Villeneuve’s influence from Eternals proves his MCU difference (and that’s good)
Taking inspiration from Denis Villeneuve, Eternals seems like an ambitious entry into the MCU. Here’s how it’s different from previous Marvel movies.
At Chloé Zhao’s Eternals Taking inspiration from director Denis Villeneuve proves the film will be different from the rest of the MCU, and that’s probably a good thing. In recent years, Villeneuve has become famous for his big budget sci-fi movies, not least because of his skill at telling compelling stories that take place in mysterious worlds. Considering that Zhao’s new film takes place on a larger scale than any previous episode in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it makes sense that she would take on the influence of a director whose skills involve great construction of the world.
Eternals tells the story of ten superhuman individuals who traveled to Earth thousands of years ago from the far reaches of space for the sole purpose of defending the planet from evil creatures called the Deviants, the ancient enemies of the Eternals. From description alone, the film is a testament to the gigantic growth of the MCU. The Marvel movies have taken audiences to worlds that stir the imagination and now the studio appears to be taking one more step in that direction by presenting characters who have seen humanity grow over the course of several millennia. Tell a story as vast as Eternals is no small feat, which is why Zhao took a very special direction for his last photo.
Denis Villeneuve’s work has impacted the sci-fi genre by striking the right balance between building a big world and grounded stories. Recently, Zhao explained how Denis Villeneuve’s films were a benchmark for her in creating her pitch for Eternals, noting that he “managed to build worlds so visceral that I can feel and almost touch“in his films. Knowing that Villeneuve was a source of inspiration, it is plausible that Eternals deliver a story that follows the characters from an intimate perspective while highlighting the immensity of the film. The MCU has treated otherworldly characters as antagonists in the past, but the fact that these characters will be the protagonists of the next film will certainly bring a unique change to the storytelling.
What sets the Eternals apart from teams like the Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy is that they have a more cosmic origin and are much further removed from humanity. Sent to Earth by the Celestials, ancient giants who influence the fate of the universe, the Eternals possess tremendous abilities that could quite possibly dominate almost any character that has been introduced so far. Villeneuve’s inspiration would be essential in making their fight more human for audiences, as a common theme in his sci-fi films is the staggering difference in scale between the protagonists and the rest of the world. In trailers for Eternals, there are glimpses of how this idea is implemented, like Salma Hayek’s character Ajak riding a horse across a huge plain or her house which stands alone under a gray, cloudy sky. The images evoke the feeling that, even with all the power these heroes have, they are still tiny figures in a gigantic universe. Seeing the story from the Eternals’ perspective offers a chance to better understand the trials they face as well as their motivation to protect the planet.
It will also be interesting to see how Zhao uses Villeneuve’s directorial style in conjunction with his own. Zhao’s great films, such as The horseman and Nomadic country, contain scenes in which the characters find themselves alone in expansive environments. Adding these scenes could make Chloe Zhao Eternals much more different from previous MCU movies by offering a chance for the story to slow down rather than have non-stop action. Eternals promises to be unlike anything the MCU has said before, lacking neither a show nor convincing characters.
Next: If The MCU Nails Celestials, Galactus Might Work Well
- Eternals (2021)Release date: 05 November 2021
- Spider-Man: No Path Home (2021)Release Date: December 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release Date: March 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: 06 May 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Black Panther 2 (2022)Release Date: 08 Jul 2022
- Wonders / Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release Date: November 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release Date: February 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: 05 May 2023
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