INHUMANS: A rare, messy stumble by Marvels

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SEE it does pay to collect old comic books.it does pay to collect old comic books.

I remember back in the mid-1960s when writer Stan “The Man” Lee and his artistic counterpart, Jack “King” Kirby first created and delivered “The Inhumans,” a royal family of super powered elites.

Originally created as a comic book tie in for The Fantastic Four, giving the Human Torch, Johnny Storm, his first real love interest with the fiery re-trestled Inhuman known only as “Crystal,” the entire royal family of super powered elites now make their debut on the large screen, followed by an ongoing TV series.

It is an audacious start, placing the first two hours of “The Inhumans” onto an IMAX or standard movie format–to tease those watching in the theater to go home and turn on their small screens to watch the next adventures of the Inhumans.

However, this is NOT the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has captured the hearts and imagination of planet Earth with the exploits of the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, Captain America or the Hulk.

There is a clear “church/state” separation of what is shown on the small screen with Daredevil, Iron Fist and now The Inhumans … and that of the big screen offerings of The Avengers and Doctor Strange.

Think of this as warring family members, squabbling over the last piece of friend chicken during dinner.

Taking a cue from their financially successful “cousin,” the Marvel TV division (which has nothing to do with the film division of Marvel Studios) came up with idea of bringing The Inhumans to life via an IMAX format—and in many theaters in Cebu, it will be shown on a standard 35’ tall silver screen.

So, what are these “Inhumans” and is this any good? Well, kinda okay … but just barely. Robert Downey Jr. (“Iron Man”) who spearheads the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) won’t lose any sleep over this film/TV adaptation of the Inhumans (which has a short running time of only 75 minutes) led by the uber-powerful leader, ”Black Bolt” (Anson Mount) who, with just a whisper, can blow up a building, and with one shout can level all of Manila.

As a mute, Black Bolt reigns over the Inhumans’ city called Attilan, which just so happens to be located on a section of our Moon in which there is a breathable atmosphere.

He is flanked by his paramour, the lovely Madame Medusa (Serinda Swan), who’s long flaming red hair is very much alive and seems to have a mind all its own. According to Marvel comic book lore, the Inhumans were created by the race known as the Kree, (we saw them in the first Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014) and placed on our planet eons ago.

The Inhumans were originally living as part of Earth’s inhabitants but separated by an impenetrable and transparent shield that prevents them interacting with us—eventually Black Bolt dislodged Attilan itself from the Earth and transported to the Moon.

Okay, all of this sounds pretty silly. But this is a comic book fantasy come to “life.”

Since this is only an off-shoot of the MCU, the budget is nowhere near what an Avengers movie would costs and it shows.

With cheesy special effects— coupled with a boring script–with words mostly tossed into the air from the show’s villain, Maximus, Black Bolt’s brother, played by Iwan Rheon (from TV’s “Game of Thrones”) who is a power hungry nut job all his own.

If there is a bright spot to this would-be IMAX/TV breakthrough it is the loveable—and gigantic—dog named “Lockjaw” who can teleport at will and at a crucial point in this film/episode, literally jumps into the frame and spirits Black Bolt off the Moon and into … are you ready … downtown Honolulu. Why Honolulu? I have no idea.

These Inhumans are a real mess. The story lacks any central theme and looks cheap as spit.

The director of this two-part premiere—Roel Reine—said in a recent interview that “he was specifically hired by Marvel because of his work on other fast-turnaround projects, including directing of “The Scorpion King 3” and “Death Race 2” among others. Says Reine, “I think they liked me for the job because I was able with my action movies to shoot in a very short time, or with very low budgets, action that looks like a big-budget movie.

It (The Inhumans) was not a feature film, it was a TV episode, but they still wanted to have the scope of something larger.

Time was also a critical factor. The schedule was super-tight. I had TV schedule time to shoot it with IMAX cameras, 20 days to shoot two episodes. It’s nerve-wracking, but I come from a low-budget film world, so 20 days for me is luxury.”

He adds, “There was always a Marvel executive around me, just to make sure that whatever I did, or whatever we did together, would tie in with other characters in other universes, in other comics, in other series or movies.

They’re very protective. These people are very passionate about their product and about characters and about doing the best version of everything. I heard all of these horror stories of working with Marvel, but I didn’t feel that way.

It was very collaborative. Nine out of ten times they liked what I pitched—even radical things.” So there you have it.

A time-treasured super powered, comic book family that lives on the Moon, is ruled by a mute who can destroy a city with one word with lousy special effects and has a run-time which barely covers the few minutes you need to eat you popcorn and guzzle down your soda.

It had to happen folks. “The Inhumans” is a rare stumble by Marvel, although not from the front line execs, and with dopey script and miniscule special effects budget that looks cheap and is cheap. Well, no one’s perfect.

Questions, or travel suggestions, write me at readingruffolos@gmail.com



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