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'Inhumans' is Inadequate
September 29, 2017  | By David Hinckley
 

If you’re having trouble keeping up with the blizzard of Marvel TV shows, Inhumans is one you could skip.

Truth is, the TV premiere of Inhumans at 8 p.m. ET Friday on ABC is a little anticlimactic anyhow since it was released earlier this month as an Imax movie.

If the special effects weren’t spectacular on an Imax screen, which they weren’t, shrinking them down to TV screen size doesn’t improve matters.

The bigger problem with Inhumans, though, is that the story and the characters are less than gripping.

Okay, you could argue that the 900-pound bulldog Lockjaw is pretty compelling, and you’d be right. But Inhumans is a live-action show, so a CGI component like Lockjaw doesn’t get enough screen time to rescue the people around him.

Somewhat frustratingly, Inhumans starts with an interesting, multi-level premise.

The Inhumans are a highly evolved race that inhabits the colony of Attilan. If you can’t find that on your GPS, it might be because it’s on the moon, where humans can’t see it.

If humans knew it was there, the Inhumans reason, humans would try to destroy it, because that’s what humans do.

Hard to argue that point, when you think about it.

As they mature, Inhumans submit to terrigenesis analysis, which tells them their destiny. Some become human butterflies, some become rulers. Others become, well, nothing much, and will spend their lives in the mines, which is as unfulfilling as it sounds.

As we join the story, the king and queen of Attilan are Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and Medusa (Serinda Swan). Black Bolt also has a brother, Maximus (Iwan Rheon), who lost his inhuman gene during terrigenesis and would be down in the mines himself if he weren’t the brother of the king.

Maximus isn’t especially grateful for this. He’s resentful. He wants to know why his brother gets to be king, and he resolves to do something about it, like a fraternal palace revolt.

It’s a classic setup for the good king being forced to defend his throne against the jealous, conniving younger brother, and that’s sort of what seems to be happening.

Except.

 

Except Medusa, while we like her, has a bit of a superiority complex. She looks down on humans as an inferior race.

 

And Maximus, while he is conniving and jealous, does seem to have more empathy for all those mine workers than does his brother.

In that spirit, Maximus tries to rally them to back his plan for attacking and subduing humans on Earth, opening up all the riches of that planet for Inhumans to enjoy.

Liberator or rabble-rouser? A question for our times, eh, mate?

So there are some potentially interesting grey areas here. They just aren’t painted very well. Despite the best efforts of Swan, in particular, Inhumans at times just feels like basic clumsy sci-fi.

Being a Marvel production, it does have humor, particularly from Black Bolt’s cousin Karnak (Ken Leung) and his Royal Guard leader Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor).

It also has a fair maiden and a lot of scenes where Inhumans travel to distant places and undergo culture shock as they encounter different customs.

Oh yes, and most of the Inhumans have superpowers.

It should add up to something lively and fun, and there are moments when it gets there. But unless you’re a Marvel completist, Inhumans is inessential.

 
 
 
 
 
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