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As I stated in my previous article about Marvel’s Inhumans and why it’s not worth seeing in theaters when you can see it on ABC in a few weeks on September 29, Inhumans fails to deliver on the IMAX experience. There are a few nice shots of Hawaii and a couple cool uses of effects, but that’s about it. Not enough to justify seeing it in theaters.
Of course, it’s not enough for me to leave it there. No sooner had I started on my “review” when I started wondering what I would have done differently to take advantage of the IMAX experience with regard to Inhumans. So that’s what I want to do today, is take the Inhumans movie as Marvel TV and showrunner Scott Buck appear to have positioned it, and look at how this IMAX premier could have been done differently (read: “better”).
To start with, we’re not going to just cut together the first two episodes as a movie. I understand the reasoning behind it—this means that fans who can’t see it in the theaters or who pick it up when it goes to ABC have the opportunity to see it all from the beginning, and this gives them a chance to use IMAX money to improve the effects for things like Lockjaw and Attilan. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work. There isn’t enough “IMAX” stuff there to justify seeing it in theaters when there’s a more-complete cut that will be available on TV at the end of the month.
So how do we fix it? Simple: Save the pilot to air on ABC and offer something completely different from it on IMAX, something that will take full advantage of the additional budget and filming capabilities offered by the movie (and IMAX specifically) format.
In short, make an actual movie!!!!
Given that the series will see the Royal Family on Earth following a coup led by Maximus, while simultaneously dealing with the growing problem of new Inhumans (whom Black Bolt claims as his subjects, under his protection) emerging on Earth, this is what the movie would need to set up. Maximus’ coup must be set up (without actually happening yet). Triton’s mission on Earth needs to be set up, as well. But neither of these things will be the main focus of the movie. Instead, I would focus on an external threat, one which has already been set up on Marvel TV and which has a vested interest in the Inhumans.
In short, I would bring in the Kree!
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The Kree are known to be interested in Earth and to be monitoring it (to some extent) based on their appearances on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so it would make sense for them to notice that suddenly their genetic experiments are starting to pop up all across the planet. This brings the Kree back to the solar system, and to Earth specifically. But before they can reach Earth, the Kree must first pass by the Moon. And while Attilan did not act the previous times that Kree scout ships came in recent years (see: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Black Bolt has had enough of watching the Kree land on Earth like they own the joint, and has decided to stop them because they are here for the new Inhumans, whom Black Bolt has placed under the protection of Attilan (even if they don’t know it yet).
This brings us to the movie.
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The movie would open on a Kree warship. Medusa, Crystal, Karnak, and a trio of Inhuman Royal Guardsmen (with generic powers like fire and metal manipulation or super-strength) are fighting off a Kree landing party in their hangar/cargo hold. Each of them gets an opportunity to show off their unique powers as Medusa flings Kree soldiers all over the place, serving them up for Crystal to blast with fire and ice. Karnak systematically dismantles the Kree landers with a couple of punches, while the Guardsmen do their thing to keep the Royals alive. Meanwhile, Triton is leading a squadron of Inhuman space fighters against the Kree fighters (because he may as well be a pilot, right?) until his fighter gets swarmed and he has to land in the Kree hangar, where he joins the others in the fight there. Gorgon, Maximus, and Black Bolt are watching the fight from a control room in Attilan using an Inhuman “seer” (or something like that), giving us some “banter” between the three of them (punctuated with the “seer’s” comments).
Eventually this fight ends with Gorgon calling the others and telling them that the Kree group is moving to disengage and ordering them to return to base. Medusa, Crystal, and their team return to an Inhuman shuttle and take off out of the Kree ship, bringing a Kree officer with them as a prisoner. They return to Attilan surrounded by Inhuman fighters, where Black Bolt, Gorgon, and Maximus meet them at the landing pad. The Guards take the prisoner to a prison chamber under the palace, and the rest of the Royals go to a meeting room (after a touching reunion between Black Bolt and Medusa). During the following debrief, we learn more about this conflict. Gorgon and Maximus wonder why they should get involved in this conflict against the Kree and expose Attilan’s location to them (which Gorgon can confirm). Medusa responds that:
“After the original Inhuman General returned to Earth two years ago and brought Earth’s Inhuman population to Kree attention, we’ve been monitoring the situation on Earth. Our sources have confirmed that since Terrigen entered the Earth’s water supply there have been humans with Inhuman heritage—descendants of those who stayed behind when we moved to the Moon—undergoing Terrigenesis unexpectedly. The Earth’s governments are threatening their freedom and even their lives. The Kree are certainly here to capture them for their own purposes. We can’t just leave them to their fate.”
Maximus: “And why not? They aren’t our citizens. Shouldn’t we look out for our own people?”
Black Bolt gives Medusa a look. Medusa: “The King has decreed that these new Inhumans are our people. It is not our fault that they are transforming now; it is not their fault that their ancestors did not come with us. But they are our bloodline, and their wellbeing does concern us.”
At this point the group breaks up, and we get to see some more personal character dynamics: Crystal and Medusa walking together with Lockjaw in a garden and talking about their family growing up. Karnak, Gorgon, and Triton talking about the situation with the Kree. Black Bolt and Medusa having a quiet moment together (*ducks*). Maximus and Auran discussing the city’s defenses and the Royal Guard’s capability to defend against the Kree. This is interspersed with scenes showing more of life on Attilan, such as the soldiers training under Gorgon’s supervision, while Triton oversees the crews servicing Attilan’s small “navy.” All of this goes to set up the idyllic view of Attilan which is going to be crushed when the series itself begins.
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Maximus and Black Bolt interrogate the Kree prisoner (revealed to be Captain Mar-Vell) together: Maximus interrogates him, and threatens him with Black Bolt “interrogating” him—one word (“Why?”) that he would never get to answer! During the interrogation they learn that the Kree Empire did receive a transmission from the Kree “hunters” (on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3), revealing the presence of Inhumans on Earth. The Kree weren’t going to do anything at first, but the Supreme Intelligence decided to “collect” as many as they could due to the deteriorating political conditions in the galaxy—Thanos is starting to amass an army (even if that’s not stated explicitly, it’s at least implied). In other words, the Kree have to succeed because their Empire’s very existence may hinge on the success of their mission. This may also be accentuated by giving the Kree commander a little more development, showing him to be a good commander who is obeying the orders of the Supreme Intelligence even though he doesn’t like the idea of abducting people from their homes just to feed the Kree war machine.
Eventually all of this comes to a head when the Kree forces return for a second attack, this time against Attilan itself. The Kree land on the Moon outside of Attilan’s protective dome, and Gorgon leads the Royal Guard and Inhuman Army against the Kree Army. This gives us our second massive fight sequence, complete with Inhuman fliers flying all over the place and shooting energy or lightning or fire or something at the Kree—and all of this taking place against the moonscape (this would (hopefully) be an amazing visual in IMAX, with all kinds of action and effects—think the airport scene from Captain America: Civil War, but with more characters). Triton leads the Inhuman fighters against the Kree space forces above the Moon, driving them back. However, the Kree eventually breach Attilan’s defenses and Gorgon must fall back, but the rest of the Royal Family (minus Black Bolt) is waiting, along with the remainder of the Royal Guard. They fight through the streets of Attilan, laying waste to much of the city, and all the residents must participate in the defense. This offers another opportunity to show off the IMAX technology, highlighting the beauty and destruction of Attilan.
At the last moment, when things are looking most dire for the Inhumans, Black Bolt flies overhead (under his own power, of course) and unleashes a concussive energy wave into the middle of the Kree force, flattening them and rallying the defenders. Gorgon and Karnak lead a charge that overruns the Kree line, while Maximus rallies the lower caste miners to cave in a portion of the city under the Kree and charge out in the confusion. Meanwhile, Black Bolt flies out into the moonscape, lands in front of the cluster of Kree landers, and (using the slight atmosphere caused by a breach in Attilan’s dome) whispers “goodbye,” obliterating all the landers but one, which Gorgon and the Royal Guard herd the surviving Kree into. All except Mar-Vell, who remains with the Inhumans as a prisoner/hostage.
The remaining Kree ship turns toward home, but the Kree General radios Attilan: “You have certainly proven your point for today, but this isn’t over. The Kree Empire isn’t done with their military experiments. Next time the Kree Empire visits, they won’t be turned back so easily.”
Medusa: “We will be ready for them.” End transmission.
Karnak: “Umm… how do you propose that we will be ready for them? We barely survived this assault, and that only because the Kree attack had a flaw that their numbers couldn’t overcome. Our defense had countless flaws—only by luck did they not take advantage.”
Gorgon: “We will be ready. We will begin preparing our forces at once.”
Maximus: “What forces? Our people can’t sustain a prolonged defense against the Kree Empire. Attilan can’t support enough people for that.”
Black Bolt makes a gesture. Medusa: “The King must ponder our next move. For now, see to the rebuilding of Attilan and preparation of our forces. Leave us for now.” Another gesture. “Everyone but Triton.”
Everyone else leaves, leaving Black Bolt, Medusa, and Triton together. Medusa: “The King has an assignment for you. You must travel at once to Earth. We have watched from a distance for too long as the humans hunt down and persecute our family on Earth. You must find these new Inhumans and bring them back here. We will keep them safe, and we will need their help to repel the next Kree attack.”
Triton: “Yes, my King and Queen, but why me? I don’t exactly ‘blend in.’”
Medusa: “That may work to your advantage. Many of these new Inhumans have undergone physical changes, and seeing that Attilan’s representative does not look human may help them trust you. And in any event, you cannot use Eldrac or Lockjaw. You will take a shuttle, and you are our best pilot.”
Triton: “Very well. I shall obey.”
The movie then concludes by panning out from Maximus helping the lower caste repair the gaping hole in the ground, to the rest of the Royal Family and Attilan’s citizens rebuilding the city above, to Black Bolt and Medusa observing from the palace, and finally to Triton flying out of the dome and turning toward Earth.
So that is how I would have pitched the Inhumans “prequel movie” to take full advantage of the opportunity afforded by an IMAX premiere. This would give each main cast member an opportunity to shine in several scenes, create a secondary plot against which to set Maximus’ coup during the series (he is taking over because he believes that he is better suited to prepare the Inhumans for the impending second Kree invasion), and offer a definite resolution that is still leaves major plot threads dangling for the series to resolve.
In short, I think this would give people a reason to actually see Marvel’s Inhumans in IMAX!
Do you like this idea? Are you going to watch Inhumans in theaters? How would you fix this pilot/movie? Let me know in the comments!