I’m not an avid comic book reader so I will be setting the authenticity argument aside. While it is easy to confuse Inhumans and Marvel’s other group of powered people, the main difference between them is how they got their powers and that Marvel (Disney) does not have the film rights to X-Men. Inhumans have existed for a long time in the comic world but were recently introduced to the masses during the last two seasons of Agents of Shield. A theatrical film was also in the works and has since been scrapped unofficially. Now they have an 8-episode television series of their own and it’s not just any series as it is the first television series to premiere in IMAX.
Synopsis: Tensions arise between the members of the Attillan royal family. (IMDB)
Writer: Scott Buck (Episode 1 & 2)
Director: Roel Reiné (Episode 1 & 2)
Running Time: 86 minutes (2 43-minute episodes)
For showtimes and more, check out Inhumans on movietimes.com.
*This review will be based on the IMAX version as the TV premiere will be slightly different but if there are any big changes, this review will be updated accordingly.*
As mentioned, the live-action version of Inhumans were introduced during Agents of Shield and for those wondering if they should watch that program first, the answer is yes as this program assumes that viewers have seen the last two seasons of Agents of Shield. The two episode pilot did a poor job at introducing both the characters and the setting. Although this could happen later on (but probably not), it failed in its core duty of allowing the viewer to get invested in the characters and the story.
These Inhumans live sheltered in the hidden city of Attilan, on the Moon. They are ruled by King Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and his wife Medusa (Serinda Swan). When Triton (Mike Moh) is sent to Earth to help any emergent Inhumans caused by the worldwide Terrigen contamination of Earth’s water supply (from the third season of Agents of Shield) is apparently killed, Black Bolt’s brother Maximus (Iwan Rheon) uses the event as a cause to stage a coup, taking over Attilan and planning their return to Earth. This coup relegated the rest of the Royal Family to Earth as seen in the many trailers.
Now for those wondering how IMAX fits into this, the Royal Family are sent to Hawaii for whatever reason. The Hawaiian countryside was definitely nice to look at in IMAX but that was where it began and ended in terms of positives. It also did not add anything to the story and was more of a distraction, making it all seem like a Hawaiian tourism commercial than anything else. While the IMAX cameras helped bring the Hawaiian setting to life, it also amplified its cheapness.
Maybe it was because of the choice of setting but almost everything about this felt cheap and bland. The costumes and set design were lackluster and the special effects and CGI were mediocre. The costumes looked amateur at best and the set design failed to take advantage of the IMAX cameras. The CGI used to bring Attilan to life was poor and the Inhuman powers were lame. The special effects made them lame as did how badly they were shot and edited. IMAX exposed the poor visuals but the terrible writing and direction pretty much ruined everything else.
The lack of an introduction and any character development whatsoever made the characters all come off as thin. The fact that Black Bolt doesn’t talk was incredibly frustrating to watch, forcing him to communicate using a series of gestures and facial expressions. The problem with this was that this failed to convey any emotion or enough discernable information to understand what was going on with him or the story as a whole. This lack of communication when played against other human characters was meant to be comedic, however, it did not work at all. Maximus was not particularly interesting as a character and story-wise, was a discount Loki. Medusa, and the other Inhuman characters that aren’t worth mentioning, were all bland and uninteresting.
The acting wasn’t great either and was mostly a by-product of the terrible writing and direction than anything else. The dialogue was terrible and the performances came off as wooden. Mount was mediocre as Black Bolt with his series of gestures and facial expressions taking away from what was supposed to be an imposing presence and ended up making him more of a caricature. Hopefully, the other characters will improve because this alone cannot carry a series. Swan was okay as Medusa despite the weak story. Rheon phoned it in as Maximus, perhaps channeling a little Ramsay Bolton in his performance, but he was still the most interesting character through the first two episodes.
Being a Marvel property, there was an post-credits scene but it was inconsequential.
Overall, this was a bad start to this new series that should still garner some attention despite being a Marvel property but is nowhere near any of their other television properties by far. It was poorly executed from top to bottom and its use of IMAX became more of a hinderance than a benefit by exposing all the problems with its execution. Maybe it will improve but it may be difficult to inspire enough confidence to stay with it through its six remaining episodes.
*The two episode premiere of Inhumans will air on September 29th, 2017 at 8pm on CTV in Canada and ABC in the United States*