Arts

New to stream: Marvel superhero epic Eternals and Euphoria series two

Eternals: Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Gemma Chan as Sersi and Lia McHugh as Sprite

ETERNALS (Cert 12, 155 mins, streaming from January 12 exclusively on Disney+, available from February 7 on DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £21.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £36.99, Action/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Adventure/Romance)

Starring: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kit Harington.

WHEN monstrous entities called Deviants infest the Earth in 5000BC Mesopotamia, an ancient race of beings known as Celestials, led by the mighty Arishem, fashion humanity's superpowered protectors, the Eternals.

For more than 7,000 years, this band of near-immortal saviours live among us, in plain sight but unseen, led by Ajak (Salma Hayek), who possesses the power of healing.

Her dutiful acolytes Ikaris (Richard Madden), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Tyree Henry), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Gilgamesh (Don Lee) and Thena (Angelina Jolie) are instructed not to interfere in human conflicts unless Deviants are involved.

When a cataclysmic event called the Emergence thaws out frozen Deviants, the Eternals risk everything – including their sworn allegiance to Arishem – to determine mankind's fate.

Set after Bruce Banner wields the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Endgame, Eternals is the most emotionally intimate Marvel story to date.

Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao's origin story is an ambitious adaptation of the comic books including an artfully composed al fresco sex scene, but some conventions remain, including tantalising scenes embedded in the end credits.

By shifting the focus away from special effects-laden action set-pieces and on to character arcs and storytelling, Zhao bloats the running time to an uncomfortable two-and-a-half hours.

The script, co-written by Zhao, Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo and Kaz Firpo, tests gossamer-thin moral threads separating heroes from villains to breaking point using one of the most diverse, inclusive teams in the sprawling MCU.

Flecks of humour, courtesy of Nanjiani and Tyree Henry, are extremely welcome.

Rating: 3/5

EUPHORIA – SEASON 2 (6 episodes, starts streaming from January 10 exclusively on Now, Drama/Romance)

ZENDAYA became the youngest winner of the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series for her revelatory performance as a freshly rehabilitated drug addict in the first series of this gritty coming-of-age story created by Sam Levinson.

There have been two standalone specials of Euphoria in the interim and a second series arrives on Sky Atlantic this week and streams exclusively on Now.

In these episodes, Rue (Zendaya) and Jules (Hunter Schafer) are reunited but sobriety wears heavily on them and a dangerous plan threatens to curtail promising teenage lives.

Elsewhere, the strained relationship between violent Nate (Jacob Elordi) and Maddy (Alexa Demie) takes another dramatic turn.

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Arts