Release Date: 01/09/2017
Cast: Anson Mount (Hell On Wheels) as Black Bolt, Serinda Swan (Ballers) as Queen Medusa, Ken Leung (Lost) as Karnak, Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones) as Maximus, Eme Ikwuakor (Concussion) as Gorgon, Mike Moh (Empire) as Triton, Sonya Balmores (Beyond the Break) as Auran, and Isabelle Cornish (Puberty Blues) as Crystal.
Synopsis: After the Royal Family of Inhumans is splintered by a military coup, they barely escape to Hawaii where their surprising interactions with the lush world and humanity around them may prove to not only save them but Earth itself.
Marvel’s Inhumans, which was originally intended to be a cinematic chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is packed full of wasted potential. From the lazy costume design to the shockingly bad special effects, this series feels and looks like a neglected property, that could have been great.
Kicking things off with the positives, I will say that it’s hard to hate Marvel’s Inhumans. Much like Agents Of SHIELD and Iron Fist, this flawed piece of television is at times undeniably entertaining. Just in the first two episodes, it’s easy to get caught up in the family conflict and understand each of the characters motives. While on the surface Marvel’s Inhumans is packed with poor acting talent, if you look close enough, there are a few great performances to be found. Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones) is easily the best performer in these episodes, bringing an unexpected amount of compassion to Maximus, allowing us to understand and (at times) side with his actions. Anson Mount (Hell On Wheels) does a good enough job as King Black Bolt and conveys the constant control of the character’s ability to perfection. As someone who enjoys the sound of my own voice, I can’t imagine being in Black Bolt’s situation. The rest of the Royal Family, including Serinda Swan as Queen Medusa, Ken Leung as Karnak, Eme Ikwuakor as Gorgon and Isabelle Cornish as Crystal all deliver less than stellar performances. However, there is room for improvement as the series continues. It’s also worth noting that Lockjaw (the teleporting dog) is surprisingly less cheesy and stupid as you might expect.
Regarding the larger storyline, Marvel’s Inhumans introduces the concept of this world and these characters exceptionally well, and for the most part I was on board for the opening of the show, but unfortunately, after the twenty-minute mark the first episode hits the fast-forward button and begins to develop at an unprecedented speed. For me, the show would have benefited from slowing down and taking more time to develop these characters and their backstories before throwing them into a world-shattering situation. We still follow along with the story and (mostly) care about the characters, but with more time and more development, we would be more attached to this world of characters and more willing to follow their actions and motivations. Hopefully, the following episodes will take the necessary time to build these characters and make the audience care.
Looking at the finished product, it’s clear that the biggest issue with Marvel’s Inhumans is the script and the terrible dialogue. Besides Maximus and Black Bolt, each member of the Royal Family is plagued with some of the worst dialogue I’ve heard on television, and where do these characters (who live on the moon) even learn American slang and phrases? This is something that will hopefully improve over the course of the season, but I wouldn’t put money on it. While these first episodes were shot using IMAX cameras, director Roel Reine seems unwilling to take creative risks to give the show a cinematic style. If anything, Marvel’s Inhumans is no better or worse looking than Marvel shows like Agents Of Shield. In fact, I would even argue that the Netflix series have a better handle on cinematography than this “supposedly” cinematic offering. At the end of the day, the IMAX cameras only highlight the cheap aesthetic of the locations and costumes.
Well, it could have been a lot worse. That’s what I found myself thinking as I exited my local IMAX screening for Marvel’s Inhumans. It could have been worse. More than anything, Marvel’s Inhumans feels like a missed opportunity and a waste of what could have been a great series. What was intended to be a groundbreaking offering from Marvel, has ended up being one of the weakest shows they’ve delivered yet. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll find yourself enjoying Marvel’s Inhumans, but it’s hard not to remember the tacky costumes and bland visual style. That being said, fans of the Marvel machine will undoubtedly find something to enjoy and something that keeps them coming back for more.
Check back when the show airs on “actual” television for weekly reviews.