Marvel’s Secret Invasion: A New, Exciting Installment in the MCU is Almost Here!
Marvel’s Secret Invasion releases on Disney Plus in exactly seven days, and my friends, you are not ready for this show. From the opening credits, a gorgeous, action-centered version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream, I was on the edge of my seat. The show wastes no time dropping us into the heart of the action. Each episode felt like I was watching a movie. There is a cinematic effect to each episode. Secret Invasion boasts tight, well choreographed fight scenes, amazing cinematography and brave choices throughout. It’s an espionage thriller with a thread of Twilight Zone running throughout. The stakes are high and clearly established. No one is safe and I encourage the audience to prepare for that. I felt personally involved in each scene.
A part of that feeling of personal involvement is that Secret Invasion is a story that has been in the works for fifteen years. A lot of people say that Tony Stark’s Iron Man is the thread that holds the MCU together, but I’d argue it’s Nick Fury. Fury’s work on assembling The Avengers is a direct result of his experiences with the Skrulls in Captain Marvel-whom he first met in 1995. It’s now 2025 in the MCU. Fury has left the Earth in the capable hands of the team he’s assembled and is living off-world. It’s every Black person’s dream honestly, getting to ditch the planet and live somewhere safe and worry free. Unfortunately, there are some things only the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D can handle, so Fury’s jaunt off planet is finally coming to an end.
A New Look at an Old Friend
Secret Invasion is Fury’s show and it finally gives us insight into his past, present and in some ways, his future. If you can remember how it felt to discover that Fury still possessed his left eye in The Winter Soldier, you’ll have a good idea of how each new reveal feels in this show. As I mentioned earlier-Fury is the common thread throughout the MCU, so learning more about him feels like getting a new glimpse into the universe that we’ve been denied thus far. Something else that Marvel’s done great with this show is allowing us to see that Fury has aged.
Often action stars are still expected to pull the same stunts that they were performing 30 years prior. Think Indiana Jones or The Terminator. Secret Invasion allows Fury to age,showing us achy knees, a bit of a beer belly and even exhaustion. He knows he’s getting older and so do his friends and his enemies. What does that mean for a man who is used to unbridled command and control? Secret Invasion seems determined to show us. Age doesn’t detract from Fury’s intelligence, it seems to enhance it. I love reminders of exactly who he is and why he’s in the position he’s in.
As always, Marvel toes the line of juxtaposing reality against the fiction of the MCU. There’s an American hate group being used by “Russians” (Skrulls) to achieve their actual goal-even to the detriment of the Americans involved in the group. There’s discussion of how news can be corrupted. Media being used to sway public opinion. Some conspiracy theorists will leave this show feeling more validated than ever by the presence of a race of sentient reptiles hiding in the bodies of some pretty prominent individuals. Secret Invasion is doing things right and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen thus far.
And The Emmy Should Go To…
There are also standout performances this go round. Every single actor is brining their best to this show and it makes a world of difference. My standout favorites are Samuel L. Jackson, always talented, but really giving it his all this go round. Jackson is allowed to play with Fury in a way we haven’t seen him before. Olivia Coleman’s Sonya Fallsworth is also an incredible addition. Coleman infuses a bit of fun into a character who might otherwise have been simply terrifying and I’m excited for the general audience reaction to her work.
Emilia Clarke is absolutely incredible. I was a bit worried that it would be difficult for me to separate her work in this show from that of her most famous character (Daenerys Targaryen), but I absolutely shouldn’t have been. She is deep in her bag of talent and it plays so well. Finally, Kingsley Ben-Adir’s Gravik is absolutely incredible. His actions are intolerable and yet I can feel the almost palpable pain behind each choice he makes.
Where Did We Go Wrong?
Of course, that doesn’t mean Marvel has hit the ball completely out of the park. They’ve brought back the reverse aging technology used in Captain Marvel and it is unfortunately more Uncanny Valley than it was before. They also do that thing that they do. You know the thing. Using Black actors to tell a specific kind of story. A tale of two Black people if you will.
This is-at least-the third time in three properties (Falcon & The Winter Soldier and Black Panther) where we’re shown a Black extremist and a Black moderate and are shown-very clearly-that one side is the “right way” to do things and the other is terrible. This despite the fact that the extremists’ views and goals are typically correct. Killmonger in Black Panther was correct to be upset that his uncle killed his father. That a Black nation with wealth and resources unimagined was hoarding them and not helping Black people around the world. He was right to want to share those resources with the diaspora. And yet his actions, wholesale murder, violent takeover, etc, make him the villain.
Karli in Falcon & The Winter Soldier was right to want better care for those who have typically been overlooked. After the Blip, for the first time in forever, Karli had adequate food and medical reasons. Unfortunately when people were returned, those resources were once again reallocated to those who have the ability to pay for them. Karli’s fight to make sure that everyone has what they need was showcased as negative. Once again, in Secret Invasion we see a black face (Gravik is a Skrull but his chosen form is Black), committing extreme acts for what are arguably good reasons.
My Key Takeaways?
If you’re a Marvel fan who is looking for a darker, more serious show, with real stakes that you’ll actually feel? This is the show for you. Secret Invasion reminds me of Andor in a good way. It gives me hope for a strong, exciting Phase 5 following a less than well-received Phase 4.
Be prepared for a deep dive into Fury. Who he is and what makes him tick. This is an older, more damaged Fury. One who is struggling with PTSD and is letting people down as a result. He feels the weight of each of his failures in a guttural, visceral way. There are lots of secrets that are finally revealing themselves and some of them are far more surprising than others.
“Haven’t even gone on my midlife crisis shopping spree? What’d you get for yours?”/”The Avengers.”
“Have you lost your reptilian ass mind?”
“There is not enough room or tolerance on this planet for another species.”
“Even when I’m out, I’m in.”
Can you guess who said which?
Marvel’s Secret Invasion comes to Disney Plus on June 21st, 2023. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
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