Secret Invasion Seeks to Change Marvel’s Status Quo

The first two episodes of Secret Invasion leave one wondering just how much this series will change up Marvel’s status quo.

I want to get this out of the way first: two episodes are not enough to judge the limited series. Marvel sent out press screeners for the first two episodes but the series is six episodes in length. Basically, I’m only able to offer my thoughts on Secret Invasion‘s first two hours at this time. It isn’t enough episodes to offer my complete judgement on the series. In that regard, I’ll probably feel differently after the finale airs than I do right now.

It isn’t unlike Marvel to deliver an espionage thriller although Captain America: The Winter Solider is closer in line to the 1970s political thrillers. This series comes close to that but it’s much darker in tone. In terms of its design work, they go for practical over CGI whenever its possible. It’s another thing that sets the series apart from so many of the other Marvel series. Samuel L. Jackson’s work in the limited series is marvelous.

Secret Invasion is one of two Captain Marvel sequels that Marvel Studios is releasing in 2023. The other is The Marvels, due out in theaters this November. I’m also curious to see how this series goes hand in hand with that, if anything. For right now, it is filling in the backstory that we’re probably not getting in the later film. Mainly, what has happened with Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and his family in the past 30 years. But anyway, Secret Invasion is about Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Talos and other allies working to stop a threat from a Skrull faction. One of the biggest choices the make is not remove Fury’s eye patch, which will return in The Marvels.

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Marvel Studios' SECRET INVASION, exclusively on Disney+.
L-R: Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Marvel Studios’ SECRET INVASION, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Des Willie. © 2023 MARVEL.

Here’s what we know: Nick Fury has let the Skrulls down. He was supposed to help them find a new home since the end of Captain Marvel and has not delivered on that front. In fairness, HYDRA was building a sleeper cell inside of S.H.I.E.L.D. There was also the Blip, which Marvel has barely even begun to explore on screen in regards to the fallout. We learn early on about the recent Skrull history once Fury gets called down from S.A.B.E.R. and meets with Talos and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders). Unlike many of his other colleagues, Fury has no superpowers–he is human. How will this impact his outlook on what’s happening? But beyond my own questions, this is a series that makes great use of his own skills in putting him to work.

Secret Invasion is certainly is not messing around during the first two hours. They immediately tell us who the bad guys–led by Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir)–are while pointing out who isn’t who we think we are. It draws on the comic book inspiration in that regard–Skrulls have completely replaced people in the public eye while planning for an invasion. Where are they keeping the original people? Might we be seeing them later on? I certainly have some questions here and two episodes, again, are not enough, to answer my questions. In fact, they leave me with more questions. I’d like to get into what those questions are but they’ll be spoilers for people who have not watched the series.

Emilia Clarke as G'iah and Ben Mendelsohn as Talos in Marvel Studios' SECRET INVASION, exclusively on Disney+.
L-R: Emilia Clarke as G’iah and Ben Mendelsohn as Talos in Marvel Studios’ SECRET INVASION, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Des Willie. © 2023 MARVEL.

G’iah (Emilia Clarke) has grown up since the last time we saw her. Unfortunately, she’s joined up with Gravik and his splinter cell. Her actions, in part, help drive the plot in the first two hours. Audiences are also introduced to to another one of Fury’s contacts, MI6 agent Sonya Falsworth (Olvia Colman), who is not pleased about his return to Earth.

The series, while an espionage thriller, is darker in tone. It just might be the darkest thing Marvel has ever done to date. No matter which direction we look, the series is asking us whether or not we can trust that person (or Skrull). It’s a thriller that brings about a solid mix of political and paranoia. Like they said on The X-Files: trust no one. At the end of the day, you can only trust your own gut instincts and Fury does exactly that.

Secret Invasion, in its first two hours, is different from anything Marvel has done before as audiences wonder who they can trust.

DIRECTOR: Ali Selim
HEAD WRITER: Kyle Bradstreet
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Kevin Feige, Jonathan Schwartz, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, Samuel L. Jackson, Ali Selim, Kyle Bradstreet, Brian Tucker
CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Jennifer L. Booth, Allana Williams, Brant Englestein
CAST: Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Cobie Smulders, Martin Freeman, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Charlayne Woodard, Killian Scott, Samuel Adewunmi, Dermot Mulroney, Christopher McDonald, Katie Finneran, with Emilia Clarke, with Olivia Colman, and Don Cheadle

Disney+ will launch Marvel’s Secret Invasion on June 21, 2023. New episodes of the 6-episode series will premiere weekly. Grade: 3.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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