REVIEW: One Word Sums Up ‘Marvel’s Inhumans’: Ugh!
Contrary to what you may believe, it really doesn’t take much for me to be happy with a film or television show. Just give me appealing, relatable characters, good writing (especially the dialogue) and a plot that keeps me invested and interested. That’s really not that much.
So how, given even that low bar, did “Marvel’s Inhumans” manage to fail so miserably?
“Inhumans” is based on the Marvel Comics race of characters first introduced in the pages of the “Fantastic Four” during the mid 1960’s. The show centers on Black Bolt (Anson Mount), king of the Inhumans. He and his family are betrayed when his brother, Maximus (Iwan Rheon), decides to start a coup and move the Inhuman city of Attilan to Earth, where they’ll have more space and resources at their disposal.
This strands Black Bolt and the rest of the royal family on Earth, where they have to deal with Maximus’s attempts to put them on ice, as well as make their way through the world of the Earthlings. Black Bolt ends up in jail, with his queen, Medusa (Serinda Swan) struggling to find him. Meanwhile, heavy-hooved Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor) and tattoo-faced Karnak (Ken Leung) get into trouble of their own in the Hawaiian jungle. Meanwhile, Maximus plots and Crystal (Isabelle Cornish) tries to break herself and her beloved teleporting dog, Lockjaw, out of Attilan. And it’s just as big a mess as it sounds.
But “Inhumans” isn’t completely devoid of positives. Let’s talk about what the show does right:
The king of the Inhumans is the most likable character in the show, mainly because Mount is able to give him a personality and some expressiveness. And he does this without the benefit of speaking. After all, if Black Bolt speaks, everything could be wiped out.
The computer graphics work in this giant pup may not be the most convincing, but Lockjaw has more personality than most of the other characters in this show. And how can you not love a giant bulldog that teleports?
Did you get all that? Because, now it really goes downhill.
Let’s start with the biggest flaw in “Inhumans”: the horrifically awful writing.
The writing infects almost every facet of this show, from the characters and acting to the lame plotlines. None of the characters, except Black Bolt and Maximus, get much development. We don’t really know who they are or what they are all about, so we don’t care much when bad things start happening to them.
He is the show’s resident shady little weasel. While we get flashbacks to he and Black Bolt’s childhood’s to give those characters some context, they never give him any depth. Maximus motivation is actually noble, but he’s so poorly written (and acted), he just comes off as the usual slimy bad guy.
The writing hurts the story, too. “Inhumans” gives us the tired old “jealous sibling steals brothers rightful throne. How very Commodus from “Gladiator” of him. Heck, didn’t Loki try this stuff on Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies? It’s a tired plot device, and it feels tired to death here.
The acting doesn’t help much, either. Rheon’s portrayal of Maximus is so one-note that any possible chance to relate to his cause goes out the window. Swan, Leung and Ikwuakor give similar dull, wooden performances. Cornish’s Crystal is so vacuous, it recalls Alicia Silverstone in “Batman and Robin”. You remember that movie? Ugh.
That’s actually the best word to describe “Marvel’s Inhumans”: Ugh. That describes so much about this show that I don’t have time to go into. The visual look of the show. The direction. The action choreography. It’s all painful, but the thing that hurts the most is knowing that there was once an Inhumans movie planned to be part of the MCU, but it got dropped and we got this instead. And you know Marvel Studios would have made something cool out of Inhumans. I mean, look what they did with “Guardians of the Galaxy.” These characters that have decades worth of history and so much potential have been reduced to a bad mashup of the X-Men and “Game of Thrones”. What a waste.