Marvel’s Inhumans has had an interesting journey over the last number of years. First, there was a big push for them in the comics. We slowly started to see Marvel try to make them more prominent than the X-Men. The current Chairman and former CEO of Marvel, Ike Perlmutter, was to thank for this as it was his way of trying to sabotage the X-Men film franchise that is currently in the hands of 20th Century Fox. Following this was the announcement of an Inhumans movie that was initially scheduled to be released in 2019. Not long after Perlmutter was removed from having any power with regard to the film side of Marvel Studios, Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige, removed the film from the release schedule.
Perlmutter still had control over the TV side of Marvel, which would mean that the Inhumans were still a strong possibility. Then, on November 16th 2016, it was announced that ABC, Marvel, and IMAX would be collaborating for a new TV series based on the Inhumans comic books. The first two episodes were said to be filmed entirely in IMAX, with their world premiere coming exclusively on IMAX screens. The show itself was set for a September 2017 release, a mere 10 months after the announcement. After all of that history and build up to this television IMAX event, what we got amounts to the equivalent of being slapped in the face every 10 seconds for an hour and a half.
These two episodes are loaded to the absolute brim with problems. The first of these many problems is the poor use of the IMAX format. In fact, it is puzzling why they used IMAX in the first place. There is nothing in the show that warrants the use of the incredible scope that IMAX cameras can provide. If anything, seeing this on an IMAX screen just highlighted the poor special effects further. The money that was spent on the IMAX cameras could have easily been applied to more important things to make the show stand out. Quality set design springs to mind immediately.
While poor use of IMAX is annoying, that frustration doesn’t even compare with my issues with the poorly written characters and their awfully developed motivations. The show centers on the Royal Family of the Inhumans (Black Bolt, Medusa, Maximus, Crystal, Gorgon and Karnak). To understand the flaws in five of these six characters, you need to know a few things. Black Bolt and Medusa are King and Queen of the Attilan, a city hidden on the moon. Attilan is mostly concrete city that is filled with Inhumans, but devoid of entertainment. Living in Attlian means you are simply a worker in the mines because you have less than desirable powers or, if you have better powers, you are servant of the Royal Family. Following me so far? The last vital piece of information about the Royal Family and their society is that they want to keep their existence hidden from people on Earth as they believe the world would respond poorly to their existence and would cause a war that would result in casualties on both sides.
Here’s the problem: that line of thought makes the Inhumans, and specifically the majority of the Royal Family, idiots. The Royal Family keeps tabs on the state of the Earth via video. They view multiple natural disasters and acts of war. It would be safe to assume that they noticed that an army of aliens came down and tried to destroy an entire city and that a group of super powered beings like themselves opposed this threat. At that point, you would think that they would say: “Oh, I guess we’re not that crazy of a thing for the world to accept. Let’s just go there and live among them peacefully” But, instead, the majority of the Royal Family are a bunch of paranoid lunatics who would rather keep living on the moon and uphold their oppressive society.
Speaking of their oppressive society, the Royal Family supports it extensively. Black Bolt and Medusa love their oppressive society that is largely built upon slavery. No matter which way you cut it, unless you are a part of the Royal Family you become a slave. Now, of course, there are two different levels of slavery in Attilan. There is the royal servant level for those with powers that Black Bolt and Medusa deem important. Then, there are the people who have powers they think aren’t fit to serve them in any effective manner.
Their way of deciding what power is worthy of which brand of slavery doesn’t really seem to be very effective. In the series we are shown two Inhumans gain their powers is a sacred ceremony (in this specific case, they are a brother and sister). The sister gets to directly serve the Royal Family because she gets wings. The Royal Family practically foams at the mouth over this ability. Then, the brother doesn’t feel any effects of gaining powers. Maximus explains that this is normal as he consoles the brother. While Maximus is in physical contact with the brother, the brother appears to have a seizure. Once he recovers (immediately, as people with seizures do) he tells Maximus he saw him against a wall surrounded by snakes. Later in the show, he comes to the “shocking” revelation that his actual powers are that he can see the future. The Royal Family didn’t explore this possibility, however. They just made him a miner straight away so he could live out the rest of his miserable life.
Our protagonists up to this point are pretty unlikable as well. They seem pretty into themselves and also are actively pro slavery. Except for our antagonist, Maximus, who challenges his brother (the King) on why they lead such an oppressive society. Black Bolt, and the rest of the Royal Family, don’t support this nonsense and are appalled he would even suggest such things. From this point, the villainous Maximus decides to remove the Royal Family from the city and become the new King of Attilan where he intends to let people live their lives freely and wants to work towards moving off of the moon and integrating their society with Earth’s. At this point, you’re looking for anything that shows Maximus having some other hidden evil plan but there is no inclination that he has anything to gain other than freeing his people from the oppressive lives they have always known. There is one heavy handed scene where they try to make Maximus seem like he’s evil but, honestly, compared to the protagonists his villainy is pretty minimal.
At the end of this show, I was absolutely baffled that Marvel produced a series where our protagonists (the people we are supposed to like and root for) are pro slavery. It’s incredibly bizarre. I have no intention of continuing with this awful series because, outside of it’s deeply flawed characters, there are many other problems as well. The acting is horrific, the writing is laughable at best, and it makes far too many logic jumps. This is by far the worst thing Marvel has produced. That’s saying a lot considering what was saw in Iron Fist earlier this year. There is nothing redeeming about this show. I implore you to never watch this series. It isn’t worth your time or money. It’s worth less than nothing.