Secret Invasion review: A more mature MCU flirts with bad politics

secret invasion is Marvel Studios’ most mature series to date, targeting a larger audience than previous entries by creating a well-paced espionage thriller with plenty of twists and turns. may be the favorite MCU series for audiences who may be tired of superheroes but enjoy a global action spy series. However, it also runs into some awkward real-world implications that, if not handled correctly, could lead to a series with a rather troubling message.

While there has been a lot of talk about the saturation of Marvel. However, the eight-month gap between secret invasion and the earlier MCU series, She-Hulk: Lawyer, marks the longest run between Marvel Disney+ series since Wanda Vision started the trend in 2021. This certainly helps secret invasion it feels more like an event, as it’s been a while since audiences could tune in to an MCU adventure week after week.


guardians of the galaxy vol. 3 might have kicked off the summer movie season, but with the wonders moving from July to November 2023, this makes secret invasion the MCU’s big summer event as it will run from late June through July. The stakes are high, and for the most part, the series delivers.

The plot, the cast and the characters

secret invasion cast

secret invasion centers on Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who has been summoned to Earth by former SHIELD associate Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and former Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelson) with news of a Skrull uprising that they are disappointed that Fury and Captain Marvel never found them a new home as promised. Led by a radical Skrull, Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), a new faction of Skrulls seeks to infiltrate Earth into key positions of power, and Fury must find a way to stop this threat.

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The series also features a major role for James Rhodes aka War Machine (Don Cheadle). Talos’s daughter, G’iah (Emilia Clarke), has been radicalized by Gravik and separated from her father, but her loyalty is soon tested when she discovers Gravik’s hidden plans. Another new addition is Sonya Falsworth (the great Olivia Colman), a high-ranking M16 agent who has a history with Fury and is likely related to James Montgomery Falsworth, a member of Steve Roger’s Howling Commandos in Captain America the First Avenger.

While all the actors do a great job, the audience is left with the idea that not everyone is what they seem and that anyone at any time could, in fact, be a Skrull, leading to a lot of tension in many scenes.

Secret Invasion: Style and Influence

Emilia Clarke in Secret Invasion

secret invasion is, in many ways, a continuation of captain marvelbut tonally and stylistically, it’s closer to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This is Marvel entering the world of espionage and spies with force. While the winter soldier drew heavily on 1970s spy thrillers like All male presidents and Three Days of the Condor, secret invasion it is heavily inspired by the work of John Le Carré and Tom Clancy.

The MCU series very much invokes the tone of a Cold War thriller (even setting most of the first two action episodes in Russia), though, in terms of TV comparisons, it’s more 24 that The Americans. Since the original Nick Fury comics had a spy theme, this makes secret invasion a fairly faithful modern adaptation of its original comic.

secret invasion is hands down the most violent MCU entry. While much was mentioned about how dark movies like Doctor strange in the multiverse of madness either guardians of the galaxy vol. 3 in terms of violence and subject matter, they were still meant to be seen by a wide audience. secret invasionon the other hand, it feels like Marvel Studios’ first real attempt at making a project that isn’t aimed at the whole family.

Most of the episodes are dialogue driven, with a lot of discussion about politics and even some refreshing opening discussions about race and how it relates to various characters. There’s action, but it’s certainly more spaced out than other MCU series, and there’s a more visceral level of violence. Torture and limbs are removed without jokes or gags to put the viewer at ease.

Secret Invasion has a tightrope to walk

Still from Secret Invasion

secret invasion is based on the comic event of the same name written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Leinil Francis Yu, and ran from June 2008 to January 2009. Like many other comic events at the time, such as secret war and Civil war, secret invasion it was very much a comic addressing American anxieties and fears after 9/11. The idea of ​​a foreign enemy secretly invading positions of power to inflict a surprise attack tapped into the fears and anxieties of Americans not only in the 21st century, but also in the Cold War.

The Skrulls themselves were born out of Americans’ fear of the Cold War, where there were fears of communist spies around every corner. This is what he did captain marvel so refreshing, twisting comic book fan expectations of the Skrulls as traditional villains and turning them into a refugee species, where their shapeshifting ability was not a nefarious form of infiltration but a necessary survival technique to avoid percussion. It was a nice update on the status quo that understood what these characters and ideas found in the 21st century.

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That made the perspective adapt secret invasion in the MCU even more complicated. While either version of the story would have had a slight post-War on Terror tinge to it in nature, recent developments on the Skrulls in the MCU make it even more complicated. Now the Skrulls are refugees on Earth looking to attack humanity from within. Intentional or not, this cannot help but take advantage of the real-world distrust that refugees already face when trying to seek asylum in a country.

A common topic of conversation among critics of refugees is that they attempt to secretly infiltrate and destroy the very idea of ​​a civilization’s culture, and this has led to a rise in xenophobia around the world, particularly in the United States. On top of that, there’s the ridiculous conspiracy of key individuals in power who are actually lizard people, but secret invasion, by its nature, has to feature key people like Skrulls and orchestrate events behind the scenes. This is the awkward zone where fiction and the reality of the world in which it is produced meet.

Marvel is clearly inviting real-world politics into this discussion. Early on, it is established that the new Skrull leader, Gravik, was once a boy who was supposedly trained in the art of espionage by Nick Fury and SHIELD (and, by extension, HYDRA). Now Fury is dealing with an enemy that he is responsible for weaponizing. This cannot help but be reminiscent of the mujahideen, Islamic guerrillas who resisted the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan with the backing of the US CIA, which eventually morphed into the Taliban, leading to US global conflicts in the XXI century.

The future of Secret Invasion in the MCU

Secret Invasion What to Expect

The question is, can Marvel thread the needle where they can tell a compelling spy narrative that also doesn’t inadvertently believe a message that outsiders are infiltrators and not to be trusted? The guiding moral lesson for the entire MCU is that unity is a strength, and divisions at borders are weaknesses that will hold people back, so it would be out of character for them to suddenly have a show that undermines that. Marvel Studios has been given the benefit of the doubt until the final episode airs, and with a creative team that includes sweet land director Ali Selim, mr robot writer Kyle Bradstreet and writer Brain Tucker, secret invasion it could still have a lot of surprises.

It will be interesting to see how Marvel ends up. secret invasion. It’s clear from the first two episodes that this series will have major ramifications for the MCU in the same way that Captain America: The Winter Soldier did. Hints are already being given as to how it will affect Earth-based stories like Captain America: Brave New World and good heavensbut also the next cosmic story the wonders.

Meanwhile, secret invasion offers a refreshing change of pace from the extravaganza of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and guardians of the galaxy vol. 3 and it offers a darker story that could serve as an entry point into the MCU for viewers who never got involved with superheroes. With a tone and style that is so different from previous entries, it shows how the MCU has endured for so long, and how it will continue to live on.

secret invasion premieres on Disney+ on June 21, 2023.

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