REVIEW: Marvel’s ‘The Inhumans’ falls short while ‘The Gifted’ looks promising


Photo from Entertainment Weekly / Marvel’s The Inhumans falls short of expectations.

This is a story of two shows. One that combines well thought out shots, very solid acting and a competently written script and another combining a script seemingly written by a middle schooler, quick cuts that make little to no sense and acting that is so bad that the most impactful is done by a cast member without a single voiced line. This is a story about Fox’s The Gifted and ABC’s The Inhumans.

Both The Inhumans and The Gifted are based on source material from Marvel Comics and Marvel Entertainment. The Inhumans is based on The Inhumans and Gifted is based on the X-Men. The Inhumans was slated to be a film released in 2018 but was scrapped and instead made into a TV show by producer Scott Buck, known for Marvel’s other television trainwreck Iron Fist. Marvel has all film and television rights to the Inhumans while Fox owns rights to the X-Men and more specifically the right to use the word mutant, which allowed them to make Legion on FX and now The Gifted on Fox. While both shows are based on Marvel characters, they do not take place in the same universe and could not crossover like CW’s The Flash and Supergirl, for example.

I’m not gonna lie up until just a few hours prior to the airing I had no idea Fox’s The Gifted was even airing. I wasn’t very excited to watch and I hadn’t really watched any trailers or read up on the show. On the other hand, I was very excited about ABC’s The Inhumans. Unlike many I actually like The Inhumans (the comics to clarify) but oh was I wrong. Oh was I so, so wrong.

First I’d like to talk about the overproduced, overly CGI’d, hot garbage that was The Inhumans. I think Marvel’s first mistake was to produce this show for IMAX and have a movie-like screening for the first two episodes of the show. If you wanted to show this in a movie theatre you should have just made a movie with a budget that allowed for better actors and a more interesting writer. Marvel’s second mistake was allowing Scott Buck to make another television show after making the terribly boring Iron Fist for Netflix. Iron Fist was almost universally disliked by the consumers of the Netflix Marvel shows for its very uninteresting boardroom plot and its whiny main character.

I really don’t understand why Marvel would bring back an executive producer who proved that he couldn’t make a fun superhero show, but they did and now we’re left with The Inhumans. Starring Serinda Swan as Queen Medusa, Anson Mount as King Black Bolt, and Iwan Rheon as the king’s brother Maximus, The Inhumans has an interesting cast but the writing fails to let the actors be anything but exposition robots.

An actor like Iwan Rheon, best known for his role as Ramsay Bolton in HBO’s Game of Thrones is deflated by his mundane lines and failure to use much emotion at all. Another mishap is the confusing shot selection combined with the bad CGI. They try to open up with an action scene where there is Zack Snyder-like slow motion and when a character is shot and disappears into the ocean we are expected to care about that character even though we just met them. There aren’t many lights in this darkness but Anson Mount as Black Bolt and the giant teleporting dog Lockjaw stand out. Overall the open to what I was hoping to be an interesting show has fallen very flat and I’m not sure if a lot could be done to save it now.

Maybe I’ve been shot by the nostalgia bullet but Fox’s The Gifted hit everything that a good superhero show should hit, especially a show about the X-Men. This show has callbacks to the beloved 90’s animated show and less beloved but still good X-Men film continuity that we’ve come to acknowledge since the early 2000’s. This show takes themes from the comics and movies such as feeling left out and ostracized and humanizes them through the characters.

This is a slightly dark vindictive world that is perfect for the X-Men. It allows the audience to believe that the characters are afraid to show their growing powers and that those with powers would have to hide out as shown in the show. There are references to the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants that instantly suck you in and keep you interested. I think the best part of the show is the CGI. It isn’t used very often but when it is, while showing characters powers, it is seamlessly entwined into the story in a wonderful way. Look out for a short cameo by Mr. Excelsior himself, Stan Lee, and you will be solidified as a fan of the show just based off the pilot.

I think I’ll still continue to watch The Inhumans to see if the show can improve, but if it doesn’t, this show will be a swift drop for me. I absolutely recommend you watch Fox’s The Gifted along with me and finally enjoy a good X-Men adaptation.