(CNN) -- "Eternals" have landed, and we must have a discussion.
First and most obvious, a question you've been pondering since you left the theater: How would I rank this among other Marvel movies?
Well, friends, I don't like hate mail. So I'm not doing that. But I did place it on this Marvel movie matrix to help you understand our feelings -- with some input from CNN's resident expert Brian Lowry.
"Eternals" is meant to be an introduction to a new phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but unlike some of the other first films we've seen from Marvel (see: "Iron Man"), you would benefit from having some base knowledge before heading into this movie. (There's references to the Blip, for example.)
Tonally, "Eternals" does not have the pure fun factor of a "Spider-Man: Homecoming" or "Guardians of the Galaxy," so I'd measure expectations of that accordingly if anyone who hasn't seen it yet plans to do so this week. And if you fall into that camp, stop reading after the graphic, because spoilers are ahead:
This is where we acknowledge that every topic of the Marvel kind is highly subjective. So you're welcome to disagree on any of these placements. While you ponder your feelings, here's some more "Eternals" buzz:
MVE (most valuable Eternal)
So many Eternals, so little time. It's hard to say which Eternal really stole the show in this film, but I'd give my MVE status to two characters, Brian Tyree Henry's Phastos and Don Lee's Gilgamesh. The latter provided the most emotional capital in the movie, playing the psycho-taming Yin to Thena's (Angelina Jolie) Yang. Like her, I have a soft spot for a man with super strength who shatters toxic masculinity with a tender, caring heart and pie making. RIP. Phastos, meanwhile, was the literal brains of this operation. If we're talking pure abilities, Phastos was a vital cog in the Eternals machine, in addition to being a pretty wonderful dad, it seems. Bravo to Marvel for breaking down barriers with its first LGBTQ+ hero and its first deaf superhero in the lovely but undeserved Makkari. But count me on Team Phastos.
Let's talk money: There are two schools of thought on the $71 million box office debut from "Eternals." School 1: Wow. $71 million? Fourth-best debut of the year? Woohoo. School 2: Hmmm. Nice, but it's no "Shang-Chi." My take? The success of "The Eternals" can't be summed up in a weekend. The question that would be making me sweat if I worked at Marvel HQ is if "Eternals 2" was a movie right now, who would go see it? Was this the running start to a new phase of the MCU that Marvel needed? If you believe the lukewarm reviews, the answer is probably no. If you believe me, the answer is kinda. Ten new characters was just a lot to serve in one movie, so it was hard for me to get connected.
7 very not important burning questions
I'm not going to ask about the meaning mid-credit sequence or the end credit sequence because, frankly, there are Marvel experts discussing that in other corners of the internet. Here are some lesser thoughts plaguing me:
- Why did the Celestial look like the Iron Giant?
- Did anyone else wonder if the use of the song "The End of the World," played when Phastos is saying goodbye to his family, was a reference to another famous Angelina Jolie movie, "Girl, Interrupted?" (It's the same one used in the scene when Daisy is found hanging.)
- Maybe it was the different colored suits, but some of the scenes that featured all the heroes in one shot felt more "Power Rangers" than "Avengers" to me. Agree or disagree?
- How many people in your theater audibly said "awww" when Gilgamesh dropped his pie? Mine had at least 4, including myself.
- Is Angelina Jolie the Queen of On-Screen Crazy? I vote yes.
- Was anyone else super bummed that Kingo completely missed the big battle at the end? I kept waiting for him to come back or swoop in. Was this a budget or timing-related decision? Either way, if you're in a Marvel movie as an actor, I'd imagine you want to be in the big battle. Justice for Kumail!
- Harry Styles appeared in the mid-credit sequence as Thanos's brother Starfox. So does this mean BTS exists in the MCU but One Direction does not? If so, whoa.
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.
for more features.