Secret Invasion is here, but is it any good?
After first being announced all the way back in 2019, four years later, Disney+'s Secret Invasion series is finally a reality.
With all of its delays and substantial reshoots, some fans were concerned about how the show’s quality would end up. So was all the worry warranted in the end?
How Did Secret Invasion End Up?
Before getting started, a disclaimer: Marvel Studios only offered up the first two of six episodes to press in advance, so all of the following thoughts are based solely on those installments.
The overall verdict? It’s a solid start.
Here's the thing; there’s a key part of this show that will play a big role in whether it hits the spot for many: it’s slow.
The more casual pace is an entirely intentional choice for the story being told, but it's still very much an espionage thriller at heart. Fans shouldn't go into it expecting non-stop action sequences or close-call shoot-ups, at least early on.
Despite the show containing plenty of intrigue, interestingly, the project doesn’t quite have the same buzz potential that WandaVision had weekly. It’s hard to hold that against it, but it’s an observation worth making, given the show’s writers almost certainly wanted a similar conversation starter quality to the project.
What the series does have that WandaVision didn’t is its adult-oriented focus. Secret Invasion is a much darker, grittier, and grounded approach, with a focus on its mature storytelling and harder-hitting violence—though not quite to R-rated levels.
Another Stellar MCU Cast
One of the strongest elements of the series is its glowing cast. Everyone offers a strong performance, with the project taking a character-driven approach.
First and foremost, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is finally getting a proper deep dive and getting the focus he deserves. With only two episodes to go off of, his journey is only just beginning, but it’s already proven to be a very interesting exploration of the iconic spy who has been around since 2008’s Iron Man.
Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos gets an equal amount of time and focus, which is long overdue after his time in Captain Marvel. A lot happened during his time off-screen, and it’s been super intriguing to watch unfold so far.
For those excited about Emilia Clarke’s debut in the MCU, audiences don’t have to wait long to meet her. The actress is a key character from the get-go, and there’s no waiting until the last episode to see what she’s up to.
Only so much can be said about her without revealing any spoilers, but Clarke offers a solid performance and she feels right at home in the MCU.
Another new character joining the party is Olivia Colman's Sonya Falsworth. While the classic definitions of a hero or villain get a little murky, especially in a show like this, Falsworth definitely leans toward villainy.
However, she's excellent and gleefully rides that line of not quite overperforming but remaining grounded. It’s clear she was having a blast every second she was on set.
Then there’s Kingsley Ben-Adir, who plays the Skrull Gravik, the key antagonist of the show. He’s compelling and has an interesting presence whenever he graces the screen—but Gravik will need much more screen time and development before one can truly tell the quality of his addition to the MCU’s rogue gallery.
Connecting to the Wider MCU
Another takeaway from Secret Invasion is how organic it feels to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It naturally incorporates what’s happened so far and satisfyingly brings up long-standing questions, even examining important status quos in this world. While this take on Secret Invasion is nothing like that of its massive comic counterpart, it’s a perfect approach for where the MCU is now.
From Nick Fury going MIA off the planet to the Skrulls being angry at an undelivered promise made to them at the end of Captain Marvel and more—the show’s connections to the wider MCU are satisfying and well-utilized. There are more fun references and incorporated elements to be found, but they’re better saved to be witnessed while watching.
As for the effect the show will have on the MCU by the time it’s all over, so far, it feels destined to make one of the biggest impacts out of Marvel’s shows yet.
A Slow, But Solid Start
At the end of the day, Secret Invasion takes its time telling its story. For some, that will land well, while for others, their interest could easily never take form.
While its character-driven approach does make for a nice change of pace, the series hasn’t developed a truly unique voice or feel just yet, something that is often the saving grace of slower-paced stories.
It’s also worth noting that while it’s hard to point to anything the show does particularly poorly, similarly, it’s difficult to say it does anything tremendously. Just being solid is often not enough for many, especially in an era that’s overflowing with superhero projects.
Despite all that, there’s a good, entertaining story to be had here, especially for those invested in the MCU. However, it is hard to imagine that any non-Marvel fans will go out of their way to watch this.
What will truly make or break this show is how it sticks the landing, which is something that most of Marvel Studios’ previous shows have failed to do. So, no pressure or anything.
Secret Invasion premieres June 21, only on Disney+.