by Marvel Eternals by director Chloe Zhao was a film of many firsts for the studio, but it would be a bit inaccurate to say it featured the MCU’s first sex scene, as many people seem to think so. daredevil and the rest of the Netflix/Marvel gang spent seasons doing it down their necks of the cinematic universe, and those shows laid a lot of groundwork for Eternals‘much more tame on superpowered sex. EternalsThe sex scene might not technically be Marvel’s first, nor particularly “fun” to watch, but it’s one of the film’s smartest ways to state the obvious about its ending. story.
This essay contains spoilers for Marvel’s Eternals.
All along Eternals, an emotionally inert foray into the cosmic origins of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are several moments meant to show you how the Eternals themselves have come to love and identify with humanity over thousands of years. years they spent living on Earth in varying degrees of secrecy. Since there are only so many Deviants – monsters with cosmic powers – for the Eternals to hunt down over the millennia, it doesn’t take long in the grand scheme of Earth’s history for the Eternals find themselves with enough downtime to develop interests in… other things like reading, farming, learning new languages. You know, human stuff.
In addition to these types of activities, however, some of the EternalsThe heroes also find themselves attracted and eager to know each other in the biblical sense, an idea that the film explores in particular with Sersi (Gemma Chan) and Ikaris (Richard Madden). While Eternals doesn’t explicitly say that romance and physical intimacy were things the Eternals learned from watching humans, Sersi and Ikaris’ highly animated sex scene does more than make it seem like it might have mattered given the embarrassment of the moment.
Shortly after the Eternals are tricked into believing they finally have the freedom to pursue their own dreams, Ikaris, the team’s flying brick with laser vision, plucks up the courage to tell Sersi, a mediator at the soft-spoken with transmuting powers, that he is deeply in love with her, always has been and always will be. Although the Eternals are alien beings with their own ways of life, Seri and Ikaris consummate their love in the most human way as the pair venture out together at the start of the film and find themselves naked on a sand dune locked in which is best described as superficial. sexual congress.
Even though the relationship between Ikaris and Sersi plays a major role in how Eternals‘ unfolds, Madden and Chan’s lack of on-screen chemistry makes the characters’ interpersonal dynamics one of the least compelling aspects of the film, which is a wonder given how important the scene is to Zhao. and how many real on-screen chemistry exists between other Eternals like Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) and Druig (Barry Keoghan), and Thena (Angelina Jolie) and Gilgamesh (Don Lee).
When Eternals‘ focuses on the present, when the Eternals are brought back from hiding by the sudden reappearance of the Deviants, the world is a drastically different place and most of the Eternals have become different people. Where Sersi and the others all manage to find happiness in their new lives and let go of their past, Ikaris remains unwavering in her commitment to their true mission, which only he and Prime Eternal Ajak (Salma Hayek) know about at first.
Because Eternals is such a busy movie, some of its ideas, like how power and authority are balanced within the actual team, get a little confusing, but when a dying Ajak chooses Sersi to become the new Prime Eternal, the story rubs against the broadside of something interesting.
Although neither Sersi nor Ikaris can initially understand why Ajak would choose her to be the next Prime Eternal, his reasoning is easy enough to grasp just by looking at one of the Eternals‘ trailers. She is a super-powerful living weapon whose gaze literally burns holes through things, as she is a creator who expresses respect and love for the material world while showing her superhuman mastery of its constituent elements. It’s in the moments when Sersi begins to understand how and why she’s the new Eternal Prime that Eternals feels like he’s most confident in his ability to bring something slightly new to Marvel’s pantheon of big-screen shows: a feature film about a woman getting a promotion.
Kind of like Zack Snyder’s Justice League before that, Eternals‘ The family drama briefly turns brutal as everyone comes together to fight one of their own. But unlike the amnesiac Superman, Ikaris emerges from his battle with the other Eternals permanently scarred as the villain of the movie who is willing to put the entire Earth in danger in order to carry out their mission. As the world stands on the brink of destruction in Eternals final act, Sersi and Ikaris appear to be on the verge of a tearful fight to the death, and the film cuts in a montage with the aim of making you feel what they feel.
In Eternals‘ defense, flashbacks to a sex scene during a big superhero fight might not play well with audiences, which is probably why it no longer appears on screen as Ikaris and Sersi reflect to all the history they share. It does seem telling, though, that the two come across as more like very good friends than people who saw each other naked as they argue over the fate of Earth. By the time Eternals gets to this part of its story, the film is already so mired in barely explained cosmic lore and aggressive special effects that none of its emotional beats really work.
What works, especially when you go back and watch Eternals closer, is the idea that Sersi knew on some level that her romantic entanglement with Ikaris wouldn’t last. In a movie with so many moving parts, that kind of detail is something you really have to see for, but with Eternals now streaming on Disney Plus for everyone, going back to identify when Sersi knew has become much easier.