Marvel Studios has made its triumphant return to Disney+ with the highly anticipated premiere of “Secret Invasion.” This marks the first new episode of MCU TV in over 250 days, and fans couldn’t be more excited. The wait has been particularly long for those who have been yearning to see Nick Fury, portrayed by the iconic Samuel L. Jackson, take the lead. It has been 15 years since Fury first mentioned the Avenger Initiative in the post-credits scene of “Iron Man,” and now, finally, he is behind the wheel of his own Marvel Studios vehicle. But the burning question on everyone’s mind is whether “Secret Invasion” lives up to the hype and was worth the prolonged wait.
The opening shot of the series takes us to present-day Moscow, where Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) finds himself in a mysterious and cryptic situation. Cloaked in darkness under a bridge, Ross engages in a conversation on a burner phone. This scene sets a tense and enigmatic tone, setting the stage for the complex web of secrets that is about to unfold. While the show is set in the present day, it is worth noting that due to the significant events of the Blip in the Marvel timeline, it is likely taking place in 2025. The premiere episode reveals specific details that pinpoint the date as November 4.
“Secret Invasion” centers around the Skrulls, a shape-shifting alien race that made their debut in 2019’s “Captain Marvel.” These refugee aliens have been living among humans for the past 30 years, patiently waiting for a new planet to call home. However, the Blip, which caused many individuals to vanish and then reappear after five years, complicates their plans. Nick Fury, a pivotal figure in the MCU, was among those affected by the Blip. Upon his return, Fury immediately heads to space, leaving his Skrull ally Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) to impersonate him on Earth, as seen in “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” The younger generation of Skrulls, who have grown up during their exile on Earth, form a new plan: if Fury won’t secure them a new planet, they will take Earth for themselves.
To execute their plan, the Skrulls have infiltrated various terrorist organizations worldwide, manipulating them and pitting them against each other. Their leader, Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), is working on a grand scheme that poses a significant threat. Talos, desperate to prevent the Skrull invasion, reaches out to Fury for assistance. However, the Nick Fury who responds to the distress call is battle-worn, elderly, and grappling with PTSD caused by the Blip. The question arises: has Fury become too old for this dangerous game?
“Secret Invasion” shares certain similarities with previous Marvel series, particularly in terms of its tone, aesthetics, and the motivations of its villains. It evokes memories of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” showcasing a similar blend of action, espionage, and character-driven narratives. The potential for unveiling Skrull infiltrations at any moment could potentially inject a touch of the paranoia seen in “Battlestar Galactica.” However, the premiere episode does not explore this avenue as much as one might expect.
In terms of explicit content, “Secret Invasion” maintains a focus on the plot and characters, avoiding excessive sexual content. Unlike the shape-shifting Mystique from the X-Men franchise, the Skrulls retain their clothing while assuming different forms. This aligns with the family-friendly nature of the MCU.
The first episode concludes with a parting shot that is bound to leave Marvel fans both intrigued and potentially frustrated. Without delving into spoilers, it is safe to say that the revelation sets the stage for further conflict and raises numerous questions.
Among the stellar cast, one standout performer is Olivia Colman, an Oscar winner who delivers a remarkable performance as Sonya Falsworth. Falsworth, a high-ranking MI6 official, shares a history with Nick Fury and possesses her own unique perspective on what constitutes a job well done. Colman’s portrayal exudes a mix of cheerfulness and intimidation, adding depth and intrigue to her character.
Despite its strengths, “Secret Invasion” falls slightly short of the lofty expectations set by Marvel’s previous ventures. The premiere episode lacks the sense of wonder that has characterized many of the studio’s most memorable moments. For instance, the exhilarating car chase scene featuring Nick Fury in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” showcased a perfect balance of tension, humor, and visual spectacle. It captured the essence of Marvel’s greatest achievements. However, “Secret Invasion” has yet to capture that same feeling.
Nevertheless, the series offers plenty of engaging elements. Samuel L. Jackson delivers a captivating performance as Nick Fury, blending the various facets of the character he has portrayed over the past 15 years. The premise of shape-shifting alien spies embroiled in a complex web of deception presents fertile ground for compelling storytelling. It allows the MCU to venture into new territory, incorporating elements from different genres and expanding the narrative scope.
As a passionate MCU fan, it is exciting to see the universe expand further and embrace fresh ideas. “Secret Invasion” showcases a strong ensemble cast, intriguing plotlines, and the potential for exciting revelations and character developments in future episodes. While the premiere episode may not have fully realized its potential, the series has enough promising elements to make it a worthwhile watch for Marvel enthusiasts.
In conclusion, “Secret Invasion” represents a significant addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, finally giving Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury the leading role he deserves. Although the premiere episode may lack a sense of wonder, the series showcases strong performances, a compelling premise, and the potential for captivating storytelling, making it a promising addition to the MCU.