Ahhhh, Inhumans! You’ve had the bumpiest ride to screens both big and small. Originally announced as a feature film, you got canceled by Kevin Feige only to be resurrected for the small screen and IMAX by that Sly Spy The Iron Fist Guy, Scott Buck.
The IMAX presentation was widely panned by most critics, including our own. But how does the TV edit hold up? Have things improved? And does this eight episode series show any promise? Let’s find out…
High from their perch on the moon, the Inhuman city of Attilan stands as a haven for Inhuman kind. Sorta. All is not well in the city, and unrest abounds among the rigid caste structure. Inhuman society is centered around the process of Terrigenesis. Everyone is exposed to terrigen when they come of age: those gifted with powers by the process join the upper caste, while those who are not must work in the mines.
Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and his wife Medusa (Serinda Swan) rule Attilan as King and Queen. By their side sit the royal family: Maximus (Iwan Rheon), the King’s normal human brother, Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor), head of the royal guard, Karnak, (Ken Leung), royal advisor, Crystal (Isabelle Cornish), the Queen’s sister, and family pet/giant teleporting canine, Lockjaw.
The family becomes divided when a lunar rover discovers the city. Gorgon destroys the rover, but not before the operators on Earth photograph his hoof (yeah, that’s a thing). Meanwhile, Black Bolt has secretly been sending an Inhuman named Triton (Mike Moh) to bring new Inhumans to Attilan. This drives a rift between Black Bolt and Maximus, with the latter wishing to relocate the city to Earth and create a new home without the city’s caste structure.
Maximus is easily the best character in the cast. He’s framed as the villain and he commits some frankly disturbing acts, but his end goals are admirable and highlight the weakness of his brother’s rule. Medusa is also great, and Serinda Swan pours a lot into her performance; one of her scenes in particular offer the strongest character moment in the entire episode. Anson Mount’s Black Bolt is also decent, but largely less important than one would expect. There’s a lot going on with this role, but the silent performance keeps his character more subtle than active.
The rest of the cast is kind of a wash. Gorgon is great, but I’m still unsure what Karnak’s powers are. Infinite probability? Psychic insight? It’s unclear, and I hope the series elaborates in the future. Crystal is fine, but this episode doesn’t give us much of her character.
The overall story could also use more pep; a lot of things had to be toned down for a TV budget and you can feel it. After a while, the constant backdrop of gray walls starts to feel tired and bland.
All told, Inhumans is far from the terrible disaster I expected it to be. It shows potential, and if the series buckles down on character development and delivers something compelling, it could be worth all the fuss and frustration. We’ll soon see.
Marvel’s Inhumans airs Fridays at 9|8 central on ABC.
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