Hate Is A Strong Word: Marvel’s Inhumans (Spoilers)

INhumansI finally took the time to view the highly-anticipated, critically-panned premiere of Marvel’s Inhumans, a new comic series on ABC. The show compliments the MCU’s already established TV narrative about a race of beings with extraordinary abilities. Viewed as abnormal they reside on the moon under the reign of a king and queen. But when a coup ruptures their kingdom, the royal family is forced to flee to Earth.

Expectations were high for the series, as Marvel aimed to capitalize off their wildly popular cinematic and television universes. However their latest ventures – last year’s Iron Fist and this summer’s The Defenders – both failed to deliver on the same level as their predecessors.  And unfortunately, Inhumans has followed this downward trend.

Frankly it’s failure to launch after the success of ABC’s Agents of SHIELD was puzzling. Of course SHIELD had it’s own issues early on, but it seemed to fair much better even with the blemishes. And it has since become one of the better superhero shows on TV.

What’s wrong with Inhumans? A lot. But let me start with what I did enjoy. I love that they’re in Hawaii. The destination is vast and gorgeous; and, it specifically highlights a multitude of Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders actors. Something we don’t see everyday on TV or in film. I also enjoyed some of the fight scenes – specifically with Maximus’ diabolical right hand.

Speaking of Maximus he is pretty good in all his scenes, given he is the axis of the plot. I also enjoyed Karnak. These two along with Medusa delivered some of my favorite moments.

Now the bad:

  • The pacing for two episodes was not good.
    • There was no time to establish these new characters strong enough to care about them. A 10-minute stop-animation prologue to describe their history would have been great. And then we could have seen the familial bond among them and their people. Instead of rushing the coup at the end of episode one, they could have saved the betrayal as the cliffhanger in the second episdoe, making Maximus’ eventual turn more dramatic, unexpected.
  • Some scenes were so horribly acted/dramatized they became hilarious.
    • The opening scene with Triton was horrendous. The dialogue was elementary and his demise so early carried no emotional weight
    • The actress playing the princess is the weakest link in ALL her scenes. She’s giving high school theater and it’s uncomfortable
    • Gorgon’s encounter with the surfers felt incredibly tone deaf (thematically and racially) and added nothing to the story
    • Medusa’s scalping was unintentionally hilarious; where did Maximus find clippers?
    • The dynamic between the cop from Barbershop and Felicity Smoak’s doppelganger is incredibly basic and keenly sexist. Maybe it was suppose to be sexist but why? And how could he not believe in her theory when he lives in a world with Iron Man?
    • The Inhumans’ inconsistent knowledge of Earth made for some vast plot holes. Black Bolt doesn’t know what handcuffs are, but Medusa knows what a bus is. How have they examined Earth from a far and not know anything about its culture and/or customs?
    • There isn’t a single black woman or girl in Hawaii or in Attila. Why come we never can give a sister some play?

Those were my main gripes. I may give the third episode a chance (SHIELD did get it together) but I can’t promise anything. From initial thoughts, to the trailer, IMAX reviews and now the actual premiere, bad has been the constant synopsis. If this misfires, hopefully it fades as quietly as Black Bolt appears in all his scenes. If not we do have Netflix’s The Punisher, Hulu’s Runaways and Fox’s The Gifted to drown it out.

Q3: Say lil bih….

  1. The Story of O.J. | Jay-Z killed his ego and brought us Shawn Carter on 4:44 – the vulnerable, imperfect husband and father. Never before had we heard him being so honest.
  2. $lay | Meek Mill ft. A&AP Ferg
  3. Magnolia | Playboi Carti
  4. Bodak Yellow | We met Cardi B. via Mona Scott. The instant reality star soon realized Love & Hip-Hop’s true potential, and catapulted off that success. Years later her song is #2 on the Billboard charts.
  5. Good Drank | 2 Chainz ft. Gucci Mane & Quavo
  6. Family Feud | Jay-Z ft. Beyoncé
  7. Party | The artist we love to hate dropped another meaningless single — but it knocks. I can’t sing a single verse, but as soon as the chorus hits:Smary Guy
  8. Bring Dem Things | French Montana ft. Pharrell
  9. Hands | Father
  10. BAM | Jay-Z ft. Damian Marley
  11. ELEMENT. | Kendrick Lamar
  12. Sorry Not Sorry | Demi consistently improves as the Christina of this generation’s Disney divas. While Selena meddles in whispers, and Miley in whiteness, Demi gives us vocals and seasoning.
  13. Midnight | Jessie Ware
  14. Careless | Daley ft. Chiiild
  15. Want You Back | HAIM
  16. Late Nights & Heartbreak | Hannah Williams & The Affirmations dropped this album last year. 4:44 put me on the soulful force as the basis for the title track. Hannah sings down. 
  17. RAF | A$AP Mob ft. A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Quavo, Lil Uzi Vert & Frank Ocean
  18. do re mi | blackbear ft. Gucci Mane
  19. Heat | Aaron Camper
  20. What They Say | The gem that gave us “Truffle Butter.” And for THAT, Maya Jane Coles, I say your name.
  21. Sky Walker | Miguel ft. Travis Scott
  22. Stingy | Elijah Blake
  23. No Limit | G-Eazy ft. A$SAP Rocky & Cardi B
  24. Love So Soft | The ORIGINAL American Idol has always delivered. And she’s back on a new label with a sound honoring R&B tendencies of 90s legend. A class Kelly can easily be associated with vocally.
  25. Through Enough | VanJess ft. GoldLink
  26. Attitude | Leikeli47
  27. Think Bout That | A searingly personal song from UK import Jessie J has to be her best single. Ever. I was always aware of her talent, but something was missing before.
  28. Hello | Ledisi
  29. Dive | Tiffany Gouche will take her sensual R&B on tour with Daley as an artist who isn’t leaving her sexuality out of her art.

N.O.T. | Fall TV preview

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Summer is ending as the days will soon be shorter. The darkness of dawn will greet us in the morning for work.  We’ll trade shorts and tank tops for flannel and corduroys. The summer bin of bargain television will be replaced with the return of prime time series. Here are the few returning and new shows that have peaked my interest. (Subject to change) Continue reading N.O.T. | Fall TV preview

N.O.T.: Marvel’s ‘The Defenders’ Ep 5-8

nacion.comI finished the series Saturday evening and I must say, after the slow start Marvel’s The Defenders found it’s pace and never ceased to amaze. Once our foursome finally faced their enemy – The Hand – things popped off. Some highlights from the latter episodes without spoiling everything.

  1. Sowande should have been Diamondback | The mysterious man in the white suit recruiting footmen in Harlem should have been Luke’s arch nemesis. It would have connected the Cage series to The Hand from jump, and given us a far more formidable villain after Cottonmouth. He was menacing and cruel without coming off hokey. And he could fight Luke without the help of exploding bullets or juiced up armor. A definite missed opportunity to make Luke Cage a great series rather than just good.
  2. Matt Murdock doesn’t deserve Karen or Foggy | At every turn Matt has to dodge their criticism of him wearing the Daredevil mask. As if he does not know the risk. I don’t know why they could not accept what Matt had long ago realized. It’s who he is and will forever be. Can’t stand the heat, get out of Hell’s Kitchen.
  3. We have to get Daughters of the Dragon | Misty and Colleen have met. The inevitable better be coming. Especially since Rand is handling Misty in her time of need near the end of the series. Give us their show and let us watch Misty and Ms. Wing put in work. They both deserve.
  4. A Problem Like Iron Fist | I still haven’t watched the series, but Danny Rand — at least this iteration — is annoying AF. If he isn’t proclaiming his name like Captain Obvious to anyone who will listen, he’s self-sabotaging his namesake by being a complete idiot. How can the catalyst for this series be the weakest link? By the end he’s more tolerable, but he’s also missing from at least three episodes which helps.
  5. Bring on Jessica Jones S2 | The nonchalant delinquent detective shines throughout the series. Krysten Ritter nails Jones’ perfectly unbothered by everything mentality. And made me thirsty for her story again, which is hands down the best single season of any of the series. ARGUE WITH YOUR MOTHER!

Those are all my points. Let me know what you thought in the comments. Oh, and btw – The Punisher is coming….

Hate Is a Strong Word: ‘The Defenders’ Ep 1-4

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Marvel set a tone for their mature Netflix series beginning with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and the somewhat lukewarm Luke Cage. Accompanying that tone was a level of hype and anticipation with each new series. It’s peak definitely soared with the groundbreaking debut of Cage’s edition. Sadly it was missed with the tumultuous release of the latest hero-for-hire — Iron Fist.  Continue reading Hate Is a Strong Word: ‘The Defenders’ Ep 1-4

No Concessions: Spider-Man: Homecoming

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I sat in anticipation as the theater began to fill. Kids aged three to 43 filed in with their overpriced popcorn, candy and sodas to view the newest Marvel entry — Spider-Man: Homecoming. It had been a few years since the last reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield. It was even longer for me, last seeing Toby McGuire in his final go as Peter Parker. With that memory in my database, I hadn’t been the least bit interested in another installment.

But Spidey’s cameo in Captain America: Civil War peaked my interest. The subsequent campaign for his solo film sounded more promising, with a coveted bonus: diversity. Marvel Studios and Sony promised a true reflection of our bustling, multi-colored world. One that always existed despite media’s depiction of a paler place.

After the half hour of trailers, I sat concessions-free immersed into this familiar narrative. Luckily it was totally refreshing. Being the story has existed since the 1960’s, it felt as new and daring as it had been for me back in the early 2000’s. Now a new generation of fans could appreciate Peter Parker in a contemporary light.

When a dutiful construction manager (Michael Keaton) is shafted by Stark Industries, he takes matters into his own hands to provide for his family. Wanting to prove he’s more than Tony’s understudy, Peter (Tom Holland) makes it his mission to bring these thugs to justice. Simultaneously Parker is balancing life as a fifteen-year-old kid with crushes (Laura Harrier), bullies (Tony Revolori) and besties (Jacob Batalon, Zendaya).

The film is as much a superhero story as it is a high school dramedy. In hindsight its a coming-of-age tale. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is a brilliant mind at a school for the STEM gifted. As if perils of being a teenager aren’t enough, his hormonal sophomore year is compounded with the fact he’s now the newest member of The Avengers. A secret identity that places him and loved ones in danger’s cross-hairs.

Tom Holland perfects this balance with ease, charming viewers along the way. He has great comedic timing and holds his own in action sequences. When the time is right, he pulls the drama. Keaton is brilliant as the resourceful Toomes/Vulture. His goal isn’t pure evil, which makes his villainy a grey area.

Just as strong is Batalon who plays Ned, Peter’s best friend. As his first major role, Batalon isn’t just an ordinary sidekick, he’s the best man to the union that is Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Zendaya is perfect as nerd Michelle, the millennial MJ. A secret held tightly by Marvel, the reveal is a feel-good moment in the film. Fans cannot wait for her and Peter’s relationship to flourish.

Overall, Spider-Man’s return to the MCU is a fun, action-packed look at the future of the superhero film. One that looks a lot like the neighborhood in which you may reside.