At this point, poking fun at the Inhumans trailers almost feels a bit mean.
This footage, every last drop of it, is so incomprehensibly bad that pointing out its many flaws is just a bit too easy.
Of course it’s going to look awful – it’s a TV show with a tiny budget that’s about a family of superheroes who live on the moon, featuring a giant CGI dog and a woman with magic, living hair. There’s no way this could possibly look impressive.
But just when you think that maybe the joke has had its fun, and we should all stop teasing Marvel for what will no doubt replace Iron Fist as the studio’s worst decision of all time, a new trailer shows up that makes everything even worse, and it’s utterly glorious.
Just for context, the female lead of the show is an Inhuman named Medusa, played by Sheridan Smith, whose big, impressive super power is the fact that she can manipulate her hair with her mind. In the comics, she uses it to throw people around, pick stuff up, possibly fetch the Moon-TV remote if she’s feeling lazy, that sort of thing.
In the second trailer, we get to see a single scene of Medusa attacking Ramsay Bolton with her magical hair, and it looks so laughably bad that it’s incredible Marvel thinks this will be IMAX quality entertainment.
The Inhumans showrunner, Scott Buck, has told people to stop making fun of this effect, as the CGI hasn’t been fully added and it’s not perfect yet. It’s mean, apparently, to judge this hot pile of garbage at this stage (which is really Marvel’s fault, not ours, for releasing this footage before it was “ready”).
In the newest trailer, though, Medusa gets more interesting, as the studio finds an ingenious way to hide the fact that they don’t have a good wig budget, nor the funds for decent CGI. Stay right to the end for the big surprise.
Yup. At some point in the show, Medusa, whose sole super power is the ability to mentally control her hair, will be given a buzz-cut.
It’s phenomenal. The character’s defining power has been stripped away. This would be like making a Superman movie where Clark forgets how to fly, or a Batman movie that portrays Bruce Wayne as being in a good mood.
In all fairness, there have been good superhero stories that have stripped away the hero’s power to show them overcoming new challenges. In Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker suffers from an ill-defined mental affliction (it’s probably stress, but it’s never clear) that causes him to lose his powers until they’re absolutely crucial to the plot in the third act. Similarly, Iron Man 3 is all about separating Tony Stark from his gadgets and forcing him to improvise.
In both cases, though, these stories do at least start by showing us how cool and impressive the heroes are, and as they’re movies, the time the protagonists spend without their powers is really limited.
In the case of The Inhumans, Medusa shows up wearing a terrible CGI wig for a while before being shorn in what audiences can’t help but interpret as a quick effort to save money. As this is a TV show rather than a movie, it means a lot of downtime where Medusa essentially can’t do the one thing she’s known for.
It’d be like a season of The Flash in which Barry Allen breaks his foot, or a ten-part story arc in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in which Phil Coulson decides to retire to the countryside to raise chickens. It’s just not compelling television.
Or, perhaps Medusa’s Inhumans wig debacle could be likened to Iron Fist, a show in which Danny Rand keeps claiming to be an incredibly talented martial artist, but moves slowly and clumsily through every single fight scene due to a complete lack of practice on set.
It’s worth noting, by the way, that Scott Buck, who is the showrunner for Inhumans, made Iron Fist as well. This guy is not exactly earning a good reputation among Marvel fans.
This wouldn’t be quite so egregious if Marvel weren’t trying to have their cake and eat it too; making a show with a miniscule budget and then having the utter gall to release it in IMAX and pretend that it’s a movie-quality experience.
Even the creators involved admit that this whole project has been put together cheap and fast – and they have the nerve to brag about it.
Here’s what Roel Reine, who directed the IMAX episodes, has to say about why Marvel hired him:
“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 was not a feature film, it was a TV episode, but they still wanted to have the scope.”
So, essentially, Marvel hired Reine because they expected him to crap something out as quickly as possible with a tiny budget, in the hopes that IMAX theater-goers wouldn’t notice the show’s ridiculously small budget.
It’s fine to laugh at the mess that Marvel have got themselves in with this new television show. The studio deserves no sympathy – their attempts to bamboozle fans with a cheap, shoddily produced piece of IMAX garbage is an insult to their core fanbase and an important reminder to everyone involved that you can’t cut corner forever without making an enormous dud.
Don’t watch The Inhumans, don’t buy tickets to its IMAX release, let this atrocious disaster pass by with little more than a derisive laugh at the fools who thought any of this was a good idea.
Then, when the time comes, go see Thor: Ragnarok, and enjoy what the cosmic, superpowered, spacefaring side of the Marvel universe can look like when given the attention it deserves.