Marvel's Inhuman finally debuted with its two-episode two-hour premiere that first screened in IMAX theaters earlier in the month, but featured additional content tonight on ABC. The series marks Marvel TV's first attempt at following in Marvel Studios' footsteps in adapting comic book source material for the big screen by partnering with IMAX, who apparently paid for most the of cost of production.
Due to the promotion behind the series, which included questionable artwork and trailers, in addition to early screenings and reviews, Marvel's Inhumans from the start was pretty much deemed a failure and written off by most Marvel fans everywhere (including yours truly). While what we did get tonight was indeed a train wreck, the good news is that it is at least one that is salvageable.
My thoughts on Marvel's Inhumans is that it wasn't all that bad. I actually didn't mind what I saw tonight in part, and I am looking forward to the remaining episodes. It's possible that due to the poor marketing and reviews (4% on Rotten Tomatoes) that I was expecting Marvel's Inhumans to be a lot worse than what it was, so I actually ended up liking some of it.
Marvel's Inhumans was plagued by two issues mainly, which is really crappy writing and an even worse budget. Now on to my thoughts.
The overall hook of the story I did enjoy, which is the Inhumans struggling with issues facing their own expansion while at the same time that of Earth's and their humans. Attilan is overcrowded and filled with citizens forced to take part in an unfair caste system. The Earth is expanding and about to discover the Inhumans' secret city on the moon and is also dealing with an Inhuman problem of their own, which is just touched upon in the TV series and is more or less a reference to Agents of SHIELD. The Inhumans also face their own internal struggle of how to go about leading their people in to the new world: faced with taking Black Bolt's route of keeping themselves hidden and at bay, perhaps discovered eventually at the mercy of the humans, or going the route of Maximus and going on the offensive. Now that can make for some good TV.
I felt the acting is good enough; Ken Leung, Eme Ikwuakor and of course Game of Thrones' Iwan Rheon are standouts. I found myself laughing at watching Anson Mount's reactions at trying to convey responses through facial gestures and body language, which I really didn't mind and found myself looking forward to (what's BB going to do next?). No complaints with Lockjaw, who actually looked pretty good, so we can assume most of the special effects budget was spent on him. Serinda Swan is a fine actress (I was actually watching episodes of Ballers prior to tonight's Inhumans where you get to see more of her). Isabelle Cornish as Crystal portrayed the young and naive princess to the tee. All good there.
Couldn't they have come up with something better to negate the powers of Medusa than literally taking a clipper and shaving her head? It just screamed that it was obvious they had no special effects budget for Medusa's hair, which should have been a part of some epic moments, so some brainiac came up with the idea to shave her head. Really? That's just awful. I thought Medusa's hair was supposed to be as strong as steel? But then they use a pair of clippers? Whoever came up with the idea should have nothing to do with this series ever again. Similar to the promotional artwork, Medusa's hair looked awful and was an epic disaster.
I have to give credit to Serinda Swan as she really did shave her head. It was unneeded, though. Sorry for that, Serinda.
Karnak on Earth
What in the heck happened to Karnak while on Earth? He starts to climb down the side of the mountain and then falls? Huh? He then uses his powers in an attempt to find Black Bolt, and then apparently goes in a circle and ends up right where he started? Huh? Even Karnak says to himself that he doesn't know what is going on. WTF?
Gorgon's hooves and Gorgon on Earth
Gorgon's hooves and legs looked AWFUL. I have an idea, instead of showing Gorgon's hooves and legs a bunch of times, just show them once and make them look good--and then don't show them again! This just screams the show has ZERO budget.
Similar to Karnak, another WTF moment: Gorgon is looking for Triton, so since Gorgon can't swim, Gorgon jumps into the ocean to find Triton--and then Hawaiian surfers find him and save him. Huh? Then the Surfers befriend him and are willing to fight to the death with him. Huh???!
Who spray painted Crystal's hair? Seriously, it looked as if someone cut out a template, went to the auto store and purchased a can of spray paint, and spray painted her hair with those black designs. I've seen better artwork spray painted on the local railcars.
Black Bolt on Earth
Once on Earth, Black Bolt has no idea what is going on? He doesn't know what a car is, he doesn't know what clothes are? He doesn't know what money is. Funny thing, because when he talks to Medusa, she comments on hearing the TRAFFIC! Hello! We already know they are keeping tabs on the Earth, so how come Black Bolt has no clue about Earth culture? Black Bolt seemed less of a king and more of a jester!
I'm not quite sure who to place the blame on for the low budget and crappy story: IMAX or Marvel TV.
If indeed IMAX footed most of the bill in the hopes that this could lead to something similar down the line - filling in the gap when it's a slow season at the movies - their gamble may have failed miserably. I'm guessing that IMAX made the big mistake of footing the bill in the hopes that Marvel TV could provide--but provide Marvel TV could not!
IMAX is probably quickly learning that Marvel TV is not Marvel Studios, and that Marvel TV obviously couldn't provide a great script.
I think the problem lies with Marvel TV in that, similar to the comics, they believe the fans owe them and not vice versa. I see this all the time with the comics, that the people that run the comics make the false assumption that just because it's "Marvel" that the fans will AND should support it. Interestingly enough, that is the same mistake head of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb made particularly with Nova, and it failed miserably. It's also one of the current assumptions made by Loeb's buddies at Marvel Comics, which is leading to their downfall (that's for a different article). And guess what? The Marvel TV and Comics people are the same--therein lies the problem! Fans don't owe Marvel anything, Marvel owes the fans!
Even with a low budget, Marvel's Inhumans could have been decent enough. It's things like the aforementioned "bad" that ruin the series. I have to question anybody that is involved in a capacity that makes decisions of how they could let some of this stuff happen, when it's just THAT bad. How could you not know that?? It's really inexcusable. Marvel TV has been suffering as of late with Inhumans, Iron Fist and Defenders. Disney and Bob Iger needs to take a look, get involved and make a change.
That said, Inhumans could still be saved. The acting is fine, the characters are interesting, the story can be worked out--it's just they need to tweak the really dumb decisions that are coming from somewhere at the top. Or for that matter, the lack of decisions.