RT Podcast

"Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong" About... Eternals

Does Chloé Zhao's sprawling superhero epic really deserve to be ranked at the bottom of the MCU?

by | December 30, 2021 | Comments

Poster for Eternals

(Photo by ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Part of the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is due to the studio’s ability to tweak its moviemaking formula just enough to offer something fresh for fans even as they continue to utilize all the familiar trademarks those fans have come to know and love. One element of that tweaking process has involved folding unique, capable filmmakers — people like Kenneth Branagh, James Gunn, and Taika Waititi — into Marvel’s overarching vision. These efforts have, by and large, born critically acclaimed, incredibly profitable fruit.

Listen Now: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher TuneIn | Google Podcasts | Radio Public | Deezer | iHeart | Art19

Then Eternals happened.

The prospect of introducing nearly a dozen new superheroes all at once was daunting enough, never mind the fact that these particular heroes were powerful immortals who had presumably lived through the events of the Infinity Saga without so much as lifting a finger to fight Thanos. But the folks at Marvel had the good sense to hire a young, up-and-coming director by the name of Chloé Zhao to helm the film after Zhao, an MCU fan, presented them with a pitch they couldn’t refuse.

At the time, Zhao had just come off of her second feature film, 2017’s acclaimed The Rider, and by the time Eternals was released in late 2021, she had become a Best Picture and Best Director winner at the Oscars for her third, Nomadland. In other words, expectations were sky high, and when the film landed with a 47% on the Tomatometer — the lowest of any film in the MCU and the only Rotten one of the franchise — it baffled a lot of folks.

So what went wrong? Not only did Eternals have an Academy Award-winning director, it featured an impressive cast that included Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, and Brian Tyree Henry, just to name a few. The film boasted an epic, centuries-spanning story and expansive, sweeping cinematography, and juggled multiple characters while it delivered the requisite superhero action.

According to some critics, particularly those who were hoping Eternals would be the MCU’s first “arthouse” superhero movie, there simply weren’t enough of Zhao’s fingerprints on the film. But hold on, still others complained that Zhao’s influence was far too strong. With all of that in mind, regular co-hosts Mark Ellis and Jacqueline Coley invite returning guest Coy Jandreau — talk show host, pop culture commentator, and all-around comic book expert — to rehash the film and figure out how and why the critics are so at odds with the fans, who rewarded Zhao’s efforts with a 78% Audience Score.

Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”

Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:

If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.

Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

new zealand dc razzies PaleyFest Ovation Nickelodeon WarnerMedia Cartoon Network emmy awards 99% TCM Alien VOD TCA streamig Mindy Kaling teaser Hallmark Christmas movies Valentine's Day biography sag awards Walt Disney Pictures crime thriller dogs children's TV spider-man Apple TV Plus Hallmark A&E Hollywood Foreign Press Association Amazon Prime anthology 72 Emmy Awards Epix Sundance TV news cancelled TV shows CBS All Access cars Western zero dark thirty Mary Tyler Moore police drama south america hispanic Fall TV crossover space CNN CBS Grammys comic book movies tv talk harry potter book halloween tv comic docudrama Disney Channel FX Writers Guild of America joker composers Fantasy chucky Musical DGA dceu popular pirates of the caribbean Awards Bravo robots satire diversity Netflix Christmas movies sitcom Kids & Family Lifetime dreamworks zombies Ghostbusters BBC spanish language elevated horror prank Netflix Disney Plus BET Awards new star wars movies Reality Tags: Comedy Mary poppins Apple TV+ war kids best First Reviews comiccon serial killer Amazon Studios FOX canceled TV shows Rocketman SDCC Musicals 2018 sports Rock cooking Song of Ice and Fire Captain marvel Calendar anime Syfy mission: impossible nbcuniversal 94th Oscars Women's History Month Elton John Mystery video on demand MCU San Diego Comic-Con GoT SXSW HBO richard e. Grant streaming movies Nominations discovery Arrowverse royal family Universal Travel Channel venice festival Infographic Schedule Prime Video Emmy Nominations TV renewals Spectrum Originals superman A24 social media Fargo olympics dragons crime Drama franchise 21st Century Fox Comic-Con@Home 2021 Thanksgiving Opinion aapi Cannes scene in color Shondaland comic book movie aliens genre posters Paramount Network Action target scene in color Tumblr Food Network historical drama docuseries Crunchyroll psychological thriller Starz heist movie comics cinemax obi wan slasher Star Wars Celebration Fox Searchlight The Arrangement superhero Anna Paquin saw travel universal monsters asian-american TV sopranos Crackle game show Esquire Film cancelled TV series Mary Poppins Returns casting movies Marvel Studios indiana jones remakes stoner mob ABC Signature blockbusters child's play Binge Guide Superheroes Best and Worst LGBTQ Certified Fresh live event VH1 spy thriller spain Shudder jamie lee curtis Adult Swim justice league Comics on TV what to watch biopic PBS WGN BBC America Election Television Critics Association 79th Golden Globes Awards 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Character Guide target Broadway scary movies 1990s Ellie Kemper independent marvel cinematic universe Wes Anderson TCA 2017 hidden camera doctor who summer TV preview football Indigenous Paramount Pictures OWN rt labs critics edition Holidays Animation Pet Sematary Turner Classic Movies 4/20 TBS TIFF singing competition Sundance Now DC streaming service The Walt Disney Company 93rd Oscars Watching Series Best Actress adenture broadcast political drama FX on Hulu parents leaderboard Star Trek SundanceTV marvel comics OneApp Year in Review X-Men Tomatazos slashers Set visit unscripted Quiz legend art house animated TNT monster movies classics DC Comics miniseries Exclusive Video 2020 Super Bowl ABC Family true crime Amazon Prime Video USA Network E! critics GIFs FXX Reality Competition free movies Best Director Rocky ViacomCBS video international Logo australia scary period drama IMDb TV king kong Horror game of thrones Lionsgate The CW romantic comedy MTV Instagram Live scorecard Black Mirror Trivia Lucasfilm Universal Pictures Summer CW Seed indie golden globes telelvision Disney streaming service Heroines quibi Emmys spider-verse politics critic resources Pacific Islander Mudbound PlayStation nfl award winner HBO Max Trailer Oscars Red Carpet comic books Photos See It Skip It American Society of Cinematographers Winter TV Paramount Plus TLC black El Rey AMC CMT festivals cops IFC films Winners BBC One black comedy summer TV 90s GLAAD Vudu rt labs halloween NBA technology summer preview ABC Apple obituary reviews series Showtime New York Comic Con toronto wonder woman deadpool thriller Pride Month USA natural history IFC Films documentary Hear Us Out criterion Pop jurassic park Oscar MSNBC king arthur crime drama Comedy Lifetime Christmas movies Creative Arts Emmys archives BAFTA Trophy Talk rt archives Music The Purge Hulu television talk show mutant fast and furious VICE women E3 Britbox Endgame Native Image Comics First Look Chernobyl TV movies action-comedy History rotten directors werewolf psycho streaming feel good Teen green book a nightmare on elm street Marvel Pop TV NBC Warner Bros. Christmas Tokyo Olympics foreign Academy Awards Focus Features Best Actor Columbia Pictures sequel adventure witnail Biopics adaptation worst movies new york medical drama japanese rotten movies we love Disney Chilling Adventures of Sabrina die hard lord of the rings screenings Country science fiction Stephen King Sci-Fi supernatural Amazon Masterpiece golden globe awards 20th Century Fox vs. Premiere Dates debate Legendary Tubi President Sony Pictures gangster Awards Tour 2016 YouTube Premium 007 suspense ID Classic Film TruTV young adult cancelled television AMC Plus TCA Awards Disney+ Disney Plus basketball Geeked Week italian Funimation BET 2019 hist hispanic heritage month trophy boxoffice latino scene in color film series dark Holiday Best Picture kong Sundance romance 2015 Sony YouTube cats stop motion Comedy Central live action dramedy LGBT Baby Yoda Dark Horse Comics NYCC 24 frames spanish concert japan Marathons DC Universe Tarantino movie Countdown Nat Geo Star Wars 45 TV One hollywood stand-up comedy Interview strong female leads Rom-Com screen actors guild The Academy Video Games binge Fox News twilight worst Discovery Channel boxing Polls and Games 2017 Film Festival YA Marvel Television Spring TV Toys RT History revenge scene in color series trailers Pirates YouTube Red know your critic vampires 2021 cartoon rom-coms 71st Emmy Awards Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt South by Southwest Film Festival dexter finale ratings zombie DirecTV french Box Office The Witch high school renewed TV shows Acorn TV laika book adaptation SXSW 2022 Sneak Peek National Geographic based on movie name the review The Walking Dead breaking bad Neflix Turner APB Family Spike mcc ESPN Freeform blockbuster Paramount fresh Superheroe HFPA TV Land Brie Larson theme song TCA Winter 2020 versus Pixar Extras spinoff HBO Go Podcast mockumentary blaxploitation Cosplay 73rd Emmy Awards RT21 christmas movies Peacock godzilla toy story nature batman Black History Month Martial Arts kaiju all-time transformers facebook canceled Avengers Television Academy interviews Comic Book sequels ghosts james bond reboot comedies cancelled disaster documentaries cults MGM ITV