Eternals’ Superman Reference Exposes a Major MCU Shortcoming
An Eternals teaser refers to the popular DC superhero, Superman. In so doing, it brings to light a major issue in the current MCU.
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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to get a lot bigger thanks to Eternals coming to theaters. As immortal beings, they possess abilities that haven’t been seen in the MCU before. This includes unassisted flight and eye beams from their greatest warrior, Ikaris (Richard Madden). At one point he is even compared to the DC Comics icon, Superman. But by bringing up the comparison, the film also brings up a prevalent issue in the latest phase of the MCU.
In a promo for Eternals, a brief scene features Phastos’ (Brian Tyree Henry) son gushing over Ikaris’ abilities. At one point, he also compares him to Superman, namely how he was wearing a cape and, “…shooting laser beams out of your eyes.” Ikaris slyly responds, “I don’t wear a cape,” distancing himself from the Last Son of Krypton while also confirming the DC hero’s presence (in some capacity) in the MCU. While it’s true that he isn’t like Superman, his abilities show that the MCU is currently lacking a powerhouse hero of his caliber.
In the past, Thor was possibly the best comparison. However, he left Earth to travel deep space with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The same could be said for Captain Marvel, who has spent much of her adult life in space and hasn’t made a name for herself on Earth, as far as anyone knows. The closest thing to a beloved hero who packs a punch was Iron Man but he sadly made the ultimate sacrifice to defeat Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.
While Ikaris appears to be the perfect fit to fill the boots of a hero akin to Superman, his shortcomings keep him from reaching that level. Power-wise, he has all the makings of the Man of Steel, and his adoration of humans also fits the DC hero’s ideals. But Ikaris is a warrior firsthand instructed not to meddle in the affairs of humans. Not only is this a rule he’s abided by for centuries, but it’s also something Superman would never be able to do. That being said, Ikaris still has the makings of a classic hero. His love of humanity and protecting them is as pure as Captain America’s and since he’s still new to a world with heroes other than them, he could eventually fill a Superman-style role in the future.
That being said, when it comes to the present moment, the MCU is largely vulnerable without a powerhouse hero to lead the charge and be there when a person is in need. As threats like Kang, and the dangers of the multiverse become more apparent, the MCU will need a figurehead to rally behind. For now, that face has yet to present itself. The territory becomes even more foreign when realizing that the Eternals also represent a host of organic abilities that have yet to be seen in a scientifically grounded world like the MCU.
Eternals will undoubtedly redefine the state of the MCU like when Iron Man or Guardians of the Galaxy helped redefine the genre. The only difference is these new heroes will be entering a world that has both established heroes and multiple voids from those that have retired or don’t exist on Earth. With the need for heroes that pack a punch, the likes of Ikaris and Gilgamesh could help fill the gap. But should they prove to not be the ones for the task, they will most likely set the stage for whoever is coming in the future.
To see the MCU’s next potential powerhouses, Eternals arrives in theaters on Nov. 5.