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Sersi Character Poster.jpg

Hello fellow users! I haven’t done one of these in a little while, have I? So I recently got around to watching Eternals, the newest Marvel movie, and even before it came out, there was a character in it I suspected could qualify as pure good. Now that I’ve seen it, I’m convinced that my hunch was on to something and that the Marvel Cinematic Universe indeed has another strong potential candidate on its hands. Now, the morals and ideologies presented in this movie are anything but black and white, but I still think this character is easy to get behind and someone who deserves a discussion, so without further ado, here’s my proposal for Sersi. Oh, and do beware of spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie yet since it’s impossible for me not to cover some in the process of making my case for her.

What’s the work?

Eternals is a superhero movie that acts as the 26th installment in the extremely popular, ongoing film series known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It focuses on 10 members of an immortal alien race of the same name who were sent to Earth 7000 years before the present day by a Celestial named Arishem the Judge, supposedly for the sake of protecting its inhabitants from a race of dangerous and hostile creatures called the Deviants. However, by about 500 years before the present, they managed to succeed in defeating them all, and due to a combination of fulfilling their main purpose and conflicting ideologies about their responsibilities, particularly their instruction to never interfere with humanity’s conflicts unless Deviants are involved, they went their separate ways to live their own lives and find their own purposes. However, once Deviants suddenly start to emerge again in London in the present day, Sersi, Sprite and Ikaris decide to track down the others and get to the bottom of the situation, especially once they discover what their true purpose was all along over the course of the movie.

Who is she and what does she do?

Sersi is one of the aforementioned 10 members of the Eternals who were sent to Earth 7000 years ago to protect humanity from the Deviants. Out of all of them, she has perhaps the most pronounced affinity and love for humanity. Her superpower is the ability to manipulate matter by changing the makeup of any non-sentient material she touches. She also used to have a romantic relationship with Ikaris back in BC times, but he left her a while ago when the Eternals went their separate ways, so in modern times, she now lives a low-key life in London with her fellow Eternal Sprite, where she works as a curator at the Natural History Museum and is in a relationship with a regular man named Dane Whitman, who also works there.

From here on out, I’m going to do something I haven’t done before and format the rest of this section in point form so that I can focus more exclusively on the moments in the movie and the things she does over the course of it that made her stand out in a positive way to me so that this comes off as less of a synopsis of the movie and is more about her, specifically. So with that established, here are the moments of heroism and displays of positive character that Sersi displays over the course of the movie:

  • As mentioned before, out of all the Eternals, she has the most pronounced love for humanity, and while she’s bared witness to the evils they’re capable of over the centuries, she still views them in a positive way and thinks they’re a race worth protecting.
  • She is one of their most pacifistic members as well. While this may be partially because her power isn’t as combat-oriented as many of the others, she still possesses some degree of superhuman strength and durability, but prefers not to fight, let alone kill Deviants personally if she can help it, generally leaving that to the others.
  • She takes a lot of joy in working as a humble museum curator in the present day, and when there’s a sudden earthquake during a class she’s teaching, she quickly instructs the children to get under the tables, as is standard protocol in such situations, to protect them. Additionally, when she notices a large stone tablet of sorts is about to fall on one of them, she quickly turns it into sand when no one’s looking to save them, as well as embraces another child who’s scared the way a mother would to comfort them until it stops.
  • When a powerful Deviant suddenly shows up in London while she’s with Sprite and Dane, she’s quick to put herself in harm’s way by getting its attention and luring it away to protect the others, especially Dane.
  • When Ikaris shows up and fight it as a result of coming to check on them because of the earthquake, the resulting conflict nearly causes an incoming bus to flip over. However, Sersi quickly uses her ability to turn the bus into rose petals to prevent the crash and save the driver.
  • In the wake of the Eternals’ former leader Ajak’s tragic death, it is revealed she posthumously chose Sersi to be her successor as their new leader due to her strong affection for humanity, which made her confident that she would be willing to defy what’s revealed to be the real purpose Arishem gave them: to get humanity’s population to a level that it would allow the Celestial whose seed was planted in the Earth to be born, but at the expense of destroying the whole planet upon emergence.
  • Having grown to love humanity, Sersi is one of the Eternals who most feels they should do something to stop the “Emergence”, and goes around reassembling the others to enlist their help in doing so.
  • When they are attacked by Deviants while in the Amazon rainforest to recruit Druig where he currently resides, she gets the attention of a Deviant that's attacking Ikaris and about to kill him. She doesn’t deal with it violently at first, but when she’s backed into a corner and nearly killed by it, she ends its threat by using her power to turn it into a tree, something she didn’t know she could do.
  • Her affinity for humanity is shown in flashbacks to times when the Eternals were together and lived with humans in Babylon, where among other things, she helps regular humans with physical labor, showing that she didn’t see herself as above them or doing such work, even though she probably didn’t have to. She also shares smaller moments of affection and joy with them, like doing the hair of a couple of young girls and celebrating and laughing alongside some other people while forming a circle by joining hands together with them during some sort of festival.
  • While she is conflicted about whether what she’s doing is right since stopping the Emergence means stopping a Celestial, in this case one named Tiamut, from being born, they develop a plan to do it in the most moral way possible thanks to Phastos, namely by creating a Uni-Mind to amplify Druig’s mind-control powers so he can put Tiamut to sleep.
  • When Ikaris sabotages her and several of the others’ attempt to do this due to his loyalty to Arishem and believing that allowing Tiamut to be born serves the greater good, they come up with a new plan to make Sersi the center of the Uni-Mind so she can turn Tiamut to stone, with Druig even encouraging it since at that point, he wasn’t confident he could pull off their original plan. They succeed in turning Tiamut to stone just as they’re emerging, which saves all life on the planet.
  • Despite initially being heartbroken by Ikaris’ betrayal, she still didn’t hold any anger or resentment towards him, nor did she even fight him during the climax. Instead, she simply had faith he wouldn’t kill her when the moment came, and surely enough, Ikaris is unable to go through with it when confronting her, especially upon remembering not just all the good times they had together, but all the aforementioned moments of affection and love she showed for humanity, which convinces him to join the Uni-Mind himself. Afterwards, she non-verbally forgives and comforts him before he flies into the sun out of overwhelming guilt for his actions.
  • At Sprite’s request, she uses the remaining energy from the Uni-Mind to turn her into a human so that she finally grow up and out of her adolescent form so she could finally fully experience life like she wanted to for a long time. It may also mean she’ll now have a much shorter lifespan, but she was completely willing to make that trade-off.

Corrupting Factors

For the most part, this is an easy pass since Sersi is such a kind, selfless, compassionate, pacifistic and forgiving individual who is noticeably lacking in any particularly negative traits. Unlike many other protagonists in the series, she isn’t arrogant, rude or wrathful in the slightest, nor is she quick to use violence as a go-to method, only using it as a last resort. However, there are still a couple of morally complex issues I could see some people having a problem with. The first point, of course, is that like the rest of the Eternals, she didn’t interfere with many destructive conflicts that humanity waged against each other over the thousands of years she’s been on Earth, but that’s only because she was strictly instructed not to unless Deviants were involved, and she came to believe that if they did interfere, they weren’t allowing humanity to progress and grow naturally the way they’re meant to. So it definitely wasn’t done out of apathy, especially on her part, but rather, it was more of a reluctant hands-off approach that she took because she was convinced that in the big scheme of things, it was the right thing to do and in humanity’s best interest.

The other, of course, is the moral dilemma of preventing a Celestial from being born to save the lives of billions, especially since Celestials apparently go on to help create much more life across the galaxy. However, the significance of this isn’t lost at all on Sersi, and it even creates a fair bit of conflict for her despite her care for humanity. However, I think considering the circumstances and the lack of one, unambiguously good option, she made the most moral choice she could, being most in favor of merely putting Tiamut to sleep and only resorting to petrifying him when their plan to put him to sleep was sabotaged. In fact, it’s even implied that Tiamut was part of the Uni-Mind himself when they performed it, so it’s possible he was even willing to prevent his own birth to save all life on Earth. So no, I’m not inclined to hold that against Sersi since she didn’t like the idea of preventing Tiamut’s birth, let alone killing him, one bit, but felt it was even more wrong to let everyone on Earth die as a trade-off for allowing that to happen. Motive-wise, she only wanted to protect what she loved and take the path that resulted in the least amount of death.

So to conclude this section, no, I don’t think Sersi really has any corrupting factors; she bears no real ill will towards anyone, not even Ikaris after his betrayal, acknowledging that he only did what he felt was right, nor the Deviants beyond simply seeing them as the threat humanity needs protection from like she was conditioned to believe. She’s put into some very difficult situations where she needs to make hard choices, but she always tries to make the best and most moral decision not for her own sake, but for humanity’s, and her care for them, as well as her fellow Eternals, is without question.

Admirable Standard/Goodness Zone

It goes without saying that the admirable standard in the MCU is pretty darn high, if not astronomically so. This is the superhero genre after all, so many of the protagonists/heroes throughout the series have some pretty huge feats of heroism to their credit. Plus, it’s clear that Sersi’s part is far from finished. However, I’m still convinced that as of now, she already stands out in quite a positive way and makes a pretty strong case for herself to be counted amongst its most admirable characters. For starters, she’s been aiding humanity for thousands of years by protecting them against the Deviants like the rest of the Eternals, but there are some additional factors that make her stand out even compared to the rest of them. One, she has the most pronounced love and care for humanity out of all of them, and flashbacks even show her aiding them in additional ways that she clearly wasn’t obligated to, like helping them build their civilizations, and interacting with them, especially the children, in a nurturing way like she’s one of them. Two, she’s also especially averse to violence, not just compared to the other Eternals, but compared to any of the protagonists in the whole series; we only see her “kill” one Deviant in the entire film by turning it into a tree, and even then, that was in a life-or-death struggle where she had no other choice, and it was done in a much less violent way compared to the others’ methods. Three, she’s especially forgiving, as shown by her lack of resentment or anger towards Ikaris despite clearly feeling hurt by his betrayal, even more so than some of the others due to their history together. She even made it clear without actually saying so that she sympathized with his motives and didn’t hold it against him before he did the only thing he felt he could do to make up for his actions.

Perhaps one of the most admirable factors she shows, however, is that even after living amongst humanity for thousands of years and seeing how violent and destructive they can be, she still retained a pretty positive view of them, was especially appreciative of their culture, and has scenes that demonstrate she’s still just as protective and caring towards them as she’s always been. This is exactly why Ajak posthumously made her her successor, despite being far from a natural-born leader; she knew her love for them was strong enough that she’d be willing to defy Arishem’s instruction to let the Emergence happen, with Ajak herself feeling over time that the amount of death that needed to be caused to keep the cycle of creation and destruction going wasn’t worth the price, having retained her memories of when she was present when the same happened to other worlds. And of course, by the end of the movie, Sersi does indeed play a big part in preventing said Emergence by becoming the center of the Uni-Mind and turning Tiamut to stone, saving everyone on Earth from oblivion. And even in that situation, she preferred to do it in the most moral way possible since she didn’t like the idea of preventing the birth of a Celestial either, only resorting to petrifying Tiamut when the initial plan to put him asleep was sabotaged and she didn’t feel she could risk gambling everyone’s lives.

Final Verdict

While I can see some people feeling conflicted about her qualifying as a result of the complex moral situations she’s put in, as well as the conflicting ideologies that different characters represent which are equally relevant and understandable in their own ways, I think Sersi qualifies, or at the very least makes a strong enough case to be considered for approval. She maintains her strong care for humanity’s wellbeing despite probably having pretty good reasons to be disillusioned due to being witness to their..... less upstanding moments throughout history, including both world wars, tries to make the decisions that will preserve the most life and lead to the least amount of death, and ends up playing a big role in saving all of humanity. She’s also especially forgiving and pacifistic, not just compared to the other Eternals, but compared to many of the MCU’s other heroes in general, not to mention she’s especially lacking in any sort of negative traits. However, the ball’s in your court now, so what do you think? Either way, thanks for reading!