
11. Love can take many forms: Safe, sane, and consensual sex is a perfectly natural activity for humans in love. Cohabitation of platonic life partners is also a perfectly natural manifestation of love. Familial love is a wonderful thing when shared with the right people. Kissing is a beautiful affirmation of love, but it is not a requirement for two people to share a special connection together. The forehead touches in this movie made me scream internally. (Druig and Makkari own my soul, by the way. I don’t entirely understand how this happened. My heart I’ve given to Gilgamesh and Thena. Sersi can have my everything else.)
12. Found Family Dynamics: This actually wrecked me. The way Sersi and Ikaris acted in Phastos’s home, like they felt comfortable to be there, in that house and in that company. The way Ajak loved and cared for her children, and how she tried her hardest to do right by them despite knowing she was merely a tool. The way Druig, Makkari, and Phastos shared a couch. The way everyone laughed around Gilgamesh’s dinner table. The way Sprite told a story. The way Kingo said the word “family.” The way they waited for Thena to wake up. Just, so much about them. (I might need some AU fics to mend the hole they left in me.)
13. The Good Humans: Shout-out to Dane, Karun, Phastos’s family, and the other good humans I’m probably forgetting. Congratulations, your decency and kindness prompted a group of robot deities to fight for your continued survival. Keep being the good parts of humanity.
Conclusion: This is the best multi-character movie I have seen in my life. I became so intensely enamored with all of the individual characters, it was unreal. THIS is how you do a multi-character movie. What a masterpiece.