top of page

Drama Review: Secret Invasion

Title: Secret Invasion

Director(s): Ali Selim

Screenwriter(s): Kyle Bradstreet, Brian Tucker & Michael Bhim

Studio: Marvel Studios

Released: 2023

Runtime: 6 episodes, 43m–55m each.

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Emilia Clarke


Secret Invasion

Whilst Marvel deserves praise for actually planning out their cinematic universe, the MCU has gotten bloated even before Phase 3 finished.  Of course, one doesn’t expect every release to be good but Secret Invasion is not a bad series. It is based on the 2008 comic written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu. I have not read it so my comments are based purely on the series.


The premise is simple: a rebel faction of Skrull refugees on Earth led by Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) intends to take over Earth. They have infiltrated high-level positions across the planet and plan to use false flags to start a war between Russia and the West so humans can annihilate themselves. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his Skrull ally Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) try to stop them.


Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)
Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir)
Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir)

The idea is hardly new but it is interesting, especially given the well-researched subject of secret societies as well as the more extraordinary claims involving “reptilians”, a word that Fury uses on one occasion when referring to Skrull. I am not in a position to confirm or deny the latter and I am not suggesting this is intended to be predictive programming or some form of soft disclosure but it is amusing.


Given the shapeshifting ability of Skrulls, there is a degree of paranoia although it is not intense. This is presumably deliberate—there is nothing wrong with a good paranoia-suspense-thriller, but I assume the writer and producers want the series to be more than that. If anything, it could use more paranoia and suspense. Thankfully, each episode doesn’t quite become Mission Impossible in which a main character tears off a mask in some grand twist. There is, as expected, some of that along with some T-1000 moments.


Talos (Ben Mendelsohn)
Talos (Ben Mendelsohn)

At 6 episodes, the structure is tight and the pacing is steady, not too fast and not too slow. However, each episode can be a little longer so that some events don’t feel as sudden. Each scene needs to be given time to breathe. One could say it is too tight. For example, the story delves into Fury’s past told through flashbacks. It is appreciated that these scenes focus on what is pertinent to the present but as they are too short, they come across as too cheap, as if made up just for that episode.


The series has a more “realistic” take on Fury. Even though he does not have actual superpowers, the character has always been somewhat larger than life in a mysterious way. In the first episode, he returns to Earth to deal with the problem but looks like a hobo. He has been working in space since the Blip and apparently hasn’t been the same since. It’s an interesting enough approach even if it is not new—the “take the hero out of his suit” premise—but [Potential Spoiler] his “superpower” all along was a network of Skrull operatives seems too ordinary. Granted, that is what a spymaster does and running a network takes skill but the way it is presented seems too simple and cheap.


There are other details that need more attention. For example, the attack on the US President certainly adds drama but one expects better security measures and what is shown is not quite convincing, both during the attack and after. Also, Skrulls live in an irradiated zone since they are immune. This is fine but they have a lab in which (non-Skrull) biological samples are not ruined despite the radiation. Shielding is the obvious explanation but this needs to be shown somehow.


Visually, it is mostly well done. Some of the effects can be better but nothing that outright ruins the viewing experience. What is appreciated is the lighting in the darker scenes and some of the camera work, such as playing with angles for psychological effect. If anything, that kind of stylization could be taken further. The film editing in the gunfights can be better but nothing outright bad.


Also worthy of mention is the opening credits utilizing the style of 1950s sci-fi art which, by the way, includes a not-so-subtle all-seeing eye.


Despite some weaknesses in the writing and execution, it is generally a well-produced series. It is tight even if it may be too tight. It could use more paranoia and the suspense that comes with that but it has good tension as well as action. The performances are solid which obviously helps. In some ways, one could consider this a version of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which, although a good series, sometimes lacks the suspense and thrill that is supposed to come with a good espionage-action-thriller.

 

Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list so you get each new Opinyun that comes out!

 

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


Screen Shot 2021-12-09 at 4.49.31 PM.png

10% Off
Use Code: MERRYXMAS

MERCHANDISE!

bottom of page