In the lead-up to “Eternals,” the film was touted as a turning point for the MCU, with many even going so far as to assume it would be the franchise’s first prestige picture. It was a narrative that made sense – Chloé Zhao had just won the Best Director and Best Picture statues for her 2020 indie darling “Nomadland.”. Recent reveals tell us about how the movie affected Kumail Nanjiani.
But the expectations surrounding the film eclipsed the actual final product, and Kumail Nanjiani thinks a lot of that has to do with Marvel’s approach with “Eternals.”
“It was really, really hard because Marvel thought that movie was going to be really, really well reviewed, so they lifted the embargo early and put it in some fancy movie festivals and they sent us on a big global tour to promote the movie right as the embargo lifted,” Nanjiani told Michael Rosenbaum.
Taking a look at the reviews, “Eternals” wasn’t necessarily a bad picture — it just meandered and failed to capitalize on its source material in an effective manner. “By the end of its lengthy run, ‘Eternals’ stumbles across the finish line with a dizzying mix of spaceships, superpowers, erupting volcanoes, and other spectacles,” wrote Looper critic Larry Caroll in a mixed review.
Once reviews started pouring in, the conversation shifted to how the picture was Marvel’s first misfire, and how it failed at taking risks, which would have elevated the genre. For Nanjiani, it was the chatter around the film — not the film itself — that led him to develop negative feelings towards it.
“I think there was some weird soup in the atmosphere for why that movie got slammed so much, and I think not much of it has to do with the actual quality of the movie,” he said.
Kumail Nanjiani’s wife says he has trauma from Eternals
Kumail Nanjiani should be commended for openly discussing and reflecting on his experience with “Eternals.” The actor put in tremendous work to slip into the role of Kingo, which required him to diligently gain muscle and lose around 10% bodyfat. Only Nanjiani knows if it was worth it, but the actor says that his wife thinks he has trauma from the whole ordeal.
“Emily [V Gordon] says that I do have trauma from it,” the actor said. But Nanjiani isn’t the only one who was affected by “Eternals,” as the actor says another one of his co-stars had similar thoughts about the film’s reception.
“We actually just got dinner with somebody else from that movie and we were like, ‘That was tough, wasn’t it?’ and he’s like ‘Yeah, that was really tough,’ and I think we all went through something similar,” the “Silicon Valley” standout added.
Ultimately, “Eternals” fizzled upon release, grossing $400 million worldwide. In hindsight, that’s a brilliant haul when one considers just how obscure the picture was, and how it featured a roster of characters who aren’t as popular as Iron Man or Captain America. But post-“Endgame,” the sub $500 million haul felt like a death sentence.
And fan reception couldn’t carry the film forward — it has a B CinemaScore, which is on the lower end for superhero blockbusters. And while the post-credits scenes did set up a future for the Eternals, it remains to be seen if a sequel ever manifests.