In the US: Fridays, , ABC
In the UK: Acquired by Sky1. Will air this Autumn
Famously, infamously or “Really? Jesus. What’s wrong with you?”ly, I’ve now seen Marvel’s Iron Fist three times.
What can I say? I don’t think it’s excellent, but neither do I think it’s terrible. It’s enjoyable, does some interesting things with a B-grade Marvel character and has some good superheroics. Even watching the trailer below again makes me almost giddy with excitement. Number four viewing isn’t far off now, I reckon.
However, I’m almost certain I’m the only person on the planet to do so, outside of Gitmo and various institutions for the criminally insane – indeed, 10 years from now, repeatedly viewing of Iron Fist will almost certainly feature in some supervillain’s origin story.
Because the general critical reaction has been negative. Oh so very negative. Many critics were especially surprised by how bad it was, because Iron Fist‘s showrunner was Scott Buck, who was a producer and/or writer on Six Feet Under, Rome and Dexter. Not a shabby credits list, hey?
Yet I imagine some of them even wondered if they’d make a mistake in retrospect in liking those shows, such was the perceived awfulness of Iron Fist.
I’m having the same issue now I’ve seen the first two episodes of Marvel’s Inhumans, whose showrunner is one Scott Buck. Was I wrong to like Iron Fist? Did I make a mistake?
Because Inhumans… is pretty terrible. Based on the Marvel comics of the same name created by the dream team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, it’s focused on the ‘inhumans’ – genetic mutations of humans with superpowers whom you might already have seen in the increasingly inept Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (still watching? And you think I’ve got problems?).
A while back, a whole bunch of them left the Earth and decided to build themselves a city on the Moon.
As you do, obviously.
There they set up shop and created a new society, complete with weird genetic rituals, a monarchy, a council and a caste system. Current King: a mute, but maybe telepathic bloke called Black Bolt (Hell on Wheels‘ Anson Mount). Current Queen: a woman called Medusa, who has superpowered hair that can pick things up and hit people (Graceland/Breakout Kings‘ Serinda Swan).
Trouble is, the population is increasing but the city and resources aren’t getting any bigger. Because it’s the Moon.
This is something that irks Black Bolt’s brother (Iwan Rheon of Misfits, Game of Thrones and Riviera), who fluffed the mutant-activation test and so is pure human, which would normally get him sent down the mine and certainly stops him from becoming King.
One day, though, he senses his chance for power so decides to mount a palace coup, in the name of re-taking the Earth for the Inhumans. However, that’s not before the Royal Family and some of their loyal followers escape to Earth. And they might have been noticed by someone who has been monitoring their activities (Ellen Woglom).
Which is all the sort of politicking and intrigue that made Iron Fist so enjoyable for me. Since he’s usually quite faithful to the comics, Buck also mines Inhumans for some more bonkers and comedic opportunities. The head of the Royal Guard (Eme Ikwuakor) has giant hooves. The family owns a giant teleporting dog. Their most trusted advisor (Lost‘s Ken Leung) is so cunningly strategic and able to predict what’ll happen, it’s almost like he has a heads-up display and can rewind time to have another go at things if he cocks up. Black Bolt has another power as well that’s rather cool, but telling you would spoil things.
At the very least, Marvel’s Inhumans is occasionally exciting and also quite funny at times. There’s imagination going on, the acting’s quite fun, with Mount likeable and expressive despite never being able to say anything, and Leung’s pleasing acidic. There’s also a huge budget for CGI-ing a city on the Moon – so huge that the first two episodes were shot and shown in IMAX.
Plus you’ve got to love a giant teleporting dog.
The trouble is that we have a double-punch combo of almost knock-out blows that render the show almost unwatchable.