The next report card is for the premiere episode of the television series Marvel's Inhumans, entitled "Behold...The Inhumans" and "Those Who Would Destroy Us"
Inherently, the Inhumans have always been one of the exemplary things that I'm not the biggest fan of in comics. They're kind of up their own ass, in a way. Everything reminds me of the fantasy genre, where there's tons of reliance upon a caste system, it's all very regal and traditional, and part of the kitsch value is that you're supposed to find it fun that there's a teleporting dog and a guy with hooves.
I've always considered the Inhumans to be a poor man's Mutants, and since Marvel doesn't have the rights to the X-Men franchise, this is their "next best thing" so to speak.
I don't fault them for trying to go this route, and I probably would have tried a very similar thing if I were given the keys to the kingdom, but just because it's Marvel and the majority of what they do is amazing doesn't mean everything is a home run, and this is just boring and cheesy.
As far as this individual pilot goes, the first few minutes of it were really bad with exposition and much of what followed ended up being the same.
I also got no sense that this is in the same universe of the films, nor even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Netflix shows. I guess they just don't give a shit, which is a shame. It isn't like the movies aren't doing a bang-up job of keeping continuity. They're even figuring out ways to do things like retroactively say Peter Parker was the kid in Iron Man 2 while this feels like it's more on par with Legion and what I'm assuming The Gifted will be (which I'm not looking forward to, by the way).
In theory, the idea of a brother becoming treasonous and overthrowing his king to usurp the throne and all that stuff is fine on paper, but it's not the best story for my personal tastes, and all the surrounding material just feels like hokum.
Acting is a simple judgment: they're all pretty bad. That isn't just the main cast, but the extras and supporting roles as well. Everything just feels like the worst examples of CW acting.
Character-wise, we have such bland people in this first episode that I can't even explain much about what their traits are.
Crystal is dumb and hot, I guess? Karnak is the smart guy? Lockjaw is a fucking dog. Louise is the human counterpart and definitely nothing more than a writer's tool they realized they needed for future episodes to have the royal family connect to regular people. Medusa is...uh....something. Gorgon is just the tough guy.
Oddly, Black Bolt is the hero with the most character to him, in my mind, and he's a mute who doesn't even change his facial expressions.
Maximus is definitely the driving force and at least his #2 is hot.
Random note: what's with the rock wall dude who reminds me of Olmec from Legends of the Hidden Temple?
VISUALS (FX, MAKEUP, COSTUMES, SETS): D
Wow does this look fake. It's not the worst thing ever, so I can't give it an F, but it's pretty damn bad.
Attilan is so clearly CGI that it's like the transitioning shots of Gotham, which I've always hated.
Medusa's hair??? Did the same people work on that as the people that did the green screen effects for that one shot in The Defenders with the elevator?
Then there's Lockjaw...
Yeah, this is a fail, especially since they were supposed to be making this an IMAX gorgeous looking thing.
MUSIC & SOUND: C
To be honest, I didn't notice anything other than their use of "Paint It Black", which was interesting, but not as good as how Westworld did it.
TONE & ATMOSPHERE: C
ACTION: Why was everything so slow and choreographed? That was laughable. None of it had me on the edge of my seat. None of it was innovative or even standard for television action.
COMEDY: I didn't laugh once. Not even a chuckle or a smirk.
ROMANCE: So Medusa loves Black Bolt "because" and, well, I guess that's it.
FINAL GRADE: D
I thought there were problems with Iron Man 2. I think Thor: The Dark World is probably the weakest of the Marvel films (check my running ranking here). I was wrong in my prediction that Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man would be problematic, thankfully, as those movies are very fun. I didn't love Agent Carter and there are problems with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that bug me. The Netflix shows have been letting me down (particularly Iron Fist and The Defenders).
However, this is Marvel's first flop. This is genuinely BAD with few, if any redeeming qualities. I hate rooting against something, but I hope this doesn't last past its 8 episode breakdown, as I don't think it deserves to even go past that point just for an experiment.
I've had my fill of the Inhumans in general, but this was an opportunity to make me change my mind and be so good that it would convince me that we needed even more, and instead, it did the opposite. Now, I'm worried that The Runaways and Cloak and Dagger are going to be just as bad and just as unconnected.
I'm not sure which is a worse reasoning for how bad this is: that they might not have put any effort into it because they didn't care and they're resting on the laurels of the MCU's success, thinking they can just hit the snooze button and people will love it, or if they genuinely tried their hardest and it still came out this bad.
If it's the former, well, the critical response proves them wrong. If it's the latter, please don't hire any of these producers, writers and directors to work on anything else in the MCU ever again.