Linda Cook review: ‘Eternals’ is enjoyable part of MCU

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“Eternals”

When will the Marvel Cinematic Universe stop expanding?

Fans hope the answer is “Never.” A few days ago, it grew ever wider.

“Eternals” is no “Black Widow.” But it’s a better-than-average super-hero saga that’s worth seeing and that, with its extra scene at the very end of the credits, sets up yet another, and most welcome, addition in the future.

Chloe Zhao, whose “Nomadland” earned three Oscars – including one for Best Director, helmed the latest in the MCU which, soon after its released, had earned, as of this writing, more than $165 million at the box office.

This movie takes viewers way back … I mean WAY back …. To 5000 B.C. The Eternals, a group of superheroes with a variety of powers, have been dispatched by Arishem, one of a group of beings known as Celestials, to protect Earth from kinda/sorta dragon/dinosaur meanies called Deviants.

Eternals – think “Star Trek” here – are not allowed to interfere with people in any way.  

Ajak (Salma Hayek) is the leader, and she is a healer. One Eternal can control minds, one has super speed, another is a shape-shifter. Thena (Angelina Jolie) is a great warrior.

Jump to the present day, where the Eternals discover they have not eliminated all of the Deviants after all. Before this, the Eternals had gone their separate ways. But now they must reunite to figure out why Deviants have appeared again and what threatens the human race.

There’s a lot going on here, with interesting relationships and engaging performances. Just because this doesn’t pack the wallop of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” doesn’t mean this isn’t a fun experience.

The downside? The running time easily could have been trimmed. The characters are likeable but at times they seem to be shadows of more well-known Marvel heroes.

“Eternals” may not be memorable, but it’s a good time and a good filler for Marvel fans awaiting “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

2 ½ stars

Rated: PG-13 for violence and foul language.

Running time: Two hours and 37 minutes.

In theaters.

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