This post is not here to bash the upcoming Marvel/ABC TV series Marvel’s Inhumans, but simply to question the choice of debuting the first two episodes in IMAX theaters.
From what I’ve heard word-of-mouth, the first episode is a bit awkward and slow but it starts to pick up in the 2nd. If that was a Netflix series, the viewer would get past the rough start no problem and just keep zipping along. But premiering it on IMAX just puts a great big “target” on it, and ends up with possibly misleading headlines as “Marvel’s Inhumans gets a 0% On Rotten Tomatoes.”
Now: on one hand, ABC/Disney/Marvel had a really great reason to debut Inhumans on IMAX—the series is partially shot using IMAX technology. But for a show that already has criticisms about being sort of flat and “TV-like” in scope compared to other Marvel ventures, placing it on the biggest of big screens only brings out that contrast even more.
As Josh Bell from Las Vegas Weekly noted, “Inhumans resembles a mediocre ’90s syndicated genre series, and blowing it up to IMAX size just puts a bigger spotlight on the flaws.” Ouch.
Not to mention that by placing Inhumans within a cinematic context, it makes it more likely a target for the Rotten Tomatoes crowd. And as of this writing, it really does have a 0% on RT, which is a disastrous metric.
Did it really need to be this way? The series showrunner is Dexter‘s Scott Buck, who has already experienced some flack for the lukewarmly-received Iron Fist. But the first season of Iron Fist has debuted all at one time on Netflix—again, a much more “forgiving” platform in some ways, that allows series such as these the breathing room to find its own audience. But not so for a theatrical release. And even trying to “make it” in primetime, week-to-week, is going to be difficult.
And so while I wouldn’t count Inhumans completely out quite yet…there are some challenges here to be overcome.