‘Inhumans’ was originally announced as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 3 Slate however an decision was eventually made to turn Inhumans into a 8 episode long TV show with both IMAX and ABC collaborating to create the show with the first 2 episodes set to initially release in IMAX cinemas then with a TV release on ABC 2 weeks afterwards, with the following 6 episodes set to debut on a weekly basis on ABC. The concept of the show was originally praised with most audiences especially since the budget had been said to be one of the largest for a TV show due to IMAX’s involvement alongside the show said to be filming with IMAX cameras.
As months passed by, the cast for the show was officially announced with mostly praise from fans and critics alike with the likes of ‘Game of Thrones’ alum Iwan Rheon and LOST alum Ken Leung being highly praised for their addition to the cast, alongside the cast announcement, ‘Iron Fist’ showrunner, Scott Buck was announced to be the showrunner of ‘Inhumans’. At that time ‘Iron Fist’ was yet to be released so as a result, most people were on board with Scott Buck as showrunner.
However, things began to fall apart when ‘Iron Fist’ was critically panned, with the majority of the blame being placed on Scott Buck, audiences began to fear if Scott Buck would do the same damage to ‘Inhumans’, this spelled the beginning of the ‘Inhumans’ downfall. It wasn’t long until the first look at all of the costumes for the Inhumans was released, where audiences laughed at how horrible they looked, with most of the hate being given to Anson Mount’s Black Bolt not wearing his traditional mask as well as Serina Swan’s Medusa.
The hate continued onwards when the first trailer was eventually leaked before being released officially a few weeks afterward where it was universally hated, with fans and critics alike applauded by the awful special effects and horrible costume design. ‘Inhumans’ then was able to bring back some of its audience with their San Diego Comic Con Trailer receiving mixed reactions from the audience. The final bullet to weaken the ‘Inhumans’ PR campaign was the TCAs event where it was described as very awkward when the Inhumans cast and the crew was discussing the show at the TCAs. With so much bad reception of the show already established, the show has finally released in IMAX cinemas, is it the disappointment that most were expecting?
First of all, I should address that I am a fairly large Inhumans fan so it does come quite saddening for me as to how much of a disappointment this show was to me in so many ways, however, there are a lot of elements in the shows opening that actually surprised and pleased me a lot.
The first thing to discuss is the set design, this is because although it is arguably the worst part of the show, I honestly do not know what happened in the set design department, the way they designed the interiors of Attilan was god awful, dull settings and felt like the characters were just standing in boxes that were just different shades of grey, the shots of the outside of Attilan are slightly better but still continue the trend of being very dull, however when the characters arrive in Hawaii, you really start to appreciate the IMAX cameras being used because Hawaii looks beautiful in these shots and almost all of the time spent in Hawaii is well shot and looks really great.
Secondly, the writing was very ‘dodgy’, it really felt like there was a different writer for every scene, scenes with Iwan Rheon’s Maximus especially were the most jarring, he arguably had some of the best dialogue in the first two episodes however in quite a few scenes he had some awfully poor lines, Ken Leung’s Karnak and Serinda Swan’s Medusa also suffered from these same writing issues however the reason I feel this may not be as big of an issue going forward is due to those first two episodes being completely written by Scott Buck whereas the other 6 episodes are also meant to be written by ‘American Crime Story’ and ‘Black Panther’ writer, Joe Robert Cole so currently the writing is very dodgy but can be easily improved and most likely will.
Moving on to special effects, the effects for the show have been a huge concern since its announcement, however when fully finished, they are actually pretty impressive at times, there are a few scenes scattered throughout these two episodes with some horrible CGI but a lot of CGI is very impressive for a TV show, especially Lockjaw where I must praise the Inhumans VFX team who did an amazing job on making Lockjaw look fantastic throughout the entire first two episodes and from what I can remember, there wasn’t really a scene that Lockjaw’s CGI was sub par, it was always at a top level of quality. For the future 6 episodes, I honestly do not know how the special effects will be treated, but I’m hoping it is sidelined to help the writing grow more as well as the fight scenes because although there weren’t that many fight scenes in this pilot, the ones that were present were quite impressive considering Buck’s mediocre stunt work with ‘Iron Fist’.
I can definitely say that the cast is the highlight of this show, Anson Mount won’t get enough credit for how well he managed to pull off Black Bolt, he creates his own sign language and manages to convey his character well through gestures since obviously he cannot talk, his interactions with both Iwan Rheon’s Maxmius and Serinda Swan’s Medusa are some of the best scenes in the show so far, brilliantly shot and mostly well written, another highlight of the cast is Ken Leung’s Karnak, at the beginning of the show he isn’t the best but by the back half, he’s a brilliant character who is going to have a great arc in the overall show, as well as Ken Leung bringing his all to the role which leaves an impressive performance.
Iwan Rheon’s Maximus will be one of the best villains to ever exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I think no matter what people think of this show, they will all love Iwan Rheon’s performance. He takes quite a lot of queues from the comic version however it’s very much a different character which may normally be an issue but it makes the character so much better. I really do hope Iwan Rheon gets, even more, roles in the future because he can act in so many different ways and is brilliant at every way. As for Serinda Swan, she does an amazing job as Medusa, she is really a powerful female character that many people will enjoy, it’s good to see her continue the trend of strong and powerful women in live action comic book media, and I hope to see that continue throughout the series. Eme Ikwuakor’s Gorgon is pretty good in the back half of the show when he begins to have his own story, as well as Mike Moh as Triton who unfortunately suffers from horrible costume design however Mike Moh makes up for it with a great performance however Isabelle Cornish’s acting as Crystal is very mediocre and leaves a lot to be desired from her performance, I really hope she improves in the upcoming episodes because so far she is weighing the cast down.
As for the pacing and structure of the episodes, the structure is predictable just to play it safe for the show but as for the pacing, it is very slow and in some ways it is quite applauding in the first half, however it improves well in the back half of the show when they get to Hawaii with the exception of some moments where it is very fast cut due to each character doing their own separate story which I won’t spoil but they are mostly just fish out of water situations with the exceptions of Karnak and Gorgon’s situations.
Overall I feel the show either has the potential to grow really well and become an amazing character piece of a show in the next 6 episodes or it will crash and burn badly. This show could have been better, they are so many easy improvements that the creative team could have made to improve the show but we got this. Which if I’m honest, I’m disappointed in many ways by how this show turned out. As I said at the beginning, I am indeed a large Inhumans fan and although the characters are done justice in many scenes, it’s clear the writing isn’t all there and is very dodgy. The pacing of the show doesn’t help either alongside how awful the set design is, but the scattered amazing character scenes as well as the use of IMAX cameras, special effects and action scenes all surprised me by how impressive they were. All of this led to a very mixed bag for the pilot which could lead the show into greatness or could lead it into Scott Buck’s worst nightmare.
In my opinion, the first 2 episodes of Marvel’s INHUMANS shown in IMAX cinemas is a 5.5/10 overall.
Marvel’s INHUMANS is now playing in IMAX cinemas and begins airing on ABC on the 22nd of September.