Monday, November 29, 2021

What do I do when I'm wrong? - An Eternals Review

It's been said for years now that movies in the MCU definitely have a formula that they stick to. It's made them a lot of money. Some like that, some don't. Either way, it's definitely proven successful for Disney and Marvel as they've raked in crazy amounts of money and have 26 movies all set in the same universe and with at least 8 more on the way. Maybe it was time to change up the recipe. 

Eternals did just that, for better or for worse. Some haven't liked it, others have. It was definitely an adventure, though. Either way, it'll be on Disney+ January 12th, 2022 if you haven't seen it yet.

Here's my main question, and the ultimate moral conundrum in this film: What do I do when I'm wrong? What do I do when I believe something and I discover it's hurting people in a way I had never considered? Do I pretend that it doesn't matter? Do I keep going on my path and decide that it's worth some greater good? Do I change who I am and what I do? It seems like there's a right answer to these questions, but it wouldn't be a conundrum if it weren't difficult.

(or does it?)

With so many things in debate right now,  are we open to actually trying to understand the other side, and just maybe, see if that changes anything within us?

I mean, real world stories exist with this topic, right? Think about the class action lawsuits of Erin Brockovich finding out that the companies knew for a fact that they were poisoning the water supply, and people just chose to ignore it and let them get sick. They buried it from their minds. Whistleblowers seem to have a bad rap, but they are trying to talk about something they believe is dangerous and prevent people from getting hurt. That's their intent, at least.  

One wonderful example of this is Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender. When speaking to the Fatherlord (Uh, I mean, Firelord) about his realization, he speaks more candidly than his father is used to hearing:

Zuko: Growing up we were taught that the fire nation was the greatest civilization in history, and somehow the war was our way of sharing our greatness with the rest of the world. What an amazing lie that was! The people of the world are terrified by the Fire Nation. They don't see our greatness. They hate us, and we deserve it! We created an era of fear in the world, and if we don't want the world to destroy itself, we need to replace it with an era of peace and kindness.

Ozai: Your uncle has gotten to you hasn't he?

Zuko: Yes, he has. 

Zuko changed, even though it was difficult to do so. He had to literally take swords just to speak his mind to his father, later defending his life and choosing to spare his father's life after the conversation. He didn't hate his father, but he had also grown to see more than he could before. He had seen the world, gained perspective, and grown to care for others in new ways.

One of my favorite quotes sums this up similarly, "There isn't a person you wouldn't love if you could read their whole story." - Marjorie Hinckley - This is what happened with Sersi. She saw and she grew in love. Ikarus somehow forgot the love for others. 

*Now for the Spoilers*

Apparently the Eternals, people that are supposedly immortal, die just as easily as everyone else. That was new, especially for a Marvel movie. The Eternals in the comics also had all the same powers, with some specializing in different areas. The movie changed that and gave each different powers, which actually weakened them quite a bit. Weakness in heroes makes for more interesting stories. 

One of the biggest disappointments was that while the movie was set in the same universe and we see them on Earth for 7,000 years, there's literally no connection to other films beyond some name dropping. At the end of the film, there are no Eternals on the Earth left to interact with any Avengers at all. Their adventure takes them to new places, but the lack of connection to the MCU was a bit disappointing. That's one of the primary reasons it's so fun!

Let's take a look at some of the characters, mostly at their reactions to the big movie revelation, plus their DnD alignment just because it's interesting:

Ikarus - Lawful neutral/evil/good - He follows the law, no matter what. He follows the rules, not for the good of people, but because they're the rules. When he discovers that his time on Earth (again SEVEN THOUSAND YEARS) has all been a lie, he immediately decides to still follow the Celestial that he hasn't interacted with that entire time. Only Ajak could commune with him, remember? Why? Because that's the rule. His decision to turn and kill Ajak was super sudden in the flashbacks. Also, his decision to *fly into the sun* at the end was pretty anticlimactic, albeit apparently on point for a man named Ikarus. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised by that one now that I think of it. I could honestly go off on a whole soapbox about suicide and how it should never be the answer, and I stand by that. 

Sersi - Neutral good - She grows to love the people, from day one, and that's enough for her. Her decision to protect the people, even when she knows that is likely at the expense of her own life, attests to this. At the end she even told the others that she wasn't sure if what she had does was right, still questioning the decision to hurt one to save billions. 

Makkari - Neutral good - This girl. I loved her from start to finish. I loved that a deaf actress had a good role in a blockbuster film. I loved her powers and how fiercely she fought and used them to protect people, only really using them on the offensive in the big final battle. I loved how she and Druig, who we were all supposed to hate or fear, had this adorable love thing happening. 

Kingo - Chaotic good - Kingo seemed to accept himself on a deeper level than the others, owning up to being an Eternal to those around him, with an assistant that staked him because he thought he was a vampire! He also just so happened to be very wealthy because he had been generations of movie stars. 

There, now you have a discussion that brings in Marvel, Avatar, and D&D alignments. The only thing nerdier would be arguing over Star Wars vs. Star Trek. Whew, we dodged that blaster. 


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