The multimedia juggernaut, also known as Marvel, has been dominating multiplexes for well over a decade now. The small screen however, is a slightly different story. While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has survived four years on network television (with a fifth on the way), the show has also suffered from poor reviews, and steadily declining ratings since its debut.
Netflix has had a slightly more successful run of Marvel adaptations with the critically acclaimed Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. But, this year’s Iron Fist was plagued with negativity surrounding its controversial casting, and weak storytelling. Regardless, ABC have their sights set on another piece of the ever-lucrative Marvel pie with the upcoming Inhumans.
The series initially began as a feature film adaptation from Marvel Studios, before an extremely public breakup between Kevin Feige and Ike Perlmutter derailed the project. Now, this 8 episode television event promises to combine the epic storytelling of Game of Thrones, with the superhero spectacle of The Avengers.
THN was fortunate enough to see four scenes from the series, as well as a new trailer on an IMAX screen in London. Thankfully, we can confirm that Inhumans doesn’t disappoint in terms of its visual spectacle. Director Roel Reine doted over the $350,000 IMAX camera’s used to film episodes 1 and 2. But, it certainly wasn’t difficult to appreciate the visual feast on display after viewing these key sequences. It’s clear the no expense has been spared on making the worlds first IMAX television debut, a spectacular event.
The scenes in question all displayed a number of impressive visual effects including a vastly improved use of CGI for Medusa’s hair. This in particular should reassure skeptical fans unconvinced that a television budget can accurately portray these characters. The action sequences are also extremely stylized and effective, but could potentially hold back on the Snyder slow-mo in future. The real question it begs, is how the series will look from episode 3 onward, and if it can successfully maintain this standard.
Forgetting the visuals however, Inhumans may have some work to do if it hopes to survive long term. The shows central protagonist, Black Bolt, is unable to speak a single word for fear of causing destruction with his powerful voice. But, this does not excuse the ham-fisted delivery, and lazy dialogue on display from the rest of the characters. This could a problem ironed out after the obligatory introductions and plot set-up of the pilot. But, one does get a sense that the special effects may have taken priority over narrative here.
Misfits and Game of Thrones star Iwan Rheon is clearly making the most of his lines, and undoubtedly brings a strong presence to his scenes. As an early contender to steal the show from under its lead, Rheon is almost certainly going to please critics and fans with ease. In terms of the show’s connection to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, these clips offered no further answers. But, early hints and rumours have indicated that the full pilot will contain a number of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. easter eggs.
Overall, Inhumans certainly has a lot of potential. The political themes carried within the series could resonate on a strong level with viewers, if they are executed well. But, it remains to be seen whether showrunner Scott Buck can overcome his Iron Fist critics, and deliver an engaging, effective, character-driven Marvel series. Although, the show has an advantage over the bloated 13 episode run of most Netflix Marvel shows. But, it will have to pace itself effectively to maintain audiences over all 8 episodes. After watching this footage, it’s difficult not to be excited to witness these episodes on an IMAX screen. We can only hope that these absolutely stunning visuals aren’t all the Inhumans have to offer.
Experience the first chapter of Marvel’s Inhumans exclusively in IMAX from Sept 1. Follow the entire series on TV & other devices soon after.