Marvel’s Inhumans made a pop-up appearance in the form of a short trailer last night at Comic-Con, at a location just shy of the convention center. Although it was beautifully detailed in the IMAX theater, it received some mixed reviews, some looking forward to it while others are still hesitant on how the show will do. As someone who hasn’t followed the Inhumans storyline closely, I wasn’t fully on board with all that was happening in the trailer.
Granted, they made a better elevator pitch for this trailer than their first one, but there were elements of this that just didn’t click with me.
The Inhumans are gifted individuals who have separated from society to the point of removing themselves from the planet altogether, setting up a base on the moon. The structure of their society has monarchs, of whom Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and Medusa (Serinda Swan) are the respective king and queen. Although, there is trouble afoot as Maximus (Iwan Rhoen) seeks to take a proactive approach in dealing with the world they left behind, and attack the people on earth. Maximus stages a coup and Black Bolt is forced to leave the moon for earth, while all his subjects must now bow before what Medusa reveals is a human king.
In terms of story, Marvel’s Inhumans does have an interesting premise. However, where it fails to hit home with me, and perhaps by extension other unfamiliar audiences, is when we try to incorporate this world into the MCU. Just speaking from a visual perspective, the world of the Inhumans seems very small, with only a few characters that stand out and the others just fading into the background.
As a Marvel comics reader, I have been conditioned to understand that people with powers of any degree stand out, whether it be a character in the comics or a character in the films. Seeing the population of Inhuman subjects dressed like extras on a post-apocalyptic film doesn’t excite me about seeing their world. The aesthetics of the world they inhabit doesn’t “wow” me like seeing the gold and red of Tony Stark’s suit, or the red white and blue on Captain America’s costume.
From a story perspective, I still don’t get why Maximus is taking such a drastic measure against Black Bolt. A difference in political strategies, sure. Yet, there is nothing that I saw from the trailer that prompts this. All I saw was Maximus staging the coup, having a difference of opinion about their approach to the humans on earth, and Black Bolt being whisked away before he could do anything.
I have been conditioned, to some degree, that the villain has some noble motive behind his or her actions from other films and television series. Wilson Fisk (Daredevil) wants to be a bigger man than his father ever was in Hell’s Kitchen. Even Yellowjacket (Ant Man), as underdeveloped a character as many critics have noted, was deep down just seeking approval. With such underlying psychological motives missing from his character, it just makes me think of Maximus as a jerk. I want to empathize with his cause, but it’s just not there. Or at least I want to understand why there are other Inhumans willing to empathize with his cause.
With all that said, I will still watch Inhumans when it comes out on September 1st. It’s a hard sell for me, but I’m hoping that the show will dive deeper into some of these motivations for Maximus and delve into Black Bolt as a character. I am a sucker for great writing, and if the writing can pull off where the visuals fail, then I will gladly throw my money at the screen.