Secret Invasion

Secret Invasion

Disney+ Series
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Samuel L. Jackson is back as Nick Fury in the Marvel spinoff Secret Invasion, following Fury and Talos as they try to stop the Skrulls who have infiltrated the highest spheres of the universe.

Let’s get this stated up front as it bears being the headline point about Marvel’s new series, Secret Invasion: the use of AI to ‘create’ the intro sequence.

For a company founded off the artwork of countless artists and riding the financial success of such fruitful human imagination to not only abandon them in favour of a machine algorithm driven by prompts, but use a tool that inherently steals the work of actual artists uncredited and unpaid in order to function is gross, insulting, and infuriating.

So, the show. Based on the comic book crossover series written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by long time Marvel illustrator Leinil Francis Yu, Secret Invasion is a series created by Kyle Bradstreet.

What Is Secret Invasion About?

It picks up plot lines introduced in the Captain Marvel film. Namely, shapeshifting Skrulls, formerly working with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) but now disillusioned by his failure to deliver on promises, have infiltrated all aspects of human society.

Despite being a central important figure in virtually all the Marvel output since the original Iron Man film, the character of Nick Fury has kept up a level of mystique.

Here, Jackson gets the chance to explore new aspects of his long running character. This Fury is older, less sure of himself, and struggling to keep up after 5 years lost to the Blip.

Secret Invasion may have machinations as to classic spycraft stories but this is still the Marvel machine so things hardly go all 24 on us, despite Olivia Coleman channelling her inner Dolores Umbridge for the obligatory torture scene.

Jackson is a clear highlight of the show. His occasionally strained relationship with Skrull cohort Talos (Ben Mendelsohn reprising his Captain Marvel role) provides the emotional core: what is trust worth?

Mendelsohn’s hangdog weariness can shift from sarcastic to snarling in a heartbeat. He challenges Fury’s ‘rewriting of history’ in a manner not seen before.

Yet through a slow start Secret Invasion has little interest in actually plumbing the material available from a foe that could be anyone. We quickly learn that a bunch of high profile humans have been replaced by Skrulls, which undercuts the potential for mystery. 

The murky world of double identity gets an intriguing opening scene (via a guest return appearance from Martin Freeman), but is quickly abandoned for showing you most of its cards up front.

Secret Invasion Official Trailer

Is Secret Invasion Worth Watching?

Squandered opportunity doesn’t ruin a show, but is a shame. There are some great ingredients here.

Antagonist Skrull Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) has a powerful force about him as he seeks to claim Earth as the new Skrull home (at the expense of humanity). The ability to take on any face may be underused, but Ben-Adir has enough simmering fury to be a worthy foe for the same named.

Scenes like the strained one between Fury and Rhodey (Don Cheadle, The Guard) are gold, whatever the format. Rhodey, donning a suit rather than his War Machine armour, plays a political role that clashes with Fury’s self-determined work.

The quality of the writing as he lambasts a visibly surprised Fury is the sort of dialogue that keeps Secret Invasion from feeling like an exercise in any old thriller mechanics.

Secret Invasion has a dossier of tricks it could still pull, despite the evidence of the first half of episodes. Perhaps it is hiding in plain sight?

Whilst spies, like an algorithm, can only ape what seems to be required at the time, the only measure of success or failure will be if the spymaster in the background can pull the right strings.

Words by Mike Record

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  • Good Central Characters
  • Some Scenes With Great Dialogue
  • Explores Unseen Aspects


  • Underuses Its Central Concept
  • Slow Start
  • Reveals A Lot Up Front


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