The real reason why Secret Invasion is so special is because it’s different. In a world where ‘superhero fatigue’ is a buzzword and gets traction on Twitter, it really means that people are getting tired of the same formula for superhero media. Whether it’s DC or Marvel, the movies start becoming similar. They start crossing paths. These days, it’s all about multiverses and humongous arcs for characters.
Secret Invasion takes exactly what Marvel used to do with their movies, take superheroes and cross them with another genre. That way, they end up feeling fresh and new. This time, we take Nick Fury’s character and put him in a paranoid thriller featuring shapeshifting aliens that you can’t tell who they are before it’s too late. Add to that some real-life parallels between paranoia and fears that people might have at this moment, and you have a recipe for an excellent series.
This review is for the first two episodes of Secret Invasion, and it picks up right where we left Nick Fury before. You don’t need to if you haven’t caught up on Marvel. If you stopped watching with Avengers: Endgame or Spider-Man: Far From Home, you’ll know that Nick Fury has been in space since the Avengers defeated Thanos. He’s been away from human contact, trying to find the Skrulls a new home and avoiding whatever is eating away at him.
Then he gets a call from an old friend that sets off the events of Secret Invasion. It turns out that Skrulls have infiltrated all aspects of human life and are calling the shots about our most important decisions. Some of these rogue Skrulls come from the same group that Fury saved in Captain Marvel.
The Acting, Pacing, And Action Are Top Notch In Secret Invasion
Secret Invasion is among the MCU’s most brutal and violent entries so far. Blood, gore, violence, and some things could really push the PG-13 rating here. Gravik (played by Kingsley Ben-Adir) and his group are ruthless, but there are some equally ruthless characters on the human side as well.
We all know that Samuel L. Jackson is an awesome actor and one of the best comic-book characters ever in Nick Fury. He’s done more than enough to take that title from anyone. However, he somehow steps up his game with Secret Invasion more. There are two scenes in particular, one with Talos (played excellently again by Ben Mendelsohn) and another with Don Cheadle. The one with Talos gives us an even greater look at what shaped Nick Fury into the man that he is today and why he does what he does. The other with Cheadle is a tennis match of a conversation that almost ends in explosive fashion. It’s a heartbreaker that goes to show that there’s more depth to this series than first thought.
Ben Mendelsohn continues his excellent role from Captain Marvel and almost steals the show from Sam Jackson once again. He’s older and wiser but just as hopeful and merciful as his previous character. His performance, combined with some excellent work from Cobie Smulders, gives this show a bite and an emotional side that is missing from some MCU content.
There are some other excellent performances, like from Olivia Colman; who is particularly unsavory, and Emilia Clarke, but diving into their characters would be too big of a spoiler for the first two episodes. Colman, in particular, is not at all what I was expecting.
If there’s one feeling that you get while watching Secret Invasion, it’s paranoia. Kyle Bradstreet and the crew tapped into that feeling right from afar. You can’t trust anyone. Whatever Nick Fury is feeling as he talks to who he thought were his friends is there for the audience to feel. In a sea of TV shows, movies, and other media that starts to feel the same, Secret Invasion brings back that new and interesting feeling to MCU TV.
Secret Invasion premieres on Disney+ on June 21st, 2023.
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