Marvel’s Inhumans: Far From Perfect, but Tons of Fun

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Marvel's Inhumans - Black Bolt and Maximus

Did I love Marvel’s Inhumans when I caught it in IMAX a few weeks ago? I’m not going to lie, no… and I really wanted to love it.

You see, I’m a massive Marvel fan who has stuck with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since Season 1. That said, though I agree with IGN when they say “this new TV show doesn’t live up to the usual Marvel standard,” it’s also not as god-awful as many media outlets are making it out to be.

When word came that the 2019 Inhumans film was transitioning to a television show, I was thrilled. I mean, there’s so much Inhuman history to tell that there was no way a two-hour film would do it justice. Plus, fans would no longer have to wait two freakin’ years to see the Royal Family of Attilan in live-action. Then the casting announcements began in late February 2017 with Iwan Rheon, Anson Mount, and Serinda Swan in the leading roles. Yes, the show was coming together nicely. Would this series be Marvel/ABC’s very own Game of Thrones?

There was much riding on Marvel’s hybrid IMAX film/TV show. This little experiment marked the first time a Marvel production would make its debut in theaters before hitting our TV screens on ABC in the fall. Disney Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Media Distribution, Mark Endemano, is quoted as saying “I promise you, this is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before on television.” I think, therein lies the problem. The insane hype paired with the Marvel brand set fan expectations at an astronomically high level.

All the early negativity and backlash hurt Marvel’s Inhumans beyond repair. It opened in IMAX to less than $3 million, with folks opting to skip the theatrical presentation and simply watch it for free on television. Personally, I’m glad I shelled out the $20 to see Inhumans in IMAX. The show is beautifully shot and Hawaii has never looked more glorious. It’s just a different experience for a movie lover. And the sound/score in that theatre… wowza!

MARVEL’S INHUMANS – “Behold…The Inhumans”
Courtesy of ABC/Marvel

Part 1 “Behold… The Inhumans!” introduced us to the major players and we quickly learned that Triton was on Earth investigating the Terrigen crystals that Daisy/Quake dropped in the ocean during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D‘s Season 2 finale. That gives us an idea as to the timeline for Inhumans. For me, it’s those little moments of interconnectivity that make the Marvel Cinematic Universe so exciting. Seeing Attilan come to life in that first wide shot was breathtaking. I realize many reviewers had issues with the sets and costumes, and although they’re not “Marvel movie” quality, they are comparable to The CW’s Arrowverse shows. Didn’t the quick opening credits give you a sense Inhumans was going to be more comic-booky than say the Netflix/Marvel shows?

Throughout the first two hours, Anson Mount proved to be a powerful presence without saying a damn word. That’s got to be tough, yet extremely challenging for an actor. Serinda Swan plays off Mount nicely, and I’m really hoping the writers do not drag out their inevitable reunion on Earth. At its heart, Inhumans is a family show. While that may be what landed the series on ABC, the whole concept of “Inhumans” is definitely a tad too quirky for network television.

I did find there was a captivating chemistry and sense of humor to the Royals. The trio are our leads, while Karnak and Gorgon serve mostly as our “comic relief” characters. Crystal was probably my least favorite Royal, though most of her scenes are with Lockjaw and that helps. Which reminds me: Lockjaw is adorable and the canine’s CGI is top-notch for TV. I’ve read reviews knocking that aspect of the series as well, but you’ve now seen the show… What do you think?

It was just thrilling to learn more about Inhuman society and culture throughout the pilot. I’ve been itching to see Attilan since Skye/Quake broke out of her husk on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so perhaps the fanboy in me is letting a few things slide here. Again, the show is far from perfect, but I found it to be entertaining enough. I certainly didn’t hate it.

If the first half was all about worldbuilding, Part 2 “Those Who Would Destroy Us” dealt with Maximus’ coup and splitting our heroes up. I’m still wondering why Lockjaw teleported everyone to different locations, but I guess creator/writer Scott Buck couldn’t make it easy on our heroes. By the way, I was not a fan of Buck’s Iron Fist Netflix series, so I completely understand fans losing faith in the Inhumans showrunner. Could the show have been better with a different writer? Ah… probably. However, we’ll never know for sure and I’d much rather watch his version of Inhumans than no version at all.

Once I understood the tone of this series wasn’t going to be like Game of Thrones I was able to settle in for more of a good time. Why does every series have to be Game of Thrones anyway? Don’t get me wrong, I love that show, but keep in mind Thrones only averaged two and a half million viewers when it premiered in the summer of 2011. Sure, it’s monstrous now, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

MARVEL’S INHUMANS – “Those Who Would Destroy Us”
Courtesy of ABC/Marvel

Inhumans is far from perfect, but it’s unfair to place that amount of pressure on any new TV series. We can be interested in the fates of both Jon Snow and Black Bolt, you know? Why must we be so damn finicky and ready to tear things apart? Can’t we just allow ourselves to be entertained? I left the jaded adult behind and let the Inhumans teleport me away from real life for a while. Heaven knows we need a little escapism with all the earthquakes and hurricanes of late.

I get that Inhumans is no Guardians of the Galaxy either, but if you can get past the clunky dialogue and exposition, there’s a fascinating story there. The fact that Black Bolt and Medusa are not your typical protagonists, and you might find yourself siding with “baddie” Maximus is a cool twist. Rheon has said his Maximus is no Ramsay Bolton, but it’s safe to say fans as going to hate the guy either way. I mean, he shaved Medusa’s hair. What?!? Yeah, they saved a huge chunk of the budget with that move. While his motivations are clear, it’s the underhanded way he goes about usurping the throne that makes him a villain. His sidekick, Auran, is pretty annoying too.

What will the Royal Family do next and who can they trust while on Earth? Will the Attilan population accept Maximus as their King? Does he deliver on his promises? Now that Agent Coulson and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are tackling space next season, is a crossover between shows a possibility? As I mentioned before, the MCU connections never fail to thrill me. Though it’s doubtful Inhumans will get a second season, I’d love to see Black Bolt, Medusa and the others interacting with Coulson and company. How kickass would that be, guys?

I have a feeling Marvel’s Inhumans will be one of those critically reviled shows that fans watch and don’t quite get where all the hate came from. My advice to you, dear reader, is to simply judge for yourself if Inhumans works for you. Yes, I’m looking forward to Episode 3 “Divide and Conquer” and to finishing out the season. If we “genre fans” don’t support a show like Inhumans, we’ll soon only have “reality” and singing/dancing competitions 24/7 on TV. I’d rather work in the mines of Attilan than suffer through that.

 

What did you think of Marvel’s Inhumans? Did you catch it in IMAX? Are you on board for the rest of the season, or checking out early? Let’s discuss!

Marvel’s Inhumans airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC and CTV.

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