Disney+’s Marvel original series have had a turbulent lifetime, with both hits- like Loki– and misses- like She-Hulk– garnering varied receptions. We now find ourselves with Secret Invasion, a series with plenty of potential.
The series has a star-studded cast, featuring Oscar winner Olivia Coleman, Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, and headed by Samuel L. Jackson, reprising one of the most iconic roles of his career, Nick Fury.
The premise for the series itself is one that avid fans have been excited about for a very long time, it being based on one of Marvel’s most iconic comic book storylines where many of Marvel’s iconic heroes were revealed to have been Skrulls, a race of shapeshifting aliens. For the translation to Disney+, the storyline is adapted as a high stakes spy thriller. The tone very clearly shifts, ditching the superhero blockbuster of the original comics and instead adopting a more grounded and personal storyline.
This is now the point where I reveal that Secret Invasion is currently the worst reviewed Disney+ Marvel series, and many fans see it as a significant low point for the franchise.
The first major failing of the series comes in the title sequence that starts every episode- a sequence that is a staggering two minutes long, compared to most shows being a minute and a half. Also, it was created using AI, something the recent labour disputes have been fighting against. The entire sequence has been very poorly received, and it’s an insult to talented creators still fighting for fairer wages.
The series’ second major failing is with its use of the spy premise. The best spy thrillers are constantly entertaining, and you should always be guessing everyone’s intentions. With the series’ premise of shapeshifters, this should be easy to achieve, but I never found myself guessing who the good guys were and who the villains were. There’s one major character who is revealed late in the series to be a Skrull which should change the whole landscape of the plot, however, until that point the character had always acted antagonistically towards Nick Fury, so it was easy to guess, and it didn’t change anything. Like Wandavison, the story also ditches its unique concept for a bland CGI superpower fight.
The series’ final failing is with its characters. Nick Fury isn’t a cool spy; he used to be cool spy, and everyone keeps reminding him of this, breaking down the character till he’s no longer entertaining. The reasoning behind this is seemingly for the story’s poor attempt at championing feminism. Oliva Coleman’s Sonya plays a replacement to Nick Fury role in the series, being a spy master who’s all-knowing and is willing to get her hands dirty. This then doesn’t feel like you’re feminising a system, but instead putting a woman at the top of a patriarchal structure, and changing nothing else.
This then doesn’t feel like you’re feminising a system, but instead putting a woman at the top of a patriarchal structure, and changing nothing else.
What we’re left with is a series that squanders its great cast, has disjointed politics, and fails at its premise. Hopefully Loki Season 2 is good.