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Premiere Review - Secret Invasion (Spoiler-Free)

Who do you trust?

Secret Invasion is a 2023 science fiction superhero mystery thriller miniseries directed by Ali Selim, created by Kyle Bradstreet, produced by Marvel Studios, and distributed by Disney+. The series is based off of Marvel's 2008 crossover run of the same name. It stars Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders. This is the forty-third project in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, being the ninth TV show. It was preceded by Captain Marvel, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and will be followed by The Marvels.

"There is no shame in walking away when the steps are uncertain." - Maria Hill


When Nick Fury gets wind of a dangerous threat arising on Earth, he returns from his advanced space station to reunite with Talos and Maria Hill. Fury now must face the shapeshifting Skrulls as they use their power to slowly take power and eventually declare Earth as their new home.

The Sweet

Thus far, the biggest problem with the Multiverse Saga has been comedy undercutting tension and drama. We saw it in Shang-Chi, Love and Thunder, Quantumania, and more. Secret Invasion does not do that. This is the darker, grittier show that the trailers made it out to be. From the first scene, we establish a threat and how dangerous it can be, giving the whole show this overarching sense of dread that makes you feel very tense and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The stakes here also feel huge. This series feels like a tight, dark paranoia thriller with this world-altering stakes that, like I said, are established in the very first scene. They balance these huge stakes with personal stakes involving Talos and his relationship with some of the Skrulls. I like how they added these extra layers to make the show feel more complex and deep. It elevates the intensity and investment that you as the viewer will experience.

The direction and cinematography in this pilot also felt pretty awesome and a bit higher than what Marvel usually gives us. The opening scene is incredibly well-directed, and the rest of the episode feels like it is crafted with a little more style and expertise than something like Ms. Marvel. The final little set piece of this episode has some really cool directorial efforts that seem to be overlooked in early reviews. I really, really enjoyed that aspect of it. It helps separate this from the rest of the MCU shows.

I'd say this show is off to a really solid start. I'm hoping it can maintain its stride throughout the next five weeks.

The Sour

I have one major problem with Secret Invasion that I didn't realize I had until this episode aired. I don't think the concept of a Nick Fury-led show works.

Nick Fury is supposed to be the puppet master behind the MCU. He's a mysterious figure that pops up in various movies to offer some wisdom and do some cool things. That's what makes him awesome. He's a great spice character. But he cannot and should not lead his own show.

As soon as he appears on screen, it's awkward, because we see him being kind of a normal person with normal interactions. He and Maria Hill are friends. He and Talos are friends. And they act like friends. But through fifteen years of the MCU, we've never seen Nick Fury act like this. He's always serious and mysterious. Even in the movies where he stars, like The Avengers or Winter Soldier or Captain Marvel, we never dive deep into his character. He's like a shadow. He's cast over the MCU, but there isn't anything actually there. He works much better as the mysterious leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. and founder of the Avengers. I do think they are setting up some interesting things with his character, but I just am yet to get behind the concept of him being the main protagonist of this show.

I also thought that the story kind of hops around with explanation a bit too much. This is a problem that can be fixed with later episodes as we kind of explain what happened before the secret invasion began, but this episode starts with us in the middle of the Skrull rebellion. It's never made exactly clear why it started in the first place. There are implications made, but nothing concrete. They also don't explain why Fury left or how long he was gone for. They imply, but they never outright state anything. Rhodey's in this episode for a quick minute. They don't explain what he's doing. Olivia Colman's character shows up out of nowhere with no introduction. I don't know who she is. They don't explain her at all. That was very frustrating to me, because it felt like these were things that required a lot more explanation than we got.

Also, there's a major thing that happens at the end of this episode, and I am not sure how I feel about it. It's an absolutely enormous plot point that involves a character who has been in the MCU for a very long time, and I felt like it was not treated with the weight and respect that it should've been treated with.

Final Thoughts

Secret Invasion is a bit clunky in some of its plot elements and I'm not entirely behind the idea of a Fury-led show, but otherwise, this was a promising first episode and I hope it can maintain this quality throughout.

Fun Factor: 8.5/10

Acting: 7.5/10

Story: 8/10

Characters: 8/10

Quality: 8/10

"Secret Invasion"


Directed by Ali Selim

Rated TV-14 for moderate violence, language, disturbing themes and images, thematic elements

Premiered on June 21, 2023

55 minutes

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill

Ben Mendelsohn as Talos

Emilia Clarke as G'iah

Olivia Colman as Sonya Falsworth

Kingsley Ben-Adir as Gravik

Killian Scott as Pagon

Richard Dormer as Agent Prescod

Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross

Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes / War Machine

Dermot Mulroney as President Ritson


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