‘Eternals’ Chloe Zhao Continues Phase Four Trend of Breaking the Marvel Mold
With the film just a couple weeks away, anticipation for the newest MCU adventure has reached a fever pitch; with the early reactions immense praise uncovering the reality that Eternals Chloe Zhao continues the Phase Four trend of Breaking the Marvel Mold.
2021 was Marvel’s triumphant return to a post-pandemic world; a return that welcomed some of the most ambitious, creative, and inherently unique projects the studio has ever formulated.
The introductory project that seamed spearhead this new Marvel era was the arrival of Marvel Studios’ brand new string of Disney+ exclusive series.
WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Loki, and the animated anthology series What If…? all brought immense diversity to Marvel’s traditional form of storytelling; seemingly signifying a new normal for MCU faithful.
Character-driven, emotional, pertinent, and unlike anything Marvel had attempted, these stories brought fans the reality of the multiverse, continued exploring the weight of the MCU’s previous decade on some of our most beloved characters.
This trend carried forth into the feature film releases that Marvel had subsequently brought forth following these series.
Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings were solo films that focused heavily on establishing and exploring these two characters- one with a long Marvel history, and one in the midst of their MCU debut- in ways that were brand new to the studio.
Black Widow felt, to many fans, like an incredibly complex story of espionage and action; mirroring the fantastic James Bond films that have dominated Cinema for the last 30 years.
Shang-Chi, felt entirely fresh, yet in a very different way; the film felt like the welcoming party to one of the most charismatic performers the studio has seen since Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and used eastern influences to create a viewing experience, unlike anything Marvel had attempted.
It is clear that Eternals Chloe Zhao continues this Phase Four trend of breaking the Marvel mold.
This isn’t implied to give weight to the suggestion that Marvel operates within a completely formulaic and uninspired way; but to the contrary, it is a testament to the Studio’s commitment to vision and creativity.
The adventures of Marvel’s Avengers that have dominated the MCU for the past decade were all unique in their own right but felt very connected in how they unfolded.
This was something that was necessary. How else could a studio build a completely interconnected universe that felt entirely reliant on cohesiveness?
Marvel needed to invent the Marvel Movie Mold; a way of telling a Marvel story that allowed the director to have creative and visual freedom, while also allowing the viewer to know exactly when they sat down to watch a Marvel movie.
Phase Four has been the process of tearing down that mold, to build something incredibly unique in its place.
That will not be any clearer than the theatrical experience fans will get this November 5th with the release of the highly anticipated Eternals.
Academy Award-winner Chloe Zhao puts her incredible visual style into the film, and crafts this theologically complex commentary on what it means to be human while operating within the canonical guidelines of the Marvel Universe.
We have heard Kevin Feige refer to the film as “redefining” the MCU as it is known, and is through creators like Zhao whose renegade filmmaking will carry the Marvel universe into the next decade.
A decade defined by a new Marvel Mold; one that is completely unpredictable.