TV Reviews

Secret Invasion Premiere Initially Stumbles Before Feeling Like A Winter Soldier Successor

Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s next event series on Disney+. The new series adapts a Marvel Comics storyline of the same name onto the existing MCU. With trailers that looked like a spy-thriller with comic book movie elements to it, the Secret Invasion premiere episodes continue that vibe with even more going on within it. While at times, the first two episodes feel a little forced and exposition-heavy, there is still a lot left for it to get back on track to finish strong. Read on for my review of the Secret Invasion premiere episodes.

Secret Invasion Premiere Review Is Spoiler-Free

Secret Invasion Premiere Smoulders.

Image via Disney+.

The Marvel Comics Secret Invasion storyline focuses on an invasion of Earth by Skrulls who can and have shapeshifted into key members of society, government and yes, even superhero teams. While the Secret Invasion premiere episodes of the series on Disney+ obviously won’t exactly follow the comics version, it still has the same basic premise. The series seems to focus on the ancillary side characters of the MCU as its main lead and supporting characters, led by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) himself.

The series sees the return of characters like Maria Hill (Cobie Smoulders) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) in supporting roles. It seems like the old SHIELD gang has to get back together in order to stop this Skrull threat. But simultaneously, the series explores how the world of the MCU has changed at the ground level, especially with the absence of Nick Fury from Earth since we saw him hanging out in space at the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Where The Secret Invasion Premiere Feels Weighed Down

Secret Invasion Premiere Mendelsohn

Image via Disney+.

Secret Invasion tells an interesting and compelling story, if not a little convoluted right now. The two premiere episodes of Secret Invasion are very exposition heavy. The story features the inclusion of Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), last seen impersonating Fury in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The story is also reliant on the events of Captain Marvel to make sense to audiences, but in a way that feels forced. The status quo on Earth when it comes to Skrulls has changed since the early 90s when we first saw Talos and Fury’s relationship begin. But that information comes with a lot of talk that makes those first two episodes feel bogged down.

It feels like there may have been a much more effective and dramatic way to show audiences how the years have changed the Skrulls’ status quo in the MCU, but we just get a lot of briefings and explanations instead. I’m hoping this is just an establishing struggle that the show overcomes in its future episodes.

 Samuel L. Jackson Unleashed Like Never Before

Secret Invasion Premiere Jackson

Image via Disney+.

One of the best parts about Secret Invasion is how much of a Nick Fury-focused story it is. Which was, honestly, a surprise. Fury is centre stage in this story, but more importantly, his journey allows Samuel L. Jackson to really show us the actor that we’ve all come to know and love. While other MCU projects have given us bits and pieces of Jackson’s Fury, Secret Invasion gives us so much more.

Jackson really goes all out given the story of what Fury is dealing with. He gets to play an embittered spy who had to return as a tired and damaged person to deal with some major stakes. It’s quite a departure from the always-prepared and button-down slick spy we’ve seen of him in the MCU prior to this. It’s actually pretty great! Even more so when he is supported by heavyweights like Mendelsohn and new additions of Olivia Colman and Emilia Clarke. 

Feels Like The Winter Solder Sequel

Secret Invasion Premiere Colman

Image via Disney+.

The Secret Invasion premiere is firing on all cylinders during its tone and atmosphere. Not since The Winter Soldier has anything from the MCU felt this grown up and mature. The show features the usual spy thriller vibes of paranoia, secrets and some cool action that feels like it’s just scratching the surface so far. There’s a feeling of nostalgic spy thrillers, that’s very deeply rooted in backroom meetings, quiet plot twists, and the struggle between ideological differences, not to mention some awesome character drama.

Over all the Secret Invasion premiere works pretty great, with some stumbling blocks in its first two episodes. As the series continues I hope we’ll get over those challenges and the show can find its footing quickly and potentially deliver a hard-hitting mature series set in the MCU. As contradictory that might sound on paper.

Secret Invasion premieres on Disney+ on June 21, 2023.

Secret Invasion Premiere Initially Stumbles Before Feeling Like A Winter Soldier Successor
  • Acting - 9.5/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 6/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7.5/10
  • Watchability - 7/10
  • Rewatchability - 7/10
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