By: Hawk Ripjaw (a lot of beers) –
I have done a very foolish thing.
Inhumans started as a planned MCU film to be released next year. But before production really got into full swing, Marvel unceremoniously downgraded the film to an ABC series. Somehow, deals got renegotiated and the first couple of episodes got shot with IMAX cameras for a special engagement in glorious IMAX early before the premiere of the show proper on ABC at the end of the month. Somewhere, on Reddit, someone has asked “Yeah, but was Captain America: The Winter Soldier shot in glorious IMAX?”
Of course, you can shoot an alcoholic diarrhea in IMAX and it won’t change the fact that it came out of someone’s asshole. Inhumans is terrible. And as we know, everything’s bigger in IMAX: screen, the price tag and, when applicable, the pure, humbling feeling of a terrible mistake you can’t take back.
Inhumans opens with a lot of slow-motion running, shooting, and raining, as a cat-eyed young girl flees from a militia. Seemingly cornered, she comes across a man with green skin who tells her that she’s an Inhuman–someone with powers—and that there is a home for them on the moon, and that he will protect her. Roughly ten seconds later, she gets gunned down in glorious IMAX, and he also gets shot and falls into the water.
Zip up to the moon, where the Inhumans have settled away from humanity in an invisible city called Attilan, ruled over by a royal family comprised of Black Bolt (Anson Mount), who does not speak because his voice generates deadly shockwaves and has the perpetual look on his face of having just smelled a fart; his wife Medusa (Serinda Swan), who can control her hair; Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor), who has hooves; Crystal (Isabelle Cornish), who…shoots energy out of her hands, I think, and Karnak (Ken Leung), who can….predict….some scenarios and sort of rewind time to approach it from a different direction….and also make an energy compass? It’s not made clear. There’s also Bolt’s brother Maximus (Iwan Rheon), who doesn’t have powers. He’s a dick and nobody likes him.
Members of Attilan, at a certain point, experience puberty via a public ceremony called Terrigenesis. This involves each character steppping into individual chambers that kind of look like phone booths, as crystals removed from a sacred box are dropped into the chambers where they are converted into vapors which give the kids powers. This is a great opportunity for several characters to spout expository dialogue about the function of an apparently archaic ritual handed down for generations and other mumbly bumbly. The girl, Iridia, gets butterfly wings, and the boy, Bronaja, seemingly gets nothing. However, when Maximus touches him, Bronaja goes into a seizure in glorious IMAX and has a vision about snakes surrounding Maximus against a wall. We don’t actually see the vision, we just get to hear everyone talk about it.
Attilan runs on a caste system, where the royal family lives in the lavish castle while apparently everyone else is forced to live in very dirty dungeons and operate under a mob mentality that calls to mind Life of Brian. People such as Maximus and Bronaja, however, are on an even lower rung because of their lack of powers. Maximus has had enough of it, and attempts to speak to the people, telling them that they shouldn’t shun Bronaja for having no apparent powers, because sometimes Terragenesis can take time to manifest powers. “It didn’t with you!” bellows a random crowd member. Maximus promises that even those without powers will have a voice once he is king.
Triton, the green dude from the intro, is, according to an Inhuman with projector eyes, possibly still alive. Gorgon wants desperately to validate this. Crystal has a giant teleporting bulldog named Lockjaw, who sends Gorgon to Honolulu. Upon arriving, he spends most of his time yelling Triton’s name before wading into the ocean and discovering that he can’t swim because having two giant hooves is about as useful has having concrete tied to your legs. He’s rescued by some cool surfer dudes sharing a communal beach settlement. He later is revealed to be able to create shockwaves with his hooves.
Medusa wanders around the castle, reminiscing about when she and Black Bolt fell in love, remembering his shame over killing his parents with his voice in glorious IMAX. This is shown in a painfully hilarious scene where an adolescent Bolt is seated in front of his parents. He simply asks “why?”, causing an epic shockwave that turns his parents into ashy splatters on the wall.
Maximus runs into Medusa wandering outside the chamber in which Bolt is meditating and basically says “Wanna fuck?” She is having none of it. Medusa uses her hair to throw Maximus against the wall, telling him they’ll never bang. Maximus indicates that she’s still part of his spank bank and she throws him down and storms away. Maximus realizes that the vision of snakes just came true (because Medusa the Inhuman has hair and Medusa the mythological thing has snakes for hair, get it?), so he immediately overthrows the castle and recruits the Royal Guard to capture or kill the family. Yeah, it’s that quick.
Crystal, eager to finally have something interesting to do in the episode, tasks Lockjaw with getting the family off of the moon. In turn, Maximus summons his right-hand lady, Auran, to go after them. Auran’s two favorite things in the world are wearing leather and murdering people, so she’s more than happy to get to Earth. To do so she goes to visit a talking wall and threatens his family.
Karnak is the first one the Guard goes after. He fights off most of the guards before being shot himself, but is somehow able to step out of his body, assess the situation, and rewind time to forsee the gunshot and finish defeating the guards. Lockjaw transports Karnak to Honolulu, and the limitations of Karnak’s clairvoyant powers become apparent when he promptly falls off a cliff in glorious IMAX.
Back on Attilan, Medusa is holding her own against the guards, but one of the Inhumans working for Maximus manages to overpower her so that Maximus can shave her hair Les Miserables-style, stripping her of her powers. Medusa spends most of the rest of the episode feeling sorry for herself, but takes a brief break to have a catfight with Auran and violently stab her multiple times, seemingly killing her. But since Auran has healing powers and is an apparent walking amalgamation of at least three different fetishes, she’ll probably be back.
Bolt and Lockjaw teleport to the middle of a street in Honolulu, where a glaringly stereotypical Hawaiian man with dark skin, a goatee, and a floral print shirt almost hits them with his car before Bolt escapes. Unable to speak, Bolt must communicate by looking intensely at people with the exact same expression. Apparently as aware as the rest of us that his costume looks stupid, Bolt visits a clothing store and decides to just walk out with the suit the clerk helped him try on in a sequence that seemed to be desperately avoiding the Makeover Montage trope. He is chased down by the police and arrested, where his inability to speak gives the actor playing Generic Police Interrogator to say his obligatory lines before Bolt is led into a cell in glorious IMAX.
The episode closes with Bolt glancing up at the moon, where his brother is giving a speech about how his new regime will ensure that everyone on Attilan will have a voice. The Inhumans logo flashes on the screen, leaving only a sense of deep indifference towards the rest of the narrative and a more-than-vague feeling of having been soundly bamboozled–even knowing full well going in it was going to be shit.
I could be mad at Disney for doing this. But really I’m just mad at myself for doing this.