The first reviews are in for Inhumans, which sees the strange, superpowered Inhuman royal family go on the run in the wake of a military coup. And the verdict is clear: it’s one of Marvel’s worst offerings to date.
Digital Spy’s Morgan Jeffery writes that it’s a shame some people seem to want the show to fail, but Inhumans doesn’t have any chance of changing their opinion of the series.
At this stage, it feels as though some are almost willing the show to fail, which is unfair. But, ultimately, the hard truth is that if you were hoping for Inhumans to defy expectations and prove the haters wrong, then you’re going to come away disappointed.
David Pepose from Newsarama came down on the show for forcing actors who should have been solid choices into roles that don’t make use of their abilities.
Much of this comes from normally talented actors being shoehorned into some very awkward roles. Anson Mount, the usually terrific Hell on Wheels alum, loses every weapon he has to emote in the thankless role of the silent king Black Bolt, as he’s locked into a perpetual wide-eyed frown that feels half-deer in headlights, half-Mister Bean. It’s a shame, because Mount has done his homework in trying to create a series of gestures for Bolt to communicate with, but it either comes across as redundant when other characters translate for him, or doesn’t quite have the comedic punch when he’s inevitably cast out to Earth on his own.
Pepose adds that “with the show’s foundations this shaky, the rest of the cast doesn’t fare much better.”
Critics cited the Inhumans’ showrunner, Scott Buck, who was also showrunner of Iron Fist’s first season, as one of the reasons the series didn’t work out. As IGN’s Joshua Yehl explains:
Showrunner Scott Buck’s previous Marvel credit was Netflix’s Iron Fist, which speaks volumes as to why Inhumans is just as misguided in its approach and execution. Yes, the source material for Inhumans involves a lot of out-there characters and concepts, but ever since Guardians of the Galaxy knocked it out of the park with a talking a raccoon and his tree friend, that can no longer be used as an excuse for why an adaptation didn’t turn out well. It’s clear the show was influenced by the classic Inhumans comic by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee, but the dark, complex and gripping elements that made it great are nowhere to be seen. Even the lighter, more modern Inhumans comics of the past few years feel like they were flipped through without taking the time to truly understand their appeal.
Yehl later clarifies that it’s not Inhumans taking some creative liberties with its source material that makes it a poor series.
But let me be clear: Inhumans isn’t bad because it’s not a loyal adaptation of the comics. Inhumans is bad because it’s a slog to get through.
Despite all of Inhumans’ faults, though, critics seem to agree that there is one bright spot to the series. Fandom’s Kim Taylor-Foster writes that:
The show’s main saving grace is Lockjaw. A giant teleporting bulldog, he’s adorable – and is on more than a couple of occasions the source of trouble for the characters, teleporting them into situations it’s challenging to get out of.
However, even that wasn’t enough to bump the series premiere into “passable” territory. Taylor-Foster still ended up giving the series a 1 out of 5.
The one, slightly more favorable take on the series so far came from io9’s Charles Pulliam-Moore, who thought the series was doing something “interesting,” but it’s shift from film to TV series was apparent, even on the IMAX screen.
To be clear, if you go to see Inhumans in this weekend, it will dawn on you at some point that you are in a movie theater watching a television show that was supposed to be a movie and will also be airing on television in a couple of weeks. That realization will confuse you, perhaps make you chuckle to yourself, and probably make you wonder whether your money would have been better spent elsewhere.
Inhumans is neither good nor bad. Rather, it’s in a perpetual state of existential flux that is impossible not to recognize.
Consensus on Inhumans is that it’s just as bad as you expected it to be, if not just a little bit worse. If you’re still interested in checking it out, here’s a reminder of what you’re in for:
Inhumans premieres on IMAX screens on Friday, September 1. It will have a limited theatrical run of two weeks, after which the series will have its TV debut on ABC on September 29.