The MCU is ready to bring one of its original characters back down to Earth, but the question is whether it’s too late. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury returns for Secret Invasion Episode 1, “Resurrection,” Marvel’s adaptation of one of its biggest storylines, this time without any of its biggest heroes.
Can you remember the last time you saw Nick Fury on screen? What about Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), the Skrull who first appears in Captain Marvel?
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) happened post-blip but pre-pandemic in the real world and might feel light-years away for casual Marvel viewers. So Secret Invasion Episode 1 has its work cut out for it to hook viewers.
It starts on a good note with a high-stakes foot chase between Agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and an unknown assailant after Ross is almost killed by a crazed SHIELD agent spouting off about Skrull conspiracies.
The big twist, that this Agent Ross is actually a Skrull impersonator working as part of a rebel group to infiltrate world governments and stage terrorist attacks, is what sets this whole thing in motion and brings Fury back into the fray.
Secret Invasion has an exciting premise for a spy story, that’s for sure. Trusting someone is nearly impossible when the enemy can take anyone’s face.
Multiverse of British Actors
Although you don’t see any Avengers show up (and probably won’t) you do see some more familiar faces on the premiere including Rhodey (Don Cheadle) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders).
Also added into the mix is a murderers’ row of British talent including Olivia Colman as MI6 Operative Sonya Falsworth, Emilia Clarke as Talos’ daughter turned enemy G’iah, and Kingsley Ben-Adir as rebel Skrull leader Gravik.
Needless to say, the first episode’s issue is not a dearth of talent.
It does struggle to convince the audience of the stakes of the game being played. When the Earth is constantly under threat in Marvel movies, it’s hard to muster up the urge to care once more.
Heck, even Fury is still dealing with his PTSD from the Blip and what happened with Thanos. Now that was a life-altering event for the MCU, are we supposed to think anything else can compare?
Secret Invasion may be a good spy story, but it hasn’t yet proven why it needs to be the next story Marvel tells.
Even with the usual level of suspension of disbelief that the heroes might not win, there’s the issue of the Skrulls themselves, who have been MIA for so long in the MCU. Secret Invasion is Marvel’s ninth Disney Plus show since we last saw them, something even the streamer realized was going to be a problem and hence gave fans some breathing room between this and its last series.
One (Fridge) Door Closes, Another One Opens
Some may consider the episode’s ending to be the show’s attempt at getting fans to emotionally invest. The tragic death of Maria Hill when Fury and co try to stop another Skrull terrorist attack should certainly feel personal to fans who have stayed with this franchise.
It also feels a lot like them fridging an underdeveloped female character to get Fury off his ass.
Some may connect to the emotional resonance of the moment, but to me, it felt forced.
I’d much rather spend my time investing in Talos and G’iah’s strained relationship than be emotionally manipulated into caring about this war through a fridging. The heartbreak on Emilia Clarke’s face, when her character learns of her mother’s death that happened during their estrangement, hurt me more than anything else on this episode.
Is Secret Invasion Marvel’s response to Andor? In my opinion, not yet. Maybe it will be by the end of the season, but the show still feels too weighed down by franchise baggage to live up to its full potential.
Clunky reminders of the Skrull’s past appearances and the Blip keep the show from reaching its full potential.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be so heavily tied to a franchise since after all it’s probably why many viewers are willing to tune into a series without any marquee heroes. However, if Secret Invasion has to balance tying together the past with a spy thriller the entire series it’s going to continue to drag down the momentum.
While Star Wars benefits from a whole world to play in that can be as much or as little connected to the Jedi as it wants, Secret Invasion doesn’t have that luxury. You won’t forget the Avengers, even when they’re not there.
Will we see more of Ross? My bet is yes.
As a Game of Thrones fan, I can sincerely say I missed seeing Emilia Clarke’s iconic eyebrows in action. Furrowed!
Also iconic – Olivia Colman bringing her brand of chaos and charm to the MCU.
I wish Tony Stark was still alive to hear that joke about Fury getting The Avengers for his midlife crisis.
I usually don’t skip opening title sequences, but Secret Invasion‘s was so dour I didn’t watch it upon subsequent viewings.