Having escaped the unwanted status for a few more days last week, Eternals has now plummeted to a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s looking increasingly unlikely that it’ll ever be able to reclaim Fresh status on the aggregation site.
That’s not good news for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which prided itself on an impeccable track record of critical success, but reviews don’t mean a damn in the long run if the cosmic comic book adaptation manages to earn a ton of money at the box office, although that’s hardly a guarantee at this stage.
Eternals is nothing if not ambitious, introducing an ensemble comprised of ten characters audiences have never met before and probably never heard of, before going on to explain their backstories, motivations and history, and that’s without even mentioning the supporting players or villains.
In a new interview with ComicBook, director Chloé Zhao admitted that the cast was even more crowded at one stage, with no less than a dozen Eternals making their way into earlier drafts of the script.
“There was 12 characters when I first read it; 12 Eternals. We had to let two go along the way. Some characters don’t need the most screen time, it’s about what they do with the screen time. They have to be memorable. And when we looked at these 10 unique individuals, we thought about how they represent 10 aspects of human nature. They’ve been here for so long, who they become today is a big part of who we are. And so it was actually equally important that they remain memorable. All 10 of them had the same weight; not necessarily screen time, but the weight.”
We’ll be very curious to see how Eternals fares in theaters this weekend given the lukewarm reception afforded to it so far, but we’d still be incredibly surprised if their first solo blockbuster marked the beginning and end of their tenure in the MCU.