Marvel’s Inhumans is described as a train-wreck by many critics and that’s unlikely to surprise the makers who were landed with a hot potato and just needed to get it made.
A 5.2 user rating on IMDB. A 10% score on Rotten Tomatoes. A 27 score on Metacritic. Flat TV ratings and a disappointing run at IMAX for the debut episodes. It’s not great readings for the 8 episode run for Marvel’s Inhumans that is being described as the worst piece of entertainment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, even worse than Iron Fist.
This probably won’t come as a surprise to Marvel, specifically Ike Perlmutter and Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb. According to Inhumans director Roel Reiné, the comic giant wanted Inhumans to be as “Fast and cheap” as possible. He said:
“What did Marvel look for in ‘Inhumans’? Fast and cheap […] 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”
There’s almost certainly no future in the Inhumans series moving forward. There’s always a possibility that, given the closed linked nature, the cast of Inhumans might migrate wholesale to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the ill fated first season means it’s very unlikly we’ll ever see a season 2 of Inhumans.
Why did it end like this? Well, it’s more than likely that the frosty, resentful relationship between the Movie and TV arms of Marvel played its part. Jeph Loeb and the TV arm have always played second fiddle to Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios, with the TV writers having to ask whether they can use certain characters in their shows and regularly being told “No, we have plans for that”. The TV side of Marvel has always been reactionary to the MCU, bending over backwards to tie in with the movies, rather than paving the way for them. It’s likely that Jeph Loeb and the Agents of SHIELD team had painted themselves into a corner and they were landed with a political hot potato that was heated by the Movie making side of Marvel. Here’s a conversation I imagine happened between Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb and Marvel Movie Boss Kevin Feige (or at least creatives working for them) about a year and a half ago;
Jeph Loeb: How’s that Inhumans Movie coming along? Is there anything I need to tell the Agents of SHIELD guys about?
Kevin Feige: I… don’t think we’re going to be doing that.
JL: Oh, has something happened?
KF: Yeah, Agents of SHIELD happened.
KF: You’ve broken a lot of ground with the Agents of SHIELD and Inhumans story line… so much so that you’ve made it difficult for our writers to tie it all in to make a decent blockbuster movie without alienating fans.
JL: I thought you gave the green-light on the Inhumans being in Agents and you were going to do the movie too?
KF: Well, with Sony agreeing to the Spidey deal and the Disney higher-ups looking to fill more holes in the schedule with LucasArts movies, we don’t really have the time or space to do it. So we thought you could.
JL: Excuse me? You want us to make an Inhumans movie?
KF: Yes, and a TV series. This is coming from the guys upstairs. We announced an Inhumans films and we’ll give the fans what they want. But you’ll be doing it.
JL: Okay. Right. So, I’ll be getting a movie budget to do this with?
KF: Erm…No. No, you won’t.
JL: …*high sigh*
Looking back on it, it’s almost as if Marvel and Marvel Studios knew that the Inhumans Movie would always be a risk they wouldn’t like to take and it’d land on the TV team at Marvel to pick up the slack. The delays, slate moves, re-shuffles and the heavy inclusion of the Inhumans in a TV show that the vast majority of cinema goers didn’t watch spelled it out years ago. Marvel’s Inhumans was little more than tick box exercise to fill a gap in the ABC schedule and fulfil a promise the movie arm had made to fans. They just wanted it done and dusted so that Kevin Feige could go on with Spidey, Infinity Wars and beyond without having to think about what the TV arm were doing with the Royal Family. This meant the Inhumans got a cheap, unconvincing and uncommitted treatment that’s barely linked to the MCU.
That being said, outside of the internet outrage culture, the TV show still has its fans (personally, I quite enjoyed it) and many ebd of season reactions are that the show was better that expected. Marvel’s Inhumans is still the worst inclusion in the MCU to date but that doesn’t make it “bad”. It’s mediocre – better than many shows on TV these days but poor when compared to the other Marvel output – but that’s all Marvel ever needed it to be. Done. Mediocre or not.