Why Didn't The Eternals Help Stop Thanos? Good Question – Collider.com

And/or any of the other supervillain threats and global catastrophes of the last 7,000 years.
[Editor's note: The following contains spoilers for Eternals.] I don't know, man. I get it. Marvel's latest superhero-palooza, Eternals, takes great pains to ensure we get it, that we understand why this crew of ancient, immortal superhumans sat on the sidelines while, say, an evil artificial intelligience attempted to drop an entire city on to Eastern Europe or a purple warlord from outer space snapped half the universe into non-existence. Gilgamesh (Don Lee), a man engineered by a cosmic god to be able to punch real hard, would've been extremely handy that time Corey Stoll decided to get a little too evil with his shrink suit. In a hypothetical tussle between Thena (Angelina Jolie), the literal goddess of war, and Mickey Rourke wearing laser whips on his arms, I know what the smart money bet would be. But Eternals explains, in great detail, why its titular band of demigods have stayed out of humanity's struggles for 7,000 years. It's a perfectly cogent reason. Unfortunately, it is also extremely funny on its surface and kind of horrifying when you dig a little deeper.
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Boiled down: They had to listen to their Celestial boss, Arishem (David Kaye), who plopped them on Earth with instructions to guide humankind through their various cultural and technological evolutions but to also let them kill the shit out of each other, as humans so often do, without interference. The only exception is in the case of the Deviants, the monstrous race of violent mutants the Celestials created by accident and now want to wipe from the planet like the terrible, terrible parents they are. Over several millennia, whenever a global catastrophe occurs—whether it's the atrocities of WWII or a band of dark elves making a whole mess out of South London—if it doesn't involve the Deviants, the Eternals adopted a strict "not my lane, not my job description" policy. Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) traversed the cosmos to take part in the final battle of Avengers: Endgame but my guy Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) can't hop on his private plane because his direct supervisor was very clear about who can and cannot get the finger guns.
Of course, Eternals—with Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao at the helm and an entire Avengers-worth of screenwriters in the credits—valiantly tries to unpack all this. There's a decidedly non-Disney movie to be made with these characters, one more explicitly concerned with the thin line between faith and fanaticism, the horror—embodied by Richard Madden's back-stabbing zealot Ikaris—of allowing acts of barbarity to occur in the name of the "greater good." (A concept Zhao clearly paints as a tempting lie, because spoilers the Celestials just want the energy of that sweet, delicious human violence to make more Celestials.)
But this is…not that film. The MCU has a colorful world to build, third-act laser battles to build; it has Easter Eggs to bury, Black Knights to armor up, vampires to bring outta' the dark. It's hard to effectively ponder the nature of humankind's role in its own destruction while also excitedly yelling "Harry Styles is in the MCU now and buddy, you better believe he fucks." This movie could be about how immortality hardens your heart toward mortals, but that's too at odds with the MCU itself, which is sold on the idea that the stories never end and that's awesome. Subtlety can only exist in the tiny dark spaces between the fireworks, so what we're left with is a cast of uber-powerful main characters who watched wars and civil unrest and an army of whale-monsters emerge from the sky above Manhattan but didn't help for a hilariously thin reason; worse, anyone who isn't Brian Tyree Henry's tragedy-scarred Phastos doesn't seem too conflicted about it when we meet them and, worse still, this movie proves it isn't a defect in their Celestial programming. Among the Eternals' many powers, the ability to say "it's kind of weird our intergalactic deity won't let us stop genocide" was there the whole time.
As much as it doesn't sound like it, I enjoyed Eternals. It's one of the MCU's weightier entries, Zhao and DP Ben Davis snuck in some gorgeous cinematography—those wide open spaces!—and while the franchise's first "sex scene" is unbuttered toast left on the counter, this is still a movie designed around a dozen of the most attractive people on the planet wearing fun costumes and giving each other meaningful glances. But it's clear the MCU is going to keep growing and growing but never deviate too far from the style and tone Phase 1 set in stone circa 2010. We've been in this universe for more than a decade now; the rules and parameters have been firmly established. Almost by design, the explanations for how there were also living myths and vampires and werewolves and mutants walking around the entire time are just going to get more flimsy and, by extension, funnier. (We will eventually just land on "The Mulitiverse!" the same way Star Wars landed on "The Force!") Zhao did her darndest. The movie explains why the Eternals didn't help out with Thanos. But man…still pretty wild the Eternals didn't help out with Thanos.
KEEP READING: 'Eternals': Kit Harington on What Marvel Told Him About Dane Whitman's Future in The MCU
Vinnie Mancuso is a Senior Editor at Collider, where he is in charge of all things related to the 2018 film ‘Aquaman,’ among other things. You can also find his pop culture opinions on Twitter (@VinnieMancuso1) or being shouted out a Jersey City window between 4 and 6 a.m.


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