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Should you spend $20+ to see Marvel’s Inhumans in IMAX? Look, it’s your money.

The new ABC series [draws hand across throat] starts a brief theatrical run [waves you away] this weekend [frantic head shaking].

Marvel’s Inhumans
Lockjaw is a giant bulldog, and maybe seeing him will entice you to watch this show. Please read the rest of this article to garner further thoughts on that.
Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

I can’t tell you not to spend more than $20 of your money on Marvel’s Inhumans in IMAX.

For starters, I’ve only seen half of the 90-ish-minute presentation that will be shown in IMAX theaters beginning September 1 (before its ABC debut on September 22 — both versions of the premiere will be subtly different from each other). And what I have seen was clearly marked as “incomplete” and “not for review.”

There is every possibility that in the three weeks since I watched 40-some minutes of this show and now, everyone involved figured out how to make it not a catastrophe.

But I have my doubts.

For starters, the warning that Inhumans was incomplete would seem to apply mostly to the show’s visual effects, which did indeed have some glitchy qualities to work out. That’s common for TV shows with big special effects sequences, which are often tweaked and finessed up until the very last minute. And when you consider that Inhumans boasts the most significant computer-generated character in TV history (a teleporting giant bulldog named Lockjaw), it’s easy to understand why it would remain a work in progress until the very last second.

But I can overlook incomplete effects. I’ve been doing it for years. (My first major assignment was reviewing Battlestar Galactica every week, and that show almost never had completed effects on its screeners.) The key factor in this equation is that the visual effects are one of the last things added to a series — they can’t compensate for bad writing, incompetent direction, or listless performances.

And because this is not a time when I can publish an official review, I will say no more, except that I am highly, highly doubtful that completed effects will fix what’s wrong with Inhumans. All the spiffy teleporting bulldogs in the world won’t be able to overcome this series’ issues.

So, look, I can’t tell you not to spend $20-plus to see the show in IMAX before it officially premieres on ABC. It’s your money, not mine. But one function that critics can serve is that of consumer service — advising you against spending money on something that might make you wish you had spent it on anything else.

What I can tell you is that there are many great things you could spend $20 on this weekend. There are so many good movies out right now. You could buy a novel and read it. You could go bowling or mini golfing or whatever it is the kids are doing these days.

Of course, there are also a lot of things that I definitely wouldn’t spend $20 on this weekend, and I hope you can catch my drift by implication and we don’t get to later in September, when I can actually spell out all of this subtext, only to have you moan, “I wish you had warned me!” That’s what Marvel and ABC are counting on happening — and I hope I’ve winked and nudged just hard enough to clue you in to the fact that $20 could buy enough gas to take you on an excellent mini-road trip, far, far away from any IMAX theaters.

Marvel’s Inhumans is showing in IMAX theaters this weekend and will debut on ABC on Friday, September 22.

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