Last summer I introduced my kids to Marvel movies when we, like most of the world, embarked on a pandemic Marvel movie marathon. My kids had seen some of the movies here and there but last year we went down our list in chronological order. Those are some great memories. Well, we’ve continued to watch them together and Eternals is next up on the list, but it’s the first movie that is giving me some major pause about bringing my kids. Perhaps Marvel was never intended for families. I think that answer will depend on who you ask. But the fact is, many families, like ours, have embraced the franchise and shared it with our kids. But is Marvel’s Eternals appropriate for kids? Hopefully this spoiler-free parent review helps you decide if it’s ok for your family.
What families need to know before watching ‘Eternals’
Families need to know that the violence and language in Eternals is about on par with what you’ve seen in other Marvel movies, however in Eternals there is more romance and sex and the story timeline could be more challenging for a younger audience to follow. Eternals is rated PG-13 for fantasy violence, action, some language and brief sexuality.
Eternals takes place after Avengers Endgame and really breaks the formula of what we have come to expect Marvel movies to be. Perhaps similar to how Guardians of the Galaxy first felt in the MCU (which I didn’t appreciate until much later). But where Guardians brought spunk and humor to the stage, Eternals bring more complexity to Earth’s timeline. But there is a lot of timeline jumping and backstories which really had me thinking this would have been better as a Disney+ series.
The story seems contradictory because on one hand it makes you think “wow we earthlings are so small and insignificant” but in the same breath “humans are so different and incredible.” I’m not sure if this was an oversight in the writing, something I’m missing because I haven’t read the comics, or a puzzle piece we were given that will all make sense at some point. What I do know is after watching Marvel’s Eternals I have more questions than answers and it’s not a fun way to leave a movie.
Diversity and Inclusion
Easily my favorite part of the movie is the vast representation across the characters. From Black, Asian, Indian, Hispanic, gay, deaf, older, younger the heroes are widely represented. And the creators really went for it too. With a shared kiss between a gay couple, an abundance of sign language, and strong female characters in lead roles. The diversity and representation is something I love to see and share with my kids. That aspect gets two thumbs up from me.
What I Liked About ‘Eternals’
A few other positives: Fans of mythology may appreciate the nods to the popular stories and characters. I have a Percy Jackson fan who would likely love references to Sprite (Lia McHugh), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Phastos/Hephestus (Brian Tyree Henry), and Thena/Athena (Angelina Jolie).
Though the backstory takes up a large chunk of the movie, the present day story has some funny moments and casual fans will likely perk up at some of the Avengers references. I really enjoyed the special effects, and the vast settings.
The story itself was fine, and enjoyable but for a movie with a runtime of 153 minutes, there are quite a few plot holes, slow moments and some things that may make families decide to wait to watch it at home when the fast forward button is handy. Let’s get into that now, shall we?
What I Didn’t Like
Like I said, the cast is amazing, when it comes to diversity. But some of the characters are also distracting. Is it just me? Why they decided to cast Game of Throne’s Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Rob Stark (Richard Madden) in the same movie alongside the Marvel character Sersi (like Cersi) I will never know. Perhaps it was an inside joke. And in our theater there was definitely some laughter. I leaned to my mom and asked if that seemed weird to her too and she said yes. Glad I am not alone. Angelina Jolie, though I LOVE her, was also distracting to me. I appreciate when the MCU brings some new, lesser-known names and faces to the franchise and this wasn’t it.
The story is long, complicated, and at times, it drags. There were several times when I thought “my kids will think this movie is so boring” followed by “oh but this is cool.”
It also has a short but steamy scene that may put this movie in the not so family friendly category for your home.
How graphic is the sex scene in ‘Eternals’?
Maybe you’ve heard there’s a sex scene in Eternals. But how bad is it? Well, how do you feel about watching an intimate scene with your kid right next to you? No, this isn’t supernatural coitus like in Coneheads or Guardians Vol 2, it’s a couple human bodies, topless with a side of boob. First you see legs, then you see back/side. It happens after a passionate kiss and lasts maybe 10 seconds, but I was sweating sitting next to my mom during it. So maybe you’ll want to bring a date, maybe not your kids, maybe not your mom. Or perhaps wait til it’s streaming so you can fast forward through it if that’s not your thing. Maybe you don’t care if your kids see two people getting it on. Or you’re fine just covering your kids’ eyes for a few seconds (Lord knows my parents did this through my entire childhood). That’s up to you, your family and where you draw the line. Just giving you the info to hopefully help you make a decision.
I’ll admit for me it’s a bit disappointing given how romance and love stories have been portrayed in the other 25 movies. I don’t know why now, they decided to turn up the heat and at least in this story, for no great reason. It didn’t move the plot along any better, it was really, truly, unnecessary. Maybe it’s a flag letting us know Marvel is growing up and not meant for kids. Which is fine, but maybe we could keep the toys out of Happy Meals then too? Please and thank you.
Is ‘Eternals’ Too Scary for Kids?
Alright let’s talk about the violence. And because I know someone will ask why I’m ok showing my kids violent movies but not sex, let me just tackle that right now. Am I ok showing my kids horror, extreme peril, gore, or gun violence? No. Am I ok with them watching superheroes fighting aliens with laser eyes and lightening-wielding hammers? Sure. For us, that’s where we draw the line. A few swear words? Ok. A bunch of f-bombs? No thanks. We haven’t entered the stage where we are watching X-Men, Deadpool, Venom and the like. At least not without our at-home filtering.
The deviant creatures in Eternals are pretty creepy. But not much scarier than other monsters we’ve seen in the MCU. There are some moments of peril with different characters, but nothing like the gut punch we felt in Avengers: Infinity War. The violence is more magical and supernatural. There isn’t much blood, there is a little monster gore.
Will You Bring Your Kids to Watch ‘Eternals’?
Overall this is a film parents are likely going to want to screen first, before taking their kids, to gauge what they feel is appropriate. It might come as a disappointment to some fans, especially if your kids have already been hyped by the previous movies and are anticipating this one thanks to the trailers on TV and Happy Meal prizes. My kids included. But the good doesn’t outweigh the bad enough for me to take the entire family to see it.
Will my kids see it eventually? Sure. But we will be waiting until Eternals hits Disney+ and I have the skip 10 button in hand to filter out the sex and probably some of the dragging storyline.
Overall I give Eternals a 3 out of 5 stars, for me, but not for my family. I thought it was good. Not great. Not terrible. Exciting but confusing. Definitely not a favorite. But I’m holding on to hope that when more of the Phase 4 puzzle comes together this movie piece will fit right in.
Are you planning to take your kids to see Eternals? Or are you going to wait?
Like our ‘Eternals’ review? Wondering how our taste in movies compares to yours? Here are some other recent reviews:
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Review
- Black Widow Review
- Vivo Review
- Jungle Cruise Review
- Raya and the Last Dragon Review
- Cruella Review
- Cinderella Review
- Wish Dragon Review