Hello and welcome back to “A Writer Watching – Eternals”!
This is the second part of a two part series, so if you’re just joining us now, you might want to check out part one first via this link.
But if you’re like, “Nah,” for any reason, I have to clarify again that the purpose of this series is to pick apart the bad writing of a multi-million dollar Hollywood blockbuster. Not just to expose its writing mishaps so impressionable young writers who love this movie can see them / avoid internalizing them . . . but so the rest of us can kick back and rag on something “movie night” style.
If that sounds mean-spirited, all I can say is that I am in no way ragging on the actors or the characters themselves. I’m ragging on the end product of capitalistic writing-by-committee; as I said in part one, I am always on the side of characters, not Hollywood executives. Sometimes I will be like, “Wow, that actor gave an extremely wooden, emotionless delivery of that line,” but I try to keep that to a minimum, because we’re not really here for that.
But also, I mean . . . the writers I’m criticizing are all millionaires in Hollywood, where the rich constantly fail upwards. If I can take heavy criticism for my work, so can they.
Anyway, because of the vibe of this series, you’ll have way more fun if you’ve already seen this movie.
But if you haven’t and you’re determined to read on then warning: spoilers ahead.
That said, let’s dive back into . . .
A Writer Watching – Eternals
Recap – Last time, we ended with the Eternals finding Druig in the Amazon. After they explain the film’s plot twist to him (that the Eternals are all robots sent to prepare the Earth to be destroyed so a Celestial can be born), Druig starts talking about how he’s been living in the Amazon, casually controlling people’s minds for 500 years, and I got so pissed off by that that I had to turn the movie off.
(1:06:17) – Now, we continue with Druig weirdly conveying that he’s angry because Arishem lied to them.
And I’m like, “Dude, you compelled someone to do something without their knowledge or consent, like, 10 seconds ago in screen time. Fuck all-the-way off.”
Seriously, my favorite part is when he makes sweet, huggable Karun throw his own camera at a wall and then asks Kingo, “Oh, where’s your sense of humor?”
I’m not going to keep ranting about this, but I have to reiterate again there’s a very fine line between making a morally ambiguous character actually morally ambiguous. This film not only makes Druig flat-out horrible, but also never punishes him for being horrible. At worst, he gets this moment, where everyone is toothlessly confrontational with him, which only accentuates his bad boy vibes.
I’ll end this here by saying, for the umpteenth time, that I will never try and control what anyone else writes. But if you’re making illogical leaps in your plot to avoid punishing the bad boy for being bad . . . then you’re making illogical leaps in your plot to avoid punishing the bad boy for being bad.
(1:13:02) – After a few good dialogue scenes, Deviants arrive in the Amazon village to attack the Eternals. Kingo tells Sprite to get Karun to safety because, despite having two of his cameras destroyed, he somehow has a third camera he’s recording with. While pushing him to cover, Sprite asks, “How many cameras did you bring, young man!?”
And, seriously, how charming of a line is that? I love the idea that Sprite is older than Karun and I really enjoy seeing her be casual about that fact. Obviously, you couldn’t have her making this joke over and over, but if anyone acted like they were 7000 years old, I wish it was her. It could’ve lent so much to her character, especially if she said this kind of thing defensively.
To put this in writing context, I just have to reiterate how badly I wish these characters were written as their actual age instead of acting like / sounding like / looking like modern super heroes.
Seriously, I just imagined a 7000 year old version of Sersi—determined to help humanity but also extremely tired. Having a normal-girl façade that she puts on around Dane only to sigh and stare into the distance when she’s alone, seeing 7000 years worth of humans like him dying in what amounted to a heartbeat for her. But what can she do? Tell her heart no? Abandon humanity like some of the other Eternals have? She’d already tried that, and 100 years alone on a mountain had been 100 years too many. Humanity needs her, and even though it breaks her heart to be around them, Sersi knows that she needs them too.
. . . Yeah, I think it would’ve made for a more interesting story is all.
(1:14:55) – Sersi is trapped under debri and a Deviant is charging her. Before it gets there, however, a bunch of people start shooting at the Deviant. Normal, human people who are being controlled by Druig. Two of them are killed as Druig runs in, grabs one of their guns, and does an admittedly awkward spin onto its back while shooting it. Said Deviant is then stopped by Sersi, who uses her powers to collapse a crystal (?) tree onto it. Sersi then finally tells Druig to let go of the people he’s controlling because he’s “better than this.” Druig reluctantly releases them, and they seem confused, asking Druig, “What’s happening?” before he tells them to escape to “the river.”
My favorite part is when the super hero makes the innocent people kill themselves to save the other super hero.
Nothing wrong with that; just a full 180 from the entire point of super heroes.
Seriously, could you imagine the fucking uproar if Wanda made the people of Westview fight Agatha for her in WandaVision?
It’s just gross. The idea that any super hero would do this is awful, much less a super hero using humans to fight the monsters he was created to fight.
And it’s made so much worse by Druig running in and capably fighting this fucking Deviant on his own anyway. In the grand scheme, all he did was distract the Deviant so Sersi could drop a tree on it, which means they didn’t need the puppeteered humans helping to begin with. Fuck’s sake, Sersi didn’t even need Druig’s help! She demonstrably could’ve just turned the floor to water under that Deviant, then turned that water to stone or whatever exactly like she did in the canal fight at the start of the movie. And then she could’ve pushed her crystal tree on it.
It would have completely sold me on Druig’s supposed concern for human life if he’d been shown stopping people from fighting the Deviants and making them escape. Holy shit—omfg—can you imagine if he made them escape even though they were trying to save Sersi!? Fuck! That would’ve been so goddamn cut throat and awesome. Like, not only would it solidify his reasons for leaving (that he cared more about human life than he did about the Eternals), but it would’ve rolled up his anger from his last scene into such a nice, badass ball. And then Sersi kills the Deviant anyway (she would’ve killed it in my draft) and Druig starts to smuggly explain himself only for Sersi to cut him off like, “Keep getting people to the river.” Ugh! It would’ve been so fucking good! Such good, juicy, complicated drama!
But . . . no. Instead, we got Druig making humans unwittingly kill themselves fighting a monster they couldn’t hope to kill.
(1:18:39) – After saving Ikaris from a Deviant, Sersi is pushed into a pool of water. The Deviant dives after her and Sersi grabs its face, transmuting its body into a tree.
And in this moment, with the hero music in full effect and the Eternals staring in awe, I thought, “. . . Wait, is something special happening here?”
I didn’t realize she transmuted the Deviant until it was clarified later.
And to some degree, that’s because the scenario in which it happened made it very vague. Sersi and the Deviant were in water, so I thought she just transmuted the water into wood. Earlier, when she pushed a tree onto one of the Deviants, not only did they show her selectively transmuting only a small part of that tree—they showed her transmuting that part of the tree . . . into water. How could I possibly not assume she was just doing that reaction in reverse here?
But on top of that, Sersi’s powers are extremely vague to begin with. What can she transmute? How much can she transmute? Is it difficult if she tries to change something to an extremely different element?
What I’m saying is, in writing terms, it definitely would’ve helped if Sersi’s powers were more clearly defined, and / or if this moment happened in a less confusing scenario.
(1:20:40) – Gilgamesh protects Thena from the head Deviant only to get caught by said Deviant and killed. After assimilating his powers, the head Deviant becomes humanoid and starts . . . talking?
This is just the weirdest tangent this movie goes down.
For no discernible reason, the head Deviant can talk so he can express what would be an interesting perspective on the whole Eternals-Deviants thing . . .
. . . but they just do absolutely nothing with it. He learns to talk just so Thena can kill him later and get revenge . . . which he didn’t need to be able to talk for? Seriously, even in the one moment near the end when it seems like this Deviant will team up with the other Eternals to fight Ikaris, nope—that just inexplicably doesn’t happen.
It’s just bizarre and feels 100% like something cut from a different draft of the story. Like maybe there was a draft where the Eternals learn to accept and work with the Deviants, who would also logically want to fight Arishem. But, if that plotline ever existed, 90% of it was excised for whatever reason, leaving only this talking Deviant for . . . some reason.
Seriously, kill your darlings, people. This head Deviant only serves to slow down and confuse the plot.
(1:23:24) – Druig and Sersi talk while watching Thena spread Gilgamesh’s ashes in a river.
Right in the middle of this conversation, you can seriously see a weird cut in dialogue—a jump in topic from “the Eternals and Deviants are the same and both want to fight Arishem,” which is the plotline I just imagined was removed, to “we need to stop Arishem,” the plot of the theatrical release.
Sersi: “These Deviants are trying to keep us from killing their own kind. They have a conscience now. That makes them more dangerous.”
Druig: “No, Sersi. That makes them us. Eternals and Deviants. Arishem’s children.”
And then, from Druig again, with absolutely no pause or justification: “But you are asking me to take control of a mind of a Celestial.”
It’s easy to miss, but it’s there. A jump in topic so awkward that it almost feels like a few lines were cut in post-production. I don’t want to put on my conspiracy hat and be like, “There was definitely a plotline cut!” but I will say that if there ever needs to be any cut of any kind in a story, it’s definitely worth going over dialogue to make sure there aren’t weird hiccups like this, where topic A and topic B kind of smash into each other.
“The mind of a Celestial.” If you want a crash course on 90% of what I do when I edit my own stuff, it’s changing lines like this. “But you are asking me to take control of a mind of a Celestial” should be “But you are asking me to take control of the mind of a Celestial.”
It just flows better.
Also, wait, hold on—did Druig just say that at one point he thought about controlling everyone in the world? He did—and Sersi asked him, “Why didn’t you?” as if he can just . . . do that?
How fucking powerful is he? How powerful are any of these Eternals? What the fuck?
Also, gotta love the gross way that he was like, “I didn’t do it because then they wouldn’t be human anymore.” Like, “Cool. I’m glad that was the reason you decided not to brainwash me last Tuesday, dude. Can’t think of a single other reason. ‘Because they are flawed and I like them that way’ is definitely not the worst fucking answer you could’ve given there.”
(1:27:15) – After the Eternals (once again) kind of just teleport to the next part of the plot—reuniting with Phastos in Chicago—Ikaris and Sersi sit down to explain everything to Phastos and . . .
Phastos: “It all makes sense why she wouldn’t let us interfere with human conflicts. Conflicts lead to war, and war actually leads to advancement in lifesaving technology and medicine. So our mission was never to make a peaceful or harmonious world, but to increase the population at all costs.”
Me: “I mean . . . was your mission ever to make the world a paradise? Cause I just thought it was to kill all of the Deviants. Also, I kind of just assumed you weren’t supposed to interfere in human conflicts because you were supposed to have killed the Deviants hundreds of years ago and then peaced out (thus leaving humanity untouched either way). Like, you clearly wanted to solve a plot hole here . . . but that plot hole is only a plot hole if I needed an explanation for how humanity continued to grow without killer aliens eating everyone, and like . . . I don’t need an explanation for that because I am human on a real-life Earth where Deviants aren’t real and the population just kept growing?”
Seriously, I’ve never seen a movie be like, “Oh shit! Human history is a plot hole!” before, so my mind is kind of blown right now.
(1:31:25) – The gang goes back to their ship, the Domo, which is buried in Iraq. Despite the ship being buried, Phastos steps on a bag of potato chips on the way in, leading to the discovery that Makkari is inside, reading a book.
And I’m just so confused on so many levels.
- The ship was buried. How did Makkari get out for chips? If she teleported out the way the Eternals did at the beginning, why couldn’t the others teleport in the same way?
- Why is Phastos reacting to seeing Makkari by asking “What has she done? Is that . . . a sarcophagus in my lab?” Did they all know she was on the ship? Why did she stay on the ship?
- Also, why has she just been on the ship for the last 500 years?
None of these questions get answered.
But I get why she stood on the ship from a writing perspective; once again, it’s the speedster problem. If Makkari had been a part of this plot way earlier, she could’ve run all over the world and gathered the other Eternals together in 30 minutes of plot time. The head Deviant never would’ve gotten away from her in the Amazon, Gilgamesh never would’ve died, etc.
Still, it just kind of blows that Makkari was locked out of the film until the hour and thirty mark on a technicality.
(1:32:33) – Inside the Domo, Druig picks up a box of Twinkies while Ikaris looks at the Emerald Tablet. Druig walks up and the two look at each other before grudgingly swapping items.
And, like, I get what’s happening here, but it falls so amazingly flat because neither character was shown having an affinity for either item earlier in this film. Seriously, if you swapped it so Ikaris was holding the Twinkies and Druig had the tablet and they swapped in the same way, this moment would’ve been exactly the same.
Writing-wise, a little reinforcement goes a long way; even if you were super lazy about it and just focused on one of them—maybe showing earlier that Ikaris loves food—this moment would’ve worked much better.
(1:32:49) – Druig asks Makkari how she got the Emerald Tablet and things get flirty real fast.
And here’s the totally unrealistic zero punishment I mentioned earlier for Druig.
It is completely unrealistic that we get no scene where Druig has to explain himself to Makkari. Was she not mad when he left? Did she not feel abandoned? I totally get that she’s morally grey like he’s supposed to be, but ‘morally grey’ doesn’t mean, ‘totally accepting of everything always.’
Makkari should feel something complicated when she sees him again, but almost like she’s not a character (and Druig needs to get away with murder), she just smiles and acts like shit’s great. It could’ve been a good, emotional moment that told us a lot about Makkari, but instead, she’s leveraged to make Druig look cooler.
And Druig doesn’t die by the end of the story or learn the error of his ways, so . . . <shrug>.
(1:34:34) – The group is debating how to stop the Emergence and what will happen if they fail. During the debate, Kingo turns to Ikaris and asks him for back-up by, saying, “Boss, am I right?” In reply, Ikaris points out that Sersi was chosen to lead the Eternals. Sprite barrels straight past that and says Ikaris should lead them.
And I just wish this bit of complexity factored more heavily in the story.
The idea that the other Eternals would soft-mutiny Sersi because she isn’t Superman is extremely interesting and could’ve amplified Sersi’s arc if it was just seeded a tiny bit better. It would’ve pushed the film more firmly into PC territory if you leaned too hard on it—turning the plot into a very obvious message on sexual discrimination—but if you didn’t want to make it that in-your-face (which seems like the movie’s MO), you could’ve sprinkled in moments earlier on where someone assumed Ikaris was the leader, or otherwise showed their lack of confidence in Sersi as a leader. And that would’ve made her hero moment at the end of the film that much more gratifying.
It’s absolutely a second-draft issue, but it’s still an issue. Non-essential, but if you hired me to edit your script, this is one of the things I’d tell you.
(1:37:02) – In a flashback, Ikaris and Ajak talk about the Emergence. During the conversation, Ajak mentions off-hand that she has followed Arishem for “millions of years.”
And *phew.* Is she saying she’s never had her memories wiped? Does Ajak have millions of years worth of memories in her head? I know that this might just mean that she gets wiped every time like the others and then a new copy of her is told the plot twist, but it really seems like she has had the same batch of memories the entire time . . .
. . . which means that I have to say for one final time how fucking rad it would’ve been if she was written that way. Can you imagine if she was aloof and exhausted? A leader executing rote actions with little patience? Cold to everything and everyone, almost always lost in thought? That would’ve made her such a better vehicle for mahd wy’ry too—like maybe change it so that at the very beginning, she’s fine, but as the flashbacks progress, she gets more and more distant. And in plot, the explanation is that she has mahd wy’ry, so she’s sent back to Arishem, who tells the others that she will return to usher them back to Olympia. But then, by whatever means, Sersi contacts Arishem and finds out that, no, Ajak has been dead for a thousand years by Arishem’s hand (possibly because she tried to fight him on her own when she got back to the World Forge but failed) and also the world is ending.
(1:41:09) – After killing Ajak, the head Deviant goes back into his Deviant cave with the other Deviants. He then tentacles them right in the necks, changing their forms.
And this is seriously on my Top 10 Unnecessary Moments in Movies.
I’d be hard-pressed to believe that anyone was wondering why some Deviants are bird-shaped while others are wolf-shaped, etc.—especially after it was shown earlier in the film that Deviants evolve (the entire reason Arishem designed the Eternals to be incapable of evolution). But this moment exists to explain why these Deviants aren’t all just wolves . . . which is a question created by the previous scene. And the explanation inherently doesn’t make sense because it isn’t based on anything previously established in the plot; these Deviants don’t just look like wolves because the head Deviant can . . . change them into other animals inexplicably.
. . . Thanks?
I always think of this as a ‘clean cut’; when I’m editing, I will run into a situation where, say, a character is awkwardly standing outside of a house, holding open its door, which swings inward, so another character can jump down from the ceiling inside and kick it closed. But after a few minutes of trying to figure out how to gracefully explain all of that, I will just be like, “Holy shit, the door just swings outward.”
Like, fuck it. Clean cut. If I’m ever wasting time trying to explain something that doesn’t matter because I want to justify it for myself, I just fucking cut it. Seriously, it’s to everyone’s benefit.
This scene? Even people who dig the CGI candy would not notice if this scene was cut from the script. Get rid of it. Clean cut.
(1:45:04) – After finding out that the Emergence has started, Phastos gives some tech to Makkari and tells her to find “the point of emergence.” Makkari proceeds to run through several time zones in six seconds.
This moment is extremely cool. I love that it’s not showing the world slowed down while Makkari moves at normal speed—it’s Makkari moving incredibly fast in real time. And it looks great.
But also, this is the moment on my first viewing where I was like, “Ah . . . Okay . . . Makkari is unstoppable.”
Just all tension gone, all confrontation invalidated.
I love Makkari. But also, we will come back to this.
(1:49:02) – After Ikaris turns on the group, admitting that he killed Ajak, Sprite decides that she’s going to go with him.
And here’s where the character complexity starts to feel kinda whiplashy.
I know Sprite is in love with Supermannequin . . . but she also very visibly loved Ajak, to the point that after her death earlier in the movie, Sprite was shown to be the most hurt by it.
And yet . . . she’s throwing in . . . with the guy who killed Ajak?
On my first viewing, I thought this was setting up a double cross, with Sprite turning on Ikaris at the last minute, but nope—she legit joins Ikaris.
And it just feels like the writers were working with a checklist. “It says here that Sprite loves Ikaris so <shrug> I guess she goes with him,” instead of Sprite feeling impossibly betrayed to find out the man she loves killed a member of her family.
All I’m saying is, character traits are dope, but your character who loves spaghetti doesn’t have to be eating spaghetti in every single scene. Especially after he finds out spaghetti killed his mom.
(1:50:05) – After Kingo explains that he won’t help the Eternals fight Ikaris and stop the Emergence, Makkari catches him and tells him, “We need you,” to which Kingo says, “Even with my help, we’re no match. It’s Ikaris.”
And, seriously, Makkari should just be like, “I will go snap Ikaris’ neck right now before he even knows I’m there.”
“No worries. I will go pulp his brain by vibrating his skull at the speed of sound.”
“You just blinked and, oop—what’s this in my hand? It’s Ikaris’ still-beating heart! The movie’s over!”
(1:50:05) – Continued.
Also, when Kingo leaves, he says, “But I hope to see you on the next planet,” and man, someone needs to explain the Reset button to Kingo. Like, “Dude . . . you are going to die in a few hours and a new model of you—not even a clone—will be on the next planet. You aren’t going to see anybody ever again after the Emergence because you will have exploded, my guy.”
But, of course—and yet again—I have to acknowledge that Kingo gets written out here on a technicality; he probably would’ve been too helpful in the fight against Ikaris, so the easier solution was to have him be like, “Nah. Peace.”
And at this point, it’s 2AM and I’m tired, so whatever.
(1:55:30) – We finally enter the film’s endgame, starting with Ikaris flying onto the Domo as it arrives at the Emergence. Upon blasting his way into the ship, Ikaris encounters Thena, who confesses that she’s always wanted to fight him as they initiate combat.
And I love that dialogue choice.
I was expecting, “I’ve never liked you,” but “I’ve always wanted to [fight you],” achieves the same while saying more.
That said, this moment where Thena finally returns to being a badass warrior doesn’t feel earned. It feels like we needed a scene focused exclusively on Thena’s struggles with her memories and her feelings about Gilgamesh’s death. Instead, she silently dealt with stuff in the background. How did Thena get her mojo back? Was it seriously watching Gilgamesh die?
Just saying, it would’ve been so much more rewarding if maybe she’d stopped Ikaris from killing Makkari earlier instead of Kingo. Maybe in that moment, when another member of the family was about to die, she triumphantly remembers why she fights and battles Ikaris to a quick, tense stand still, making him flee (which would of course make this fight on the Domo a significantly more intense rematch).
But no. She floats around the plot before eventually just sorta becoming Thena again.
(1:58:01) – After killing-but-not-killing Druig, Ikaris lands and says a vague, “Druig is gone. It’s over.” Then Makkari charges in, grabbing Ikaris by the throat and running him through a bunch of scenery before chucking him against a wall.
All of this looks great.
But also, Makkari, for real, just vibrate his head extremely fast—give him five thousand concussions in 3 seconds and he’s done.
Build up speed and kick him in the nuts so hard that you yeet his ass into the fucking stratosphere. Like, explode his balls! He will just stop fighting, I guarantee it.
I dunno—am I evil? Maybe I’m just evil.
But for real, there are countless ways Makkari could’ve ended the film right here.
Pure speedster nerfing in full effect.
(2:00:26) – Nearly everyone is fighting Ikaris and it’s really cool.
And while it’s happening, the head Deviant—who’s called Kro–shows up. And despite it seeming so much like he’s going to help everyone fight Ikaris, he just lands a single cheap shot before Thena splits off from the others for revenge.
And . . . why?
This fits so poorly with the rest of the endgame. It is seriously no longer time to even think about the Deviants—we’ve moved on to stopping a Celestial from destroying the planet and the idea that we’re taking time away from that to continue fighting the red herring villain is absolutely bonkers to me.
Seriously, if you set up a red herring villain for a story, I think this case is a great argument for why you should never try to resolve their threat in the endgame; the threat of the actual villain will always eclipse them. Kro was just a massive, bizarre mistake in this film.
(2:01:10) – After Kro and Thena fuck off, Ikaris tries to fly away, but Phastos catches him, pinning him to the beach with tech that limits his powers.
And I’m just frustrated.
Why did Phastos not open with this?
I hate this phenomenon in general, and it’s something I try to avoid in my own work; characters inexplicably not using the best of their abilities so more plot can happen. Like, “Hrrm. I could pin you down and drastically weaken you while two other Eternals are fighting you . . . or I can wait until it’s just you and me to use this fight-ending tech. Hrrm.”
(2:02:44) – Sprite distracts Sersi with a hologram of Ajak and then stabs her in the back with a tanto.
And I laugh every time.
Not because I’m sadistic (I’m not) or because I hate Sersi (I don’t).
I laugh because we just watched 70% of the Eternals bat each other around at sonic speed, with laser beams that are capable of slicing off Deviant limbs. Druig was just hit with that laser and sent hurtling down hundreds of feet, literally into the Earth, and he still comes back a-okay.
But Sersi gets stabbed with a knife and she’s like, “Urrrk! I am undone!”
I know she turns the tanto into water and just gets up in a minute, but that makes this moment even worse.
Seriously, I wish I could go to Sprite and be like, “So . . . Sersi is what’s called an ‘Eternal,’ which—and this may surprise you—means that stabbing her with a knife won’t kill her. I know that you’ve been an Eternal for 7000 years, but apparently you didn’t know this somehow, so FYI.”
The movie is trying so hard to play this off like a Loki style assassination, but it doesn’t work on even a single level.
(2:07:15) – The Emergence has begun and we see Tiamut’s fingers rising out of the ocean. At this exact time stamp, we get a very good shot for size comparison, revealing that each finger is larger than the volcano that’s been in the background for the entire endgame.
All of this looks extremely cool. It exudes such Final Fantasy vibes that I can’t help loving it. The world is well and truly ending, the stakes are ridiculous, and it looks super pretty.
But also, I’m noting that this Celestial’s fingertips are larger than volcanoes. In one shot, no exaggeration, those fingertips are in the mesosphere.
We’ll come back to this in one sec.
(2:11:37) – At this exact time code, we get an amazing shot of Tiamut’s head and left hand, turning to stone (which I used as the feature image for this post). In this shot, we see that both head and hand are so large that they’re practically in space.
Which is the moment where I have to say it.
The Eternals . . . did not save the world here.
I hate to be that guy, but in a few hours, massive tsunamis will hit every continent, killing countless people, because something of that size breaking that far out of the Earth would just end everything.
But . . .
. . . it looks so cool that I, as a viewer, am able to suspend my disbelief.
Or, well, I’m clearly not able to do that, but I’m willing to give it a pass.
I am absolutely certain without a shadow of a doubt that countless people on MCU Earth would be dead by the next day.
But the rule of cool is a rule for a reason. I usually don’t abide by it.
But this time, I will abide.
(2:14:02) – Sersi just kind of teleports back to the beach with the other Eternals and Phastos asks her how she turned Tiamut to stone. She says Tiamut joined their Uni-Mind. And Phastos says, “I always wondered how we survived the destruction of other planets that we were on. By being connected to the Celestial as it emerged.”
And just like that, three minutes later, I’m reminded I’m watching a terribly written movie.
Thanks, Phastos. Once again, that explanation makes zero sense and fails to solve a plot hole that wasn’t a plot hole. Didn’t they die every time? Didn’t their memories just get beamed up to Arishem via cosmic wi-fi and then a new copy of them was sent to other planets?
Seriously, I don’t know who was determined to have characters explain all of these nonsense plot holes, but every single time, they just make them worse.
And, putting it in writing terms, I’ll say flat-out that I think it’s always bad when characters try to explain plot holes in dialogue. This movie absolutely taught me that; never have your characters say, “Hrrrm. That explains why . . .” because it almost never, ever works. I know it’s primarily a Hollywood thing to leave plot holes in and try to explain them away like this, but it’s always worth repeating that it’s better to just take the plot hole out instead of trying to justify it to your audience.
Also—and I feel like I’m losing my mind here, but—if you absolutely must leave a plot hole in, at least make sure it’s actually a plot hole before you try to justify it.
(2:15:30) – Sersi tells Sprite that with the power left over from the Uni-Mind, she can make Sprite human. She accepts.
And, once again, I would gather all of the Infinity Stones myself if I could change this scene so she makes Sprite into a Furby instead. Like, imagine if in this touching moment, Sersi got mad ratchet like, “That’s what you get, bitch! You stab me in the back!? Fuck you!” while the other Eternals are like, “World Star!”
(2:26:30) – Finally, we end our journey with the mid-credits scene, in which a CGI troll-man teleports into the Domo and heralds the arrival of . . . Harry Styles.
I have rewritten this last part so many times.
At first, I was openly confused. Then I was vitriolic while writing directly to Marvel Studios. At one point, I was like, “I didn’t even realize that was Harry Styles!” and went on a tangent about why they must’ve chosen a pop culture icon for the role.
But I don’t want to do any of that, because I’m not writing this for Marvel Studios—I’m writing this for us.
After watching this mid-credits scene, what I want to say to every aspiring writer out there is . . .
. . . write your good ideas.
If you have two stories in the chamber, and you know one of them is an awesome idea but the other one is a little niche and you’re wondering, “Can I make it work?” I’m here to say, “Maybe . . . but please just write the awesome idea.” The world wants to see it, and it will probably be infinitely better than the story you’re trying to figure out.
And, to be clear, I don’t mean, “Write your more typical ideas,” or, “Be a hack.” I just mean that you should write the ideas you’re more certain of—the plots you know are intriguing with the characters who have strong silhouettes.
Write your Silver Surfers, not your Eternals.
Full disclosure: I needed to hear this too. I still don’t like Eternals, but I’m glad this film led me to this conclusion, because now I have full, undeniable confirmation that, yes, I should just abandon some of the ideas I’ve had on the docket. The one short story about characters trying to find and kill a god? Cool, but also, I’ve known for years that the conclusion didn’t work, and I have to drop it. It just isn’t going to work as well as other, functional plots I already have.
And, for the same reason, I just have to drop my high school series.
Yes, I mean the series I started working on in high school—the one I spent every moment of every day thinking about and worldbuilding on post-its for nearly a decade. I’ve known that story wouldn’t work for nearly 20 years for a whole slew of reasons.
And I just can’t keep bashing my head on it anymore. I’ve always thought, “Oh, I’ll rework it at some point and it’ll be my magnum opus,” but decades later, I’m such a different writer that I don’t even care about those characters anymore. Hell, I don’t even care about writing a magnum opus; I just want to write the handful of awesome ideas I have. I just want to tell those stories.
But also, the world has moved on, so that high school story’s cast, which was 90% vampire stereotypes, is not worth reworking (PS-yes, I was a goth in high school).
Anyway, all of that is to say none of us have an infinite amount of time on this world.
It isn’t worth spending any of that time tinkering with a story that doesn’t work.
At best, writing the stronger story will help you figure out how to write the weaker one.
At worst, writing the stronger story will make you realize the weaker one is a lost cause.
So, with that said, farewell, Darkness Nightmare. I’m sure there’s a reality where I could find you in paperback, but that reality will never be this one.
Also, yes, it was called Darkness Nightmare. And yes, I know. Watch your glass of milk—it might slip off this e-e-e-e-edge!
This post was even longer than part one.
But holy shit . . . I never have to watch Eternals ever again! Dobby is free!
If you made it all the way to the end, thank you so much for reading. This series was exhausting, but it was also a lot of fun.
No idea what I’m posting next week, but if you’re new here, it’ll be random. It could be anything from an update about the novel I’m currently editing or a post about The Book of Boba Fett. If you’d like to be here for it, you can drop me a Follow via the button on the left side of the screen (on PC) or in the hamburger menu on the top-right (on mobile).
Until next time, take care, stay safe, and rewatch that Silver Surfer chase scene from Rise of the Silver Surfer. The dialogue is still painful, but the Silver Surfer holds up. To this day, fifteen years later, he’s still amazing and terrifying. Like, you could lift that scene, put it in Avengers 5, and replace Johnny with Captain America and it would still be awesome.
Anyway, have a good week!