Marvel is back with – perhaps – the darkest Disney+ series ever.
Secret invasion returns with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos, along with new cast members including Olivia Colman and Emilia Clarke. The series explores the Skrulls, a shape-shifting alien race introduced in 2019’s Captain Marvel.
Comic fans may notice that Secret Invasion is a departure from the story of the same name. This story also involved Skrulls secretly spying on Earthlings by taking human form and working to conquer the planet. However, it was a larger and much more flashy event that featured pretty much every Avenger in the roster.
The Disney+ series still seems to have those doomsday (or at least doomsday) series.Change) is at stake, but is comparatively a more personal and grounded story. If you don’t count Talos with his shapeshifting abilities and James Rhodes without a War Machine suit, there’s hardly a superhero in sight in the first two installments of the series.
Nick Fury takes center stage in Secret Invasion
Nick Fury has so far been conspicuously absent from the Multiverse saga. Other projects like Captain Marvel gave audiences a deeper look into the character, but Secret Invasion takes it a step further. After the incident, Fury is just a shell of his former self. He has more doubts and fears than we’ve ever seen from the stoic leader. The series centers on his struggle to overcome his trauma – and contain a Skrull insurgency before it’s too late.
Secret Invasion shares one thing in common with its source material: the ongoing “Who’s a Skrull?” hook. Viewers are kept on their toes and suspicious of everyone. Things have changed since the end of Captain Marvel, when Skrulls arrived on Earth and integrated into human society. While the fugitive Skrulls saw Earth as a place of hope and opportunity, decades later, Fury’s promises have still not been fulfilled.
Despite that explanation, it’s admittedly disturbing and disappointing to see that the Skrulls – who were subverted as innocent fugitives rather than the expected villains in Captain Marvel – have been altered to a combative demeanor for the sake of comic accuracy. Some fans might have wished for that, but Marvel Studios is playing fast and loose with elements of comic continuity that they still hold onto. Because of this, it’s hard to say who they’re trying to make happy here.
A few disappointments so far
It’s also surprising that Marvel Studios went down the miniseries route for such a big comics event. Surely this could have been fertile ground for a full film. Yes, the concept of this show works for a series, and the writers manage to end the first two episodes in an interesting place. Still, Secret Invasion feels more like a five-episode expanded picture as opposed to a realized series.
Secret Invasion also makes a tired, predictable writing choice in the opening episode. Without giving it away, it’s a cheap “twist” that serves as a catalyst for some subsequent events within the series. That could – and should – Added more groundwork up front to make it feel less trite. From the looks of it, it just feels lazy.
Secret Invasion delivers things that some Marvel fans have been asking for for a while. It’s dark, somber and (mostly) free of jokes. The problem so far is that the first two episodes don’t offer a strong audience engagement beyond the original concept. I’m intrigued but not particularly committed. That’s a problem for a project that requires viewers to tune in week in and week out.
Disclosure: Disney provided the media with the first two episodes of Secret Invasion and as such this review is based entirely on the first third of that six episode series and should not be taken as representative of the series as a whole.