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TV Review: Marvel's Inhumans (in IMAX)

SYNOPSIS: Marvel’s Inhumans explores the never-before-told epic adventure of the Royal Family of Inhumans including Black Bolt, the enigmatic, commanding King of the Inhumans, with a voice so powerful that the slightest whisper can destroy a city. 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.

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REVIEW: Marvel has done a lot of unique things with their Cinematic Universe, most of which have happened on the big screen. On television, Marvel has had a mixed bag of offerings with Netflix so far exceeding anything on network television. After the moderate success of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the short-lived Agent Carter, ABC and Marvel attempt to bring what was once poised to be a major motion picture to the small screen as an event series. Produced in partnership with IMAX, Marvel's Inhumans begins a two week run on the large screen format to try and build buzz for the eight episode first season of the show which debuts on September 29th. The results are incredibly lackluster, especially for such a high profile new network television series. Even the use of IMAX cannot overcome what is easily the worst new Marvel property since Iron Fist. The fact that Inhumans comes from Iron Fist showrunner Scott Buck should come as a surprise to no one.

The IMAX presentation of Inhumans runs at just under 80 minutes and combines the first two episodes of the eight episode season of the show. Comprising a quarter of the show's entire run does not bode well for the rest of the season as you can easily summarize the first hours in this way: the Inhumans reside in a hidden city on the Moon and are led by Black Bolt (Anson Mount) who does not speak. Much like the Inhumans featured on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., these beings only receive their powers after being exposed to Terrigen crystals. Black Bolt's brother, Maximus (Game of Thrones' Iwan Rheon) is one of the few Inhumans who did not get powers from Terrigenesis and is looked down upon. Maximus decides to stage a coup and declares himself king. Promising the people of Attilan that they will return to Earth and claim it for their own, Crystal has Lockjaw send the Royal Family to Hawaii. They then need to reunite to return to depose Maximus and bring peace to Attilan.

But for the duration of the first two episodes, the characters just walk around. If you thought THE LORD OF THE RINGS films were just people walking, you have seen nothing yet. Medusa (Serinda Swan), whose terrible red wig only lasts for about half an hour and results in the most overly dramatic haircut in movie history, rides a bus to try and find Black Bolt. Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor) tries to find his fallen cousin Triton and ends up threatening Maximus and spends the rest of the time hanging with some surfers on the beach, waiting to fight. Karnak (Ken Leung), who actually has a cool fight scene, ends up banging his head and literally walks in circles for the rest of the episodes. Black Bolt himself ends up in downtown Honolulu and makes confused faces at cell phones and traffic before getting arrested and put in jail. The plot just doesn't go anywhere and the camera spends more time lingering on wide landscape shots of the beautiful sights in Hawaii but that is about it. The use of IMAX is an incredibly waste here as it does nothing to advance the story and actually makes the cheap sets of Attilan look even lower budget than they would on a standard size television screen.

What bothered me most about Inhumans was the clear lack of logic or continuity. As a part of the formal Marvel Cinematic Universe, there is not a single connection to any of the feature films, let alone Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which heavily leans on the Inhumans plot device. There are a couple of characters who recognize what Inhumans are, which is barely a passing reference to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but that is about it. While Lockjaw looks pretty good, the rest of the special effects and make-up look embarassingly cheap. There is even a credited role to Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel, TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION) that barely lasts two minutes. Will she return in later episodes? Possibly, but her disappearance early in the first episode at the hands of some guerilla assassins is unexplained in any sort of way.

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But that barely scratches the surface of how confounding this show is. Here is a key example: Black Bolt is shocked when he first lands on Earth and someone takes his photo with a cell phone. He appears confused by the technology despite the fact we see news broadcasts being monitored by the Inhumans. We even see Crystal holding a photo on a tablet-like device and the Royal Family all use communication devices that look just like smartphones. Black Bolt also appears confused by cars and modern conveyances but in her second scene on Earth, Medusa tells Bolt that she recognizes the sound of cars and traffic. I get that they may want to use the fish out of water approach for these alien beings coming to Earth, but it is not executed consistently at all. 

Marvel's Inhumans is a complete and total mess and could spell doom for any further projects in the MCU on network television going forward. With the amount of money invested in this series, we will definitely get to see all eight episodes but I would be absolutely shocked if they picked it up for a second season. Unless the show makes a major shake-up after these first two episodes, I wouldn't waste your time watching it. As for the IMAX presentation, you can save your money and wait the month to see it when it debuts on ABC. There is a clear reason why Marvel Studios has fared so well on the big screen and it just has not translated well to their network offerings. It also was a terrible decision to bring anyone involved with Iron Fist on board this much higher budgeted endeavor. There was a story worth telling via the Inhumans but this is definitely not it.

Marvel's Inhumans premieres September 29th on ABC.

Source: JoBlo.com

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