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How many ways is the story of Icarus in "The Eternals" stupid? Cannoli Send a noteboard - 12/11/2021 05:04:26 AM
  • He's the closest thing the movie has to a villain, but he's the only one with anything remotely resembling a character arc and the most development. Even inactually entertainingother MCU films where the villain is the best character (Loki in "Thor" ), the hero still has an arc. But this doesn't have a hero in opposition to Icarus.

  • There is the strong suggestion that the legends and stories about gods and heroes with similar names to the Eternals were inspired by the actual feats of the Eternals themselves. So the legend of Icarus, whose father invented wings but cautioned him against flying too high, which he ignored, resulting in his wings being destroyed by the sun causing him to plummet to his death, is inspired by a guy with no wings, who flies under his own power and shoots energy beams from his eyes and has zero connection to the sun. So how or why did that legend come about? How does it fit in with the conceits of the movie? There is no Watsonian reason to call him "Icarus" just the Doylist one with regard to his ultimate fate.

  • Speaking of his ultimate fate, it's all basically in reverse. Icarus commits no acts of hubris or disobedience that results in his death. It's just the opposite. He remains a good soldier, obeying his orders and carrying out his mission almost to the end and flies into the sun on his own power, in an act of deliberate self-destruction, which lacks a clear motive. Is it guilt over what he almost did? He pulled out at the last minute and is no more or less guilty than any of the rest of the crew. Or is it because he's lost his girlfriend?

Because that last possibility, combined with the non-reactions of most of the gang to learning that their entire existence is based on a lie, and Sprite's two most significant choices, really dial down the stakes and importance of the story to bullshit. If everything really does revolve around the interpersonal feelings and petty resentments among this group, should the film not have spent more time servicing those characters and establishing personality and character conflicts between them? I could see a good movie being told about the most powerful group of people on the planet being a petty, bickering family, but that's just my hindsight imagination trying to guild this turd, it's not something we really see for most of the movie.

  • Another issue with the name is that you spend the whole movie waiting for the act of arrogance or hubris that's going to be his downfall and prove why Circe is supposed to be the real hero, but it's not a subversion of expectations, just a Doylistically symbolic name choice subverting the idea that these people have any free will, since being named Icarus basically means one has no choice but to fly into the sun.

  • Part of the reason you keep waiting for Icarus to live up to his name, is that he's the only straight white male in the group, aside from maybe Druig, played by the ugliest Irishman outside of the Pogues, whose powers and scant appearances through most of the movie make him ared herringleading contender in the spot-the-surprise-villain game. This is really turning into a blatant trend in entertainment, where it's just tiresome. It's not even being clever or subversive. White people were the heroes in movies for the longest time for the exact reason that minority media commentators hate that fact - people want to see their own kind, and since the vast majority of cinematic audiences paid in white people currency, that's what Hollywood pandered to. It wasn't a statement or anything, so it did not detract from the story. Heroes were not heroes because they were the white guy, but because they were the first name in the credits. But now everyone thinks he's being bold and clever, so that unless the identity of the hero was dictated by some other media, as in the case of the aforementionedactually entertainingother MCU films, the white male is transparently always the surprise villain or killer, to the degree that it's not remotely a surprise anymore. It's not even that original, because white men were usually the villains of all those movies with white male heroes.

  • One character randomly screams at Icarus that he's been waiting a long time to clip his wings, which makes no literal sense and is the result of absolutely zero established interactions between their characters. Until his "surprise" reveal as a villain, Icarus shows no sign of dominating the others or bossing them around. At one point they turn to him for guidance and he in turn deflects leadership to Circe, even though she is taking the opposite position from his own wishes. The only thing that makes sense is that some of the characters envy Icarus his power of flight.



Anyway, all the Icarus nonsense is basically a synecdoche of the movie's problems. One of the issues is representation. Making the white guy the villain is not really representation. You need to do something positive with the people who are not white guys. People who have read my other reviews of her films might have figured out that for me, the draw in this was Gemma Chan who basically does nothing. She is clearly the one most invested in humans right from the outset when the Eternals first meet people, and that's how she stays up to the end when it turns out that Earth is going to be destroyed so she is determined to help, not least because she's now dating a human. Now is actually a bit of a weird way to put it, since he pops up in a couple of scenes in the beginning and is thereafter absent from the plot until a scene at the end and of course the mid-credit scene which suggests he is only in the movie to set up his character as a powered individual. There is no real indication that the relationship means anything to her throughout the movie. It's not a new inspiration to drive her to save humans, because that's what she's been doing since day one. Most of the time she's just there with a blank expression. There's not a lot to her character or her performance. There's also a black deaf-mute character who is in the background in the ancient scenes and otherwise is barely in the movie until the end. At least with Circe, we know what motivates her - she loves humans. What makes fast deaf lady tick? No clue. Angelina Jolie, they appear not to have given much more thought than "Ladies with weapons are badass!" A notion that is pretty mindlessly promulgated in contemporary media appreciation, notably among the WoT fan community who seem to have missed the thematic correlation in that series between growth and giving up weapons. There's an Oriental man who is in there for comic relief and spends most of the story being a caretaker to one of the white characters and a black guy who is more developed, but not in any plot-relevant way that others do not duplicate. And he's a technological genius as his power, which in Marvel means he has moving objects that spin and rotate against each other to indicate they are high tech, and that he can basically provide technology that can do whatever the plot needs from him at the moment.

Other problems are the rules under which the Eternals operate. Sometimes they are allowed to help humans advance, other times they are not. The inventor guy comes up with a steam engine in Babylon, and is told they are not ready for it, so he invents the plow instead. I kind of feel like they had plows before Babylon and also, I'm unclear how people could not be "ready" for steam power. The explanation for the rules under which the Eternals are constrained, which includes their being forbidden from engaging in conflicts with other than their designated foes, is that their true mission is to protect the growth of the human race as an energy source for the Celestial gestating inside the planet. So why did they not intervene to prevent Thanos from killing half the people they were protecting as a vital resource? Why not prevent the Chitauri from invading, or the convergence from doing whatever no-good-very-bad thing it was going to do to put the dark elves in charge? How did Dormamu's imminent threat to Earth fit in to the Celestials' plans? Did they not think that corralling 50% of the singularity stones which happened to end up on Earth might not be important to their project? And if all they needed was a critical mass of humans, why not introduce the appropriate technology right away, instead of waiting until the various revolutions relatively late in their tenure finally allowing the population to boom? Are we really supposed to believe the only thing threatening the Celestials' plan was their renegade guard dogs?

Speaking of the Deviants, that's another pointlessly introduced and massively underserved plot thread. Did the one suddenly becoming sapient have any real effect on the story?

The morals of the story are likewise retarded. Circe is allowed to run around transmuting primitive human objects into far superior ones or using her powers to help with the crops, and they are allowed to have families and relationships with humans, and this is all somehow not interfering? From any but a humanocentric perspective, there is a legitimate argument to be made about the necessity of the sacrifices to bring forth new Celestials, but no attempt is made to explore that. Icarus has a kind of a point, or at least legitimate reasons for his point of view given who and what he is. He especially has reason to feel betrayed by Ajak, but the movie never touches on the issues at play. Also one of the Eternals exists with no power other than controlling minds, which they others generally frown on him doing but take no steps to prevent him from repeatedly violating others with this power.

There are no clear portrayals of the relationships between the Eternals. They are family, but when the story starts, have spent centuries with no contact except in a couple of cases where pairs are hanging out together due to necessary issues with one member of each pair. And no one is checking up on what the mind-controller might be getting up to, or whether members of the group are becoming sexually intimate with humans. is. There aren't any obvious conflicts among the group, so it's not like a case of supremely powerful people who can't stand to be around each other, nor do we see the other expected story beat of clinging to one another as the only ones who can possibly understand each other.

All in all, it honestly feels like a bunch of random stuff thrown together that no one thought twice about, because they were so absorbed with shooting impressive landscapes.

Cannoli
“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
*MySmiley*
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How many ways is the story of Icarus in "The Eternals" stupid? - 12/11/2021 05:04:26 AM 62 Views
comics lore, only a single issue - 12/11/2021 02:15:12 PM 10 Views

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