Skrullpocalypse: Our Review of ‘Secret Invasion’

Posted in Disney +, What's Streaming? by - June 21, 2023
Skrullpocalypse: Our Review of ‘Secret Invasion’

Debuting this week on Disney + is the newest Marvel television series, Secret Invasion. Starring the man behind the actions of most of Earth’s mightiest heroes, Samuel L. Jackson returns as Nick Fury, seeing the most time he’s had on screen in a Marvel property since 2019’s Captain Marvel. And Secret Invasion uses the events of the Captain Marvel movie to directly lead into what unravels during the 6 episode series.

After intercepting the plans of a faction of Skrulls with world domination in mind, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) reach out to Nick Fury for help. Having been content to hide out on SABRE – the space station he’s overseeing the construction of – after the events of Thanos and the snap, Nick reluctantly agrees to go back to Earth. Fury feels responsible for the promises he made to the Skrulls and ultimately is unable to keep them due to his involvement with the Avengers. 

Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), the leader of the Skrull faction, feels particularly betrayed by Fury, hence his driving need for revenge. But G’iah (Emilia Clarke), Talos’ daughter who has been working for Gravik, starts to have doubts and agrees to help Fury and her father from the inside. Meanwhile, Fury meets up with an old spook (ie spy) from the UK living in Russia named Sonya Falsworth (Olivia Colman) who seemingly has her own agenda when it comes to the Skrulls and doesn’t think that Fury is up to the task anymore.

During the first 2 episodes we were given for advance viewing, we also run into Rhodey (Don Cheadle) as he has now become a full-on emissary for the US government. The show also introduces us to Christopher McDonald’s character which seemingly comes off as a pseudo Tucker Carlson/Alex Jones combo. He spews random conspiracies to confuse his audience while  actually being privy to the Skrull invasion. It’s a star-studded couple of episodes that feel much more like a theatrical espionage thriller than a traditional Marvel TV show. In fact, the explosive final moments of the first episode where we learn the fate of a long-standing MCU character seem to be a call to arms from the creators. Even though this is a show and not a film, no one is fully safe.

It’s fun to see Jackson inhabit such a version of this character, known almost as much for his bravado as Jackson is in real life, as he is now a mere tired shell of his former self. The Fury here more resembles a combination of tired Jason Bourne and a very old Columbo Jackson for his part delivers some of his best acting in a MCU role here and it will be fascinating to see how this story unravels along the way. Olivia Colman also standouts as she just looks to be having a blast. Much like Dame Helen Mirren in a Fast and Furious movie, Colman just seems to be giddy with excitement whenever she’s on screen. Clarke’s role here seems to be building towards something bigger in the overall MCU, and Clarke as usual is up to the task.

Setting the series in Russia also seems aimed to accomplish a real cold war feeling, with the Skrulls replacing the Russians as the invading super power, and the analogy works very well. Not since the Captain America films have we seen the MCU tackle the political arena in such a manner and it works very well. The series has an almost muted/washed out type of feel behind the camera work and design, also leaning in the older world spy espionage aesthetic quite heavily. From what has been seen through the first 2 episodes, the writing is crisp and the audience certainly has more than a few surprises in store for this season.

Secret Invasion (through the first 2 episodes at least) carries the earmarks of being one of the best of the Marvel shows and could be the one that factors most heavily into the coming Marvel films, as the mention of Carol Danvers and the timing of this landing before The Marvels film certainly seem to imply that this will lead into that film. But the old world spy feeling of the series certainly sets it apart from other MCU fare. However the story unravels, it will be interesting to see who truly lives and dies, and who may just be a Skrull after all.

This post was written by
"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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