When it’s all said and done, Eternals might end up being one of the most polarizing movies to ever hit the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s struggled with many critics, though some fans seem to have really enjoyed it. The box office returns have been decent enough, but a sequel isn’t necessarily guaranteed. Chloe Zhao might be back for a sequel, or this could be a one-and-done situation for the award-winning director. For whatever it’s worth, the movie is stirring up a number of things for the studio, not all of them 100% welcome. And now, according to Deadline, it looks like there could be a little controversy when it comes to one of its scenes.
Though some of the stateside “controversy” for the film is where it will ultimately rank in the scope of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, apparently, other country’s censors are taking umbrage with a number of different scenes and references in the movie. It’s led to the flick being outright banned in certain countries and a number of scenes removed when it screens elsewhere. One of those scenes that is now banned is a first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And in the interest of forthrightness, there is a moderate Eternals Spoiler Alert coming very, very soon.
The Eternals scene that is causing some controversy and being removed from different versions involves a same-sex kiss between two characters. That is Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos and his human husband Ben, played by Haaz Sleiman. It is a first for Marvel which is pretty remarkable considering just how many movies have come along in their different phases. But Phastos is the first openly gay character on the big screen for Marvel and this scene is a first for the Universe. A big deal in the grand scheme of things or at all controversial? Of course not. But not all countries and their respective censors see it the same way.
According to the Deadline reporting, the countries where the movie is outright banned include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman. Those countries censor boards had gone to Disney and requested that a number of other scenes beyond just those depicting same-sex intimacy be cut from the film. The Mouse House declined to do so and that meant the end of Eternals in those territories. Apparently, there were requests to remove references to God-like figures. And in light of this movie’s overall storyline, that was just going to be a comic book bridge too far.
Meanwhile, over in the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt all scenes of intimacy are being taken out of Eternals. That’s going to include the scene with Brian Tyree Henry and some others that take place throughout the course of the film. Considering the countries mentioned, it’s somewhat commonplace for these kinds of scenes to be taken out prior to viewing for a larger audience.
As it stands right now, Eternals would finish at the lowest mark among critics of any movie released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s currently sitting at 48% on Rotten Tomatoes. But the audience score tells a different story (81%) and a $71 million dollar opening weekend is still outside of the “bomb” territory. “Controversial” scenes aside, it will be interesting to see where the movie and the franchise go from here with the fallout from the critical performance possibly lingering or even having Marvel pivot its original plans with the characters