After watching the broadcast debut of Marvel’s Inhumans, I have to stop and analyze what I just watched and compare it to the reviews that I’ve read. A lot of them tie the show to the drama that has surrounded it, first starting as a planned film before settling into a network TV show. Some have even linked it to the comics, criticizing those instead of the show based on those characters. I’m going to try and address a few things, but keep it limited to what we watched.
Maximus, played by Iwan Rheon, has a point but is going about it in a very duplicitous manner. A lot is made of the fact that he is human, having gained no special abilities from the Terrigen Mists. A lot is also made that he wants to take the Inhumans to Earth, and it has a foothold because Inhuman society seems so inherently unfair. Black Bolt, played by Anson Mount, has so little character development when balanced against his screentime, mostly because he cannot speak. The use of a special sign language in Attilan helps in progressing the story forward, but without it, we rely on facial expressions which seem a little limited.
Medusa is the other character that gets a lot of screentime, and her story takes everything away from her. Her portrayal by Serinda Swan is at its best when she isn’t operating as Queen, and after she has accepted her situation in exile. Crystal isn’t quite given the same seriousness in a story arc, but is portrayed consistently well by Isabelle Cornish. Karnak is played smug by Ken Leung, but when presented with evidence that his abilities are failing him, breaks down in a believable way. Gorgon just doesn’t connect with me, but I understand where the writing is taking it.
As far as character designs go, I like Lockjaw and Karnak the most, but dislike Crystal. I always envisioned her hair pattern as a type of headdress, given how flat it has always been portrayed. Medusa’s hair just doesn’t seem as over the top as it could be. I understand the need for a practical effect, but when the need for that is eliminated, I’m left wondering why all of it wasn’t just CGI.
Where does Inhumans fail? Mostly in the direction, I feel. There are times when a little extra effort could’ve made a world of difference, whether it be in lighting, camera angles, the use of special effects, or getting a little more delivery from an actor. The conventional wisdom is that Inhumans was rushed, and the final product lends credence to those reports. The story and script isn’t horrible, and the acting isn’t entirely bad, but the final product just shows a lack of artistic determination in putting together the best product possible.
Final rating: 5 (out of ten)
Note: I have learned since writing this opinion that there were scenes edited or cut completely, making the broadcast version different from the IMAX version. My comments pertain only to the broadcast version of the episode.