If asked to name the problem with Marvel’s Inhumans, some might point to the quality of the show’s costumes, effects and acting, questionable musical score, or the by-the-numbers script. However, the biggest flaw may be in the drama’s depiction of the revolutionary Maximus as the primary antagonist when he’s clearly the hero of the story — at least, he is so far.
RELATED: Maximus’ Long History of Rebellion
In the two-hour ABC premiere, Maximus is depicted as an outsider, even in a society of outsiders. The younger brother of king Black Bolt, he emerged from Terrigenesis — the process that unlocks the extraordinary abilities encoded within the Inhumans’ genes — with no special powers. If he weren’t a member of the royal family, he’d be consigned to a life working in the mines beneath the lunar city of Attilan, like all the others who lack “gifts.” Maximus never forgets that, in no small part because he’s not permitted to. His cousin Gorgon only somewhat-jokingly suggests he’s “one of them,” the humans of Earth, triggering the expected flash of anger; and a commoner confronts him from a crowd, shouting, “You should be digging in the tunnels with the rest of us!”
Instead of lashing out against the man, Maximus acknowledges he has a point, saying their society’s caste system is unfair, an unfortunate byproduct of their “finite kingdom.” “If we were on Earth,” he counters to the murmuring crowd, “we would have an entire glorious planet to live on — thrive on! Each one of us, imagine that.”
It’s a stirring speech that strikes a chord with the citizens of Attilan, penned into a city of unwelcoming Brutalist architecture where those with extraordinary abilities are celebrated, while the others are shunned and forced to perform labor for the upper levels of society — all the while fearing when (not if) humans will discover their existence. It’s a setting ripe for revolution, and the charismatic Maximus, played by Iwan Rheon of Game of Thrones, is just the one to lead it.
Sure, he’s scheming, envious of his brother’s authority and desirous of Queen Medusa, but Maximus is also frustrated by the status quo, which Black Bolt is determined to preserve. That’s an easy position to take when you’re dining in the royal palace, surrounded by an adoring family. Never mind that those in Attilan without any powers — people just like Maximus — are suffering, in part because the Inhumans are forced to cower, hidden from humanity.
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