'Eternals'' Final Fight Wasted A Pretty Obvious Opportunity
Soon overshadowed by Spider-Man: Where The Hell Are Kirsten Dunst and Emma Stone???, The Eternals just came and went. It wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t particularly good either; it was just, well, that movie with the Eternals held back by what now is the MCU’s stylistic cowardice. Yet one choice that might have helped it actually become a landmark blockbuster, particularly in the context of Marvel’s by-the-numbers assembly line, was pretty obviously set up at the very beginning … then dropped off without explanation.
Allow me to first set the stage. You know Thor? Vincent D’Onofrio’s character in Adventures in Babysitting? He also has a few movies of his own, including a third one featuring this absolute feel-good hit:
Do the lyrics really say ‘immigration is a fake issue meant to distract you from the actual parasites of the economy’?? A bit too on the nose, but okay, who are we to disagree with rock gods.
Yes, besides being the only interesting part about Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Even This Title is Boring, Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’ features in some key parts of Thor: Ragnarok: first at the very opening of the movie, and much later during its third act, when Thor’s finally kicking ass. Introduced at the beginning of the movie, then, the song is set up in order to be used later on, when epic circumstances call for it, in what we could call–no, in what we will call–Chekhov’s prog-rock anthem. A fairly standard storytelling tool for modern blockbusters, nothing too fancy, really.
But now recall the first scene of The Eternals. After our Mesopotamian ancestors have their lovely days of leisure and radically democratic lives interrupted by monsters and superheroes, the Marvel logo begins to appear with Pink Floyd’s ‘Time’ playing in the background. The song then accompanies the introduction of our main character, who we’re sure was called Eternal Woman. So at this moment, any MCU fan with a basic knowledge of how the Hollywood business goes would have assumed that song is also being set up in order to be used later on–which frankly, sounds awesome because something needs to break the curse of the MCU’s vapid and predictable third act fight scenes.
So imagine it. Close your eyes and imagine that the mov–wait, open your eyes, you still have to read this. Alright, imagine it: the final CGI fight has arrived, and that giant celestial baby is rising from the ocean and apparently not causing earthquakes worldwide; sure, okay, whatever. And then, just as all seems lost for our charmless heroes insofar they failed to McGuffin their McGuffin … the same friggin’ Pink Floyd song starts to play. You know, the one from the beginning!
Now you can close your eyes.
Would that have rocked or what? The song could have accompanied the protagonists losing the fight and seemingly hitting rock bottom, and it would have broken the stale ‘suspenseful’ music the MCU uses for its final fight scenes with an actual, epic rock and/or roll anthem -- one that would have indeed raised narrative predictability to something closer to an emotional experience. Seriously, imagine it. And the worst part is that, to repeat the entire point, the film itself had already set this up. Marvel Studios bought the rights to a Pink Floyd song, a band that they had only previously used in a restrained manner …
… for nothing. The success of the MCU has really locked it up in a prison of its own creation. Hopefully, The Multiverse of Madness won’t ruin its more powerful moments with corny jokes. I mean Sam Raimi? He would never ...
Top Image: Marvel Studios