Marvel’s Inhumans was shot with IMAX cameras, so it doesn’t look like a typical pilot blown up to IMAX – with all the small screen inadequacies painfully apparent.
Instead, everything feels the right size, but the CG sets (the city of Attilan on the dark side of the moon) lack weight – which wouldn’t matter so much if the script was better and the acting of widely varied quality.
We meet the Inhumans’ royal family after a brief teaser of Triton (Mike Moh), the amphibious Inhuman, attempting to save a newly transformed Inhuman from human hunters. It does not go well.
In a conference in a viewing room, the family gathers – Black Bolt (Anson Mount), the silent king of the Inhumans; Medusa (Serinda Swan), his wife and queen of the Inhumans; Crystal (Isabelle Cornish), an elemental; Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor), head of the Royal Guard; Karnak (Ken Leung), master tactician, and Maximus (Iwan Rheon), Black Bolt’s brother.
Black Bolt decides to send Gorgon to find out what happened to Triton and heads to his own special meditation room.
While he’s in seclusion, Maximus pulls off a coup and most of the royal family flees to Earth (the Hawaiian island of Oahu, to be exact) with the help of Lockjaw, a 2,000-lb bulldog who can teleport. Unfortunately, while they are all on Oahu, they are not in proximity to each other.
In his attempt to save Crystal, Lockjaw is rendered unconscious and Crystal is locked in her room.
On Oahu, the rest of the royal family begins to try to find each other.
That’s essentially the plot for the 81-minute series premiere in IMAX. We’ve been told that there will be added scenes in the actual televised premiere, but there isn’t a lot they can do to improve the pilot.
Good News/Bad News:
Lockjaw’s teleportation effect is kinda spiffy/if he’s the same character as in the comics, he’s not merely Crystal’s pet; nor is he this dim – he’s an actual Inhuman.
Medusa knows all about cars and buses and, in general, human civilization/Black Bolt, apparently does not.
Medusa’s hair effects look great when there’s a tiny bit of movement required/when she has her first big action sequence, not so much.
Maximus is clearly devious and crafty/his coup takes place way too soon and with not nearly enough backstory.
Much of the Inhumans’ dialogue sounds like it came directly from Stan Lee’s dialogue in the comics/much of the Inhumans’ dialogue sounds like it came directly from Stan Lee’s dialogue in the comics (depending on where that dialogue occurs, it’s either perfect or perfectly awful).
The acting ranges from really good (Anson Mount does a lovely job of capturing Black Bolt’s moments of pain – and his arrogance, really well), or truly awful (Serinda Swan is lovely to look at, and has done good work before, but seems like a first-year high school drama student here).
Ken Leung is pretty good as Karnak, but Eme Ikwuakor is pretty much one-note as Gorgon.
Iwan Rheon is perfect as Black Bolt’s evil brother; Sonya Balmores is a bit too campy as his new head of the Royal Guard.
Series creator Scott Buck’s script is boring – way too much time spent with little to nothing happening and director Roel Reiné does little to make it any better.
When Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered, there were more than a few critics who thought it was less than wonderful. I can’t imagine what they’ll say about Marvel’s Inhumans (well, I can, but I’m Canadian, so I’m far too polite to say what that might be…).
I can say that I finished my drink about 65 minutes in, so I guess size doesn’t really matter.
Final Grade: D