There is a mild sort of sex scene in the new comic book movie “The Eternals.” Film fans who talk about this picture may talk about that scene rather than about anything else in the movie. There are two reasons for this.

One is that recent movies in general and super-hero films in particular have rarely made even passing reference to sex. Hollywood hasn’t done much with sex since the 1970s. Violence has been the material out of which general release films are made, not physical affection.

So any movie that has a sex scene in it is an outlier. And how can a big budget Marvel comics movie starring Angelina Jolie and Selma Hayek be unconventional? But there it is, in the first hour of this seemingly endless film--two super heroes have taken off their clothes and are embracing horizontally.

Which leads us to the second reason that twenty or thirty seconds is remarkable here. These characters are super heroes. They are from outer space. As the name of the picture suggests, they don’t (ordinarily) die.

So do they have all the physical urges and functions of the humans they have been sent here to protect for thousands of years? Should we think of them as guys with special powers rather than as members of a superior species?

But don’t actually stop to try to answer this last question. Because Chloe Zhao, director of the gentle-to-the-point-of-dullness “The Eternals,” has found a second way to set her feature film apart from other comic book movies. She allows it to make up the rules of its reality as it goes along.

If the heroes seem to be here to protect humans, an assertion that is made out loud in one of the film’s talky portions, we can be sure this will turn out that this is not the case later in the film. If the movie’s threats, fugitives from “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Predator,” are dumb animals anxious to eat humans, figure to hear one of them talking before too long.

And so on. If the god-like power that has sent the Eternals to Earth has defined ends and motives, be sure they will change before the last reel runs. The shifting of motivations irritates the viewer in the same way as does that habit in bad mystery stories of hiding important facts from readers and then springing them at the story’s climax.

Ticket-holders probably won’t like this refusal to tell a straight-forward story. And so “The Eternals” is always working at a disadvantage as it tries to entertain. Unless audience members like long on-screen chats between wearers of odd costumes — more east Asian than Occidental — they probably won’t like the movie.

But maybe they will go for that itty-bitty sex scene early on. At least that will give them something to talk about as they leave the auditorium for the parking lot.

And while the three hour “Eternals” holds down three or four screens at the local 13-plex, we aren’t seeing Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun.” This Anderson is the director who gave us “The Royal Tennenbaums,” “Isle of Dogs,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.”

Phooey to AMC.

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