Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review: Marvel's Inhumans

Back in the yestermonth of September, Marvel's Inhumans was released in a special IMAX screening of the first two episodes.  I had low expectations going into the theater and they may have been too high.  Basically zero effort was put into turning the two episodes into a "movie"-like experience; it even had some recap at the beginning of episode 2 (I guess in case we had gotten up to go to the bathroom, or perhaps fallen asleep).  Anyhow, I recently watched the third episode in the hopes that it might improve.

It did not.  Also, spoilers.

The promo art by Jae Lee is awesome though.  I really love his work.

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand.  I'm going to keep watching Inhumans (for now) despite its foibles, but I'mma tell you about all the things that are wrong with it.  Rabble rabble rabble.

It's set in Hawaii - When I say that, know that I bear Hawaii no ill will.  It's just that I expected the most relevant and interesting part of the show's setting to be Attilan.  While they check in with Maximus back in Attilan every once in a while, the majority of the show takes place in Hawaii, and not in a "we shot this show in Hawaii" sense, but in a "we need viewers to know that this is Hawaii" sense.  They miss no opportunities to remind us that we're in Hawaii, making tour buses, statehood controversies, and vacuous statements like "in Hawaii, we look out for one another" critical to the plot.  If I were watching Hawaii 5-0, I would understand, but I wish they were stranded on Earth, not stranded in Hawaii.

Everybody's an idiot - At first I thought the Royal Family were just super-dumb... like, as a theme.  Black Bolt uses a sign language that nobody in his family has ever bothered to learn, while carrying a communicator bracelet he can't use to communicate.  Gorgon (who has hooves) decides to jump into the ocean, but apparently can't swim and ends up just drowning for no good reason.  Karnak falls down a cliff.

The first two episodes left me with the idea that Inhumans were just morons.  But the third episode showed me the truth, all of the other people on this show are dumb too.  In the third episode, the prison warden threw "Black Bolt in with the general population, maybe that'll get him talking" like it wasn't obvious that he was trying to communicate using some kind of sign language.  Then the guards intentionally incited a riot in their own prison.

Mired in boring plotlines - Black Bolt goes to prison.  Karnak gets mixed up in a weed farm.  Are these really the things I came here to see?  It's like they had some deep-seated desire to see super heroes do things that were neither interesting nor super-heroey.  This was sold as being Marvel's answer to Game of Thrones.

I am tempted to compare Inhumans to the Arrow/CWVerse quality wise.  I've been watching all of those shows for years, and I definitely don't think they're good, but they've got heart.  They feel like they want to be good; and when they're bad, it's in the same way that comic books are bad.  Nobody can stay dead, they keep redoing the same plots, characters make obnoxious drama-driving decisions.  But Inhumans feels bad, but like it never actually wanted to be good.  Maybe it was over-produced, maybe they took Marvel's good name for granted, I'm not sure what might have happened to make it this way.

The show is only 3 episodes into its 8 episode run (I'm one episode behind on Yahoo View), and I'll probably watch the rest, but for the first time in MCU history, it's not a guarantee (I've watched everything so far, all the movies, one-shots, and tv series).  So if you're on the fence, don't watch Inhumans, go watch something good like The Gifted (which has been excellent so far), or Gotham, or just wait around until winter and watch Agents of Shield.

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