ABC made a big gamble premiering the first two episodes of Marvel’s Inhumans on IMAX theaters four weeks before its official premiere, with the hope viewers would be blown away by seeing a new TV show in an IMAX screen, and get buzz going early for the eight-part miniseries.
After seeing it Thursday night with a sparse crowd (30 in a theater that seats 400) at an IMAX in Sparks, Nevada, I can say that showing it on a very big screen doesn’t add much to a story that starts fast, but slows to a crawl in the second half. If you’re interested in seeing a TV show in IMAX, Inhumans is a good choice. Otherwise, it’s best to wait until the show starts in smaller screens at home on the 29th. That way, you’ll get the complete version, including the introduction of one other character who may play a big part in the Inhumans war.
This “movie” featuring the first two episodes is actually 75 minutes long, and that’s without the extra footage that will be shown only on the ABC network on September 29th.
It begins with one of the scenes featured in the preview at Comic-Con, where Triton (Mark Moh) tries to protect a girl with Inhuman powers, but winds up getting shot while she is killed.
Cut to the Moon, where the Inhuman city of Attilan is hidden. There are strange pictures of what looks like a hoof stomping on a remote-controlled drone. Clearly the Inhumans don’t want to be found, even if we aren’t planning any lunar missions any time soon.
Our first look of Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and Medusa (Serinda Swan) is in bed and very intimate, her hair covering them both. It’s pretty sexy, actually.
Soon, though, Maximus (Iwan Rheon, Game of Thrones) tries to convince Black Bolt, his brother, that it’s about time they tried to invade the Earth because their city can’t support everyone. Medusa says it could lead to war. Since they seem to get our news via a pool observed by two people in white, they seem reluctant to make the jump. Maximus may wonder if what she says is what BB thinks, one stare from his brother makes him back off. As fans know, if BB tries to talk, he releases a powerful force that can cause destruction. It’s already killed his parents only because he said “why”.
We’re also briefly introduced to Crystal (Isabelle Cornish), Medusa’s sister, who acts like a typical teen but controls the elements, and Lockjaw, a dog who has the ability to transport anyone. He’s cute and the size of a Hummer.
At dinner, (again from Comic-Con) Maximus asks why Triton was sent to Earth, and Medusa says Earthlings who have begun showing Inhuman powers should be united with their people. Gorgon is asked to head to Earth to find Triton.
There’s also a “coming of age” ceremony where teens are exposed to terrigen crystals to determine what they will become. A girl gets wings while a boy can see visions when Maximus touches him. The boy tells him of “snakes surrounding him.”
We find out that those who don’t develop powers wind up in the mines, which would have happened to Maximus if he wasn’t the King’s brother.
Maximus exploits the anger from those in Attilan to get what he really wants: Black Bolt’s throne. He promises a new opportunity on Earth and an end to the “caste” system. His words sound good, but he’s more interested in power.
Maximus’ decision to seize power with his ally Auran (Sonya Balmores) happens suddenly (maybe due to the missing scenes). It’s also revealed he had something to do with Triton being shot. It would be interesting to see why she’s supporting him.
They showed two scenes from the Comic-Con preview, where Karnak subduing two traitorous guards and Maximus trying to get Medusa on his side until she attacks him with her hair. He figures out that’s what the boy meant by “snakes”.
Maximus tries to capture Medusa. She punches the guards away with her hair, which doesn’t look as impressive as it sounds.
Then he cuts her hair, with hair clippers. All of it.
A Marvel queen without her famous hair? That’s a big jump, but it will wind up making her more interesting. It also shows Maximus is no revolutionary. He’s a jealous brother who wants to be on top.
Lockjaw gets most of the Royal Family and their allies to Hawaii, including Black Bolt just before he seems to use his voice to deal with Maximus. However, BB, Medusa, Gorgon (Eme Ikwaukor) and Karnak (Ken Leung) are placed in different parts of Oahu, and spend much of the second half lost and wandering. It slows the story to a crawl.
It’s interesting to see Black Bolt trying to respond to this strange new world, especially when he is attacked by police. It is surprising when police cars show up after he gets some new clothes and doesn’t realize he has to pay for them. When he coughs and accidentally flips over a police car, the cops aren’t as stunned as they should be when they try to book him. Mount does a fine job expressing his thoughts and feelings without saying a destructive word. It’s touching when he tells Medusa he’s OK by putting his communication necklace next to his heart. It’s probably the toughest acting job on TV this season
Gorgon at least talks to people who aren’t stunned by a guy with hooves, while Karnak is literally lost after getting injured while trying to climb down from a cliff. Karnak’s skill of seeing a flaw in anything, even himself, is really funny. He sees no flaw in supporting his King, however.
Medusa has a very difficult time losing her hair and her husband while trying to understand her new surroundings. The one major plot advance happens when Auran reaches Earth, looking for the the Royal Family and planning to kill Black Bolt. After killing a bus driver, she and Medusa fight. We won’t reveal what happened, but it shows Medusa is capable, with or without her hair. A post-credits scene reveals the fight is not over, and may involve more Inhumans.
Back at the Moon, Maximus is consolidating his power, claiming Black Bolt has deserted Attilan. Rheon’s role may remind people of Ramsey Bolton on Game of Thrones, but Maximus’ belief that he’s right, even if his methods are not, shows this is a different role. He’s ruthless and dishonest, rather than cruel, but is careful to show the laborers he is their best hope.
Crystal’s abilities are shown briefly, but she doesn’t get to do much. Her dog gets more screen time than she does.
There is one weird scene where Auran tells a talking black wall to transport her to Earth or she’ll kill its family and put them in a garbage bag. It does, but puts her body in cement. She frees herself quickly, though.
The IMAX does show the beauty of Oahu to its fullest, but I’m used to seeing IMAX in 3-D. It would have been nice to add some 3-D scenes to make the experience more special.
Inhumans on IMAX will run until September 14th, then the show will air September 29th at 9 PM on ABC.