TV Review: 'Marvel's Inhumans'
"Inhumans" was originally slated to be a feature film - part of Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, last November, Marvel announced they would be shifting directions, with an 8-episode "Inhumans" miniseries event set for ABC's Fall 2017 lineup.
In March, Marvel and ABC revealed that they would be debuting 75 minutes of "Inhumans" (the majority of the first two episodes) in IMAX a month before the episodes air (in their entirety) on TV. "Inhumans" becomes the first TV show in history to debut in IMAX, with a limited, two-week run. For diehard Marvel fans, seeing content of a new chapter in the Marvel world a month early, especially in theaters, is pretty cool. It would be an even better experience if the show was top-notch.
"Inhumans" takes place in the city of Attilan, located on the Earth's Moon - invisible to humans. Inhumans are basically another version of the "X-Men" crew for Marvel. They're mutants/outcasts/"different" from everyone else. King Black Bolt and Queen Medusa rule over the city, though we quickly learn that Black Bolt's brother Maximus isn't happy with how Attilan is being run.
"Inhumans" is Marvel's venture into the TV soap opera. We meet the other members of this royal family, all with special quirks and supernatural powers. Things get heated fairly quickly, and soon this gang is fighting, then they become separated from each other, and finally get ready for an impending battle. At the center of it all (sort of) is a giant dog named Lockjaw. He's being used in the majority of the marketing, and an artist rendering of him is on the special IMAX ticket I received for attending the screening.
These first two "Inhumans" episodes were filmed with IMAX cameras, though you can tell that the visuals, editing and scripts come from a TV product, not a film. "Inhumans" doesn't give you that "big screen experience" that Marvel hopes audiences find on both the big and small screen.
The episodes were written by Scott Buck and directed by Roel Reine. "Inhumans" is very explanatory, and it features a lot of slow-motion, though not quite as much action out of the gate as I was expecting. [The majority of it is likely saved for later on in the season.] This is a dysfunctional family relationship drama, with elements of revenge and some "lighter" fare thrown in.
It took a little while for me to get into the psyche of the characters, but by the second episode, when most of the action moves to Hawaii, I began warming-up to Black Bolt, Medusa and the others - even as they were getting involved in somewhat "sci-fi kooky" situations. "Inhumans" definitely starts-out overdramatic, but thankfully it gets more restrained as it progresses, with some genuinely interesting subplots.
Marvel nicely added an "easter egg" after the credits of this presentation (and it's actually one of the better ones from them in a while), along with a brief preview of the rest of the season. "Inhumans" was made specifically for fans of the comic book giant. Though the cast and crew try to make this grounded (and they do somewhat succeed so far), I don't think this will capture the attention of the average viewer, even over a limited number of weeks.
The first two episodes (again: in their entirety) air on ABC Friday September 29th from 8-10pm. The remaining six episodes will air Fridays at 9pm throughout the rest of the Fall. So for Marvel fans who will definitely want to see how "Inhumans" begins (either in IMAX or on TV), here's the big question: Is it worth it to invest in the other six episodes? I wouldn't mind seeing how it all plays out, but "Inhumans" doesn't quite give you the rush of being "Must-Watch TV". I, and others, may end-up just recording the rest of the episodes on the DVR and get to them eventually.