Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Emilia Clarke, Olivia Colman, Charlayne Woodard, Don Cheadle, and Kingsley Ben-Adir
Creator: Kyle Bradstreet
The MCU could have benefited from Secret Invasion’s grounded tone about three years ago… as a movie. Finally getting to know Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) through a stunning post-blip examination, propelled by actors ACTING their asses off, generates an intensely thrilling first four episodes. Kingsley Ben-Adir is ferociously intimidating, Jackson’s dynamic with Ben Mendelsohn and Charlayne Woodard is organically brilliant, and Olivia Colman and Don Cheadle are deliciously mischievous. But the 6-episode structure continues to be this medium’s downfall, dampening the early successes with a rushed, uninspired, and disappointing ending to what was initially becoming the MCU’s best Disney+ series.
Guys, I think it might have finally happened: I may have contracted the dreaded Marvel Fatigue. I say that because, terrible finale aside, I can’t point to one explicitly “bad” thing about Secret Invasion. It’s all, at best, very serviceable, from the action to the acting. However, I just could not bring myself to care about any of it. Maybe it’s because it builds on characters from Captain Marvel (one of my least favorite MCU movies), or maybe it’s just a boring, superficial take on a popular story that deserved much, much more. Either way, this is one of the least engaging MCU shows yet.
I did not like Secret Invasion. I don’t think it’s Marvel Fatigue talking either; I just think this show is bad. The cast does a good job, namely Samuel L. Jackson in the best portrayal of Nick Fury in the MCU, and there is some intrigue hidden in there somewhere, but not enough to hold my attention beyond the Fury of it all. Instead, what we get are stakes that I never felt, uninteresting writing, and to be blunt, an embarrassing final episode. I wanted to like Secret Invasion, but I simply didn’t have much reason to.
Secret Invasion proves once again that Marvel Czar Kevin Feige is stretched way too thin. With such a subpar script, this show felt like it didn’t warrant a series at all. It’s ultimately unfortunate because Secret Invasion is filled with a stacked cast, from Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) to Olivia Colman (Sonya Falsworth), who deliver the best performances they possibly can despite dealing with this weak story. With the miniseries overall being mediocre, it admittedly ended with some big ideas that could come to fruition in future MCU projects.
Were it not for its connection to the wider MCU, Secret Invasion would be a fine – if mostly disposable – limited series. Unfortunately, that connection is simultaneously its most alluring element and the thing that ultimately undoes it all. It begins interestingly enough, with Kingsley Ben-Adir’s Gravik seeming a good foil for Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) inaction vis-à-vis the Skrulls, but the writing quickly turns him into a caricature, along with most other characters. In fact, the only performer having any fun seems to be Olivia Colman. And it all comes with newfound continuity errors that cheapen previous MCU growth. What a mess.