Behold… The Inhumans
Those Who Would Destroy Us
Divide And Conquer
Make Way For… Medusa
Something Inhuman This Way Comes…
The Gentleman’s Name Is Gorgon
Havoc In The Hidden Land
…And Finally: Black Bolt
Its hard to know where to start with Marvel’s Inhumans. To say it gets off to a poor start is an understatement. Although it does improve and find its feet somewhat after a disastrous first half of the season, it all feels too little too late for this superhero drama. Its really hard to find many redeeming features here that haven’t been done better elsewhere and the issues inherent with Inhumans plague almost every aspect of the production. Awkward acting, poorly implemented CGI and basic, choreographed action scenes do a lacklustre job of hiding the plot issues and only accentuate the problems inherent with the show.
The story begins with an isolated community of superhumans living on the Earth’s moon. When an incident occurs that threatens the superhumans to be discovered, tensions arise between the Royal Family ruling the city as they discuss the best way to deal with the situation. Maximus (Iwan Rheon) demands the group take action and meet the humans head on and stop living in fear. The rest of the group, led by King Black Bolt (Anson Mount) decide this isn’t a good idea and shun Maximus for even suggesting it. As tensions grow and the Family are distracted with the issues facing the city following this incident, Maximus seizes the opportunity, taking control of the city himself and forcing the Royal Family into exile. With the scattered remnants of the family in Hawaii on Earth, the superhumans must try and find one another and take on Maximus to regain control of the city. On paper, the plot isn’t actually that bad but the execution is sloppy at best and is partly to blame for the show’s awful start.
The opening half hour or so of any TV show or film is crucial for filling in vital information, directly or indirectly, to introduce the characters, setting, world and plot and make the audience care about what’s happening. Inhumans defiantly decides to go against this, failing to introduce any of the characters and show us any sort of glimpse into their lives or the world. Beyond jumping between different locations on Earth and the Moon, there’s no indication as to the year or time period any of this is set in. As the series progresses, the episodes do explore each of the characters a little more deeply and a subplot involving a wounded Lockjaw does an okay job at slowing the pace to allow this to flow naturally but again, this is work that should have been done in the pilot not five episodes later.
There’s certainly potential here for a decent inclusion into the Marvel universe, especially given the way Inhumans manages to at least attempt to right the sinking ship late on but the lackadaisical way everything is presented makes for a really hard watch at times. Even the technical elements of the show suffer with a production that feels really cheaply made. An overuse of slow motion during action scenes and very basic choreography do a poor job of disguising the acting that feels wooden far too often. There’s nothing inherently artistic with the way the camera movement is presented either and it just makes for a disappointing watch. Its all by the numbers and makes the whole experience more passive than it should be.
Whilst this might sound harsh to nitpick in this way, the bar has been set for Marvel TV shows, especially when you compare this to Daredevil and even The Defenders, and as Inhumans bears the Marvel logo it must be rated in much the same way. Inhumans not only misses the bar, it misses it so spectacularly that its not even on a “so-bad-its-good” level, its just plain bad and there are moments of indifference and boredom, even late on in the series, that are hard to shake. In fairness, Inhumans does improve as the series reaches its conclusion and the final episode in particular does do a pretty good job of closing out most of the plot and characters but it comes at the extent of a disastrous first half of the season.
Its hard to recommend Imhumans to anyone. The acting and script work is poor and the lack of characterisation and a terrible first half of the season make this a tough sell even to the most patient of TV watchers. The series does improve as it reaches the end though but how many people will be willing to stick it out until then is unknown. There’s certainly potential but Inhumans squanders any of it early on and barely looks to revive any hope it had going for it until far too late into the show. If this superhero drama is renewed for a second season then perhaps a tighter script and better production might make this up to par with the other Marvel shows, but acknowledging that this is not only the worst Marvel show but also arguably 2017’s worst too, makes Inhumans a bitter pill to swallow.