Are Marvel’s Creators Punking Us with Inhumans? I Really Hope So

Does anyone remember the MTV show Punk’d? The sheer panic and disbelief on the faces of celebrity victims before they realized Ashton Kutcher was pranking them are forever priceless.

As I watch Marvel’s Inhumans, I feel like said celebrities, and nope Stan Lee has not shown up to tell me it’s all a joke – yet. With 5 more episodes to go, Inhumans is dragging us along for this tragedy of a ride.

It is no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is easily considered the gold standard of superhero movie-making, while their entrance into television has not been as well received. With Inhumans though, Marvel has taken a huge credibility hit in my opinion.

You cannot tell me that when the pilot was being viewed by ABC and Marvel executives, no one could see what a colossal failure this would turn out to be. Here are a just a few of the glaring issues I have with the show:

  1. Inhumans has managed to do the impossible- make viewers long for the return of the disgusting Ramsay Bolton of Game of Thrones. Iwan Rheon, who so memorably portrayed the villainous bastard of House Bolton, is reduced to a third rate wanna-be king. His Inhumans character Maximus isn’t the least bit intimidating though he has ordered the killing of his own people in order to usurp the rule of his brother. Of course no one expects Rheon to replicate his GOTs character here, but he needs a much better script to work with. His long speeches and insufferable, contrived longing for Medusa are excruciating to watch, and I am sure even more painful for the talented actor to portray.
  2. What many of us love about superheroes is watching them kick ass. Inhumans manages to even muck this up. Watching Medusa fight (with or without her ridiculous hair) was like watching 20 year old home movies of me and my brother pretending to be Hulk Hogan and The Junkyard Dog. The barely there elbows to the back, the flopping around, and the heads flailing back before a fake punch is thrown are cringe worthy.
  3.  Finally (and I promise I’ll stop) Inhumans lacks heart. After 3 episodes there is not one character that I have truly connected with. Well, maybe Black Bolt, but the irony of connecting with his character is that he hasn’t uttered one word during the show except during flashback sequences of his childhood. The fact that the showrunner has managed to do in silence what he could not do with dialogue tells us a lot about why Inhumans probably won’t succeed. We are supposed to root for our heroes and heroines and care about what they care about. On the flip side, we should have some anger towards our villains for wanting to hurt others or being selfish and power hungry. Inhumans elicits none of those feelings.

I am honestly stunned that Marvel allowed Inhumans in this form to see the light of day. It makes me wonder if it was not sheer ineptitude on the part of the showrunner and executives, but a more sinister “People will watch anything we put out” attitude. Fans of the comic book genre are loyal and want to see all of their childhood heroes on the big and small screens saving the world. But I venture to believe that we would rather wait until a more polished and believable version was available for our enjoyment.

Ashton or Stan, I’m waiting for one of you to come out from behind the curtain on this one.

Marvel’s Inhumans airs Fridays at 9/8c on ABC.

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