Secret Invasion Review: Marvel’s Latest Misfire
In a Universe where magic, aliens, and god-like beings are the norm, Marvel’s latest Disney+ offering, “Secret Invasion,” introduces shape-shifting aliens and makes it as exciting as watching paint dry. In the interstellar landscape of superheroic espionage and otherworldly plots, “Secret Invasion” seems to have lost its secret weapon – the Marvel charm.
Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as Nick Fury, the former S.H.I.E.L.D director now tasked with preventing Skrulls – shape-shifting extraterrestrial beings – from establishing their rule over Earth. The series starts with a premise that harkens back to “Captain Marvel,” where a band of Skrulls are plotting rebellion, discontented with their prolonged stay on Earth. They yearn for a new home, a promise unfulfilled by Fury and Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). But instead of settling down peacefully, their radical leader Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) seeks to birth a new civilization amidst the ruins of human society.
Despite such a promising premise, “Secret Invasion” squanders its potential by leaning heavily on predictable narrative arcs and redundant plot twists. The suspense the show tries to build with its shape-shifting theme comes across as merely a contrived series of “gotcha” moments that do more to befuddle the viewers than to engage them. The alien transformation concept, when executed with nuance and creativity, could offer a captivating narrative tool. However, in the show’s hands, it appears more as an afterthought, as habitual as it is unimpressive.
Marvel seems to be running low on fuel, and this becomes most apparent in the portrayal of its most seasoned character, Nick Fury. Jackson, known for infusing Fury with a unique blend of tenacity and dry humor, seems noticeably jaded. His performance lacks the characteristic zest and spark, resulting in a lukewarm representation of the weary leader. As the series lumbers on, even his trademark shouts seem more like tired sighs, making one wonder if it’s not just Fury, but Jackson himself who is over it.
When it comes to the overall aesthetic, “Secret Invasion” falls short of the stylistic and visual spectacle expected from a spy thriller. Absent are the mesmerizing locations and innovative gadgets, leaving the viewers starved of the usual visual treats. In a narrative devoid of superheroes, the show does little to compensate for their absence, resulting in a series that is visually and thematically lackluster.
“Secret Invasion” feels like a ship that’s lost its compass, navigating blindly in a sea of already established narratives. Its reluctance to engage with real-world themes, despite the potential to do so, marks a missed opportunity to add layers of complexity to the narrative. And thus, it lands with a thud in the Marvel television universe, disappointing as much as it is forgettable.
Sadly, “Secret Invasion” manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, turning a promising premise into a tedious, uninspired television affair. On the grand scale of the Marvel universe, this series is, unfortunately, a low point.
RATING: 2.0 out of 5.0
Secret Invasion is streaming on Disney+ on June 21st.