‘The First Chapter’
*Mild Spoilers Ahead*
Many of you may wish that Marvel kept this as a movie in the original MCU line-up, and in a way I will agree with you. It was a bold move for Marvel to develop this as a series following the success of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the way they handled the Inhuman characters that came from there, and this does succeed in many ways. Also, before anyone says it, yes we got Scott Buck behind the show. I liked Iron Fist, but I am not here to win you over on that series.
We start on earth where a newly “awoken” Inhuman has been exposed to the Terrigen mist, she is trying to escape a strike team who goes after her. This is where we meet Triton, who is sadly given minimal screen time. We then move to the moon and find ourselves in the city of Attilan, giving us our first introduction to King Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and Queen Medusa (Serinda Swan) as they are embraced in her magical locks of fire-red hair.
The Royal Family are all loyal to Black Bolt and obey his law, except for his brother Maximus. Where Black Bolt is seen as a good king and a protector of their world, Maximus has had enough of living in secret and believes the Inhumans should go to Earth. Maximus barely takes his brother’s side to begin with, but he finds himself taking charge after being given a glimpse into the future. Taking over the Attilan army, the brother of the king takes control of the city and is only stopped from destroying the Royal Family thanks to teleporting dog, Lockjaw!
While the show may not be too heavy on spectacle, the earth-set scenes are shot beautifully. The opening sequence with Triton on Hawaii is well executed and even the scenes of Black Bolt and Maximus conversing with each other is a must see. Also, for a protagonist who doesn’t mutter a single word, Black Bolt is indeed a unique MCU character and one who may carry more power than we actually know. Also there is some mystery built up about a shared past between the powerless Maximus and hair-wielding beauty Medusa which I am sure will develop over the series.
We know that this show is still part of the MCU, even though many will think it is just merely cast aside from what could have been a fantastic movie. As for a start to a TV show, there is good and bad points. While the premiere episodes leave something missing, they do bring some great set pieces and make a push on the storytelling front to some success. Without giving too much away, you will almost want to be on Maximus’s side when you see what finally pushes him to take over.
Special effects aren’t greatly used in these episodes, they weren’t really vital for what we have seen so far. The costumes are in some ways faithful to the book (Black Bolt looks cool and some of the concepts on the female cast members work well), in other ways they look tacky and cheap. Marvel TV needs to take tips from the Netflix costume department and throw in some threads that pop on screen. Make up isn’t a massive issue, though I would expect more people to look less human than what we see on screen. Anyone wondering about Medusa’s hair, I will just say that it does get its uses. The writing isn’t too strong for cast members outside the central trio, but efforts are made on the rest of the Inhumans and I hope they get more exciting material later in the series.
Then, as it should be obvious, we have our cast. First off, Anson Mount is superb as the king of Attilan, pulling so many emotions and saying an array of words without saying a thing. Serinda Swan is sexy and dangerous as Medusa, pulling no punches with that snake-like hair. Iwan Rheon has proved he can be Number 1 bastard before when he played Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones, where he is a whole different beast who honestly thinks he is doing the right thing. Some of the cast do get seemingly short changed with little to do, and I only hope that changes as the show goes on. One last cast mention is Ken Leung as Karnak. Karnak may not be front and centre like the other three mentioned, but he does get some great lines and provides a few decent laughs.
Finally, I liked these two episodes. The 75 minutes in the IMAX screen does swiftly pass by, making me wonder if £15 of my hard-earned cash was worth the investment into the Inhuman Royal Family. There are problems in the writing, the costumes and with some of the characters. But, as I said, I hope this changes along the way. Inhumans is a property that could get a good few years of life and finally bring the Marvel Cinematic Universe together to blur the TV and Film realms. I would say if you are an MCU fanatic, IMAX may be worth it for seeing the opening two-parter. Don’t expect anything too spectacular on the big screen, save it for TV if you are more curious than dedicated.
Final rating: 7/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove
P.S. Lockjaw is quite cool and I am sure a toy of him is currently in development!
You can see Inhumans from Friday 29th September on ABC in the United States and in the UK later in 2017 with a broadcaster yet to be confirmed.