Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury has always been a mysterious figure in the MCU. Despite having no special abilities, Fury has established himself to be a significant presence in a universe that’s filled with larger-than-life personalities. For as long as he has been such an iconic and integral part of the franchise, not much is known about him. That all changes with what we’ve seen so far with Marvel’s Secret Invasion.
We were given the opportunity to watch the first 2 episodes of Secret Invasion. With a runtime of 50 minutes each, this is one of the first few recent MCU projects that has engaged and stuck with me long after the credits rolled.
The nature of the central conflict of Secret Invasion involves the alien race called the Kree. They’re master shapeshifters who are able to look and sound like anybody on Earth. As you can imagine, this can mean catastrophic things for humanity. When we don’t realize that our enemies walk among us, that’s when we are most vulnerable. Secret Invasion takes this chilling concept and adds on top of it a narrative of political espionage set in the beloved MCU. Headlined by the man himself, Nick Fury. Now that’s what you call a setup for an interesting show.
Immediately, Secret Invasion does its best to set itself apart in terms of its narrative tone. Fans who loved how Captain America The Winter Soldier was told will definitely appreciate this show. It brings back the nitty gritty feel into the MCU. The stakes are arguably an “Avengers-level threat” and yet the person who has to carry all of its burden is someone who hasn’t been on Earth for years. Nick Fury is out of his league here. The conflict is much more personal than you expect and the repercussions of that are loud and clear in the first two episodes.
What does it look like when the seemingly untouchable and incredibly badass Nick Fury is at his wit’s end? Without concerning itself with the bigger picture of the MCU and everything it’s trying to do with the mess that is the multiverse phase, Secret Invasion is allowed to breathe in its own lane and stick to the ground. This makes the narrative much more complex and thrilling. We are witnessing a world where anyone can be anyone. It feels like anything can happen at any moment and I don’t lose the tension because I know there isn’t going to be a bloated CGI superhero fight at the end to fix everything.
At its core, Secret Invasion is a human story. One thing’s for sure, the show does not hold back with its punches. The first two episodes have effectively hooked me with their bravery and a seemingly tight grasp on the narrative—something which I felt the MCU hasn’t had in a long time.
All the actors give stellar performances. Each personality has its own baggage and seeing it all unfold and clash with one another is thoroughly engaging. Jackson’s Fury is better than ever as it further explores the character in unexpected yet interesting ways. Don Cheadle’s Rody is stepping into new shoes in an environment that’s way different than his time as an Avenger. Cobie Smulder’s Maria is struggling to follow a man who she believes has abandoned her despite her undying loyalty. Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos is much more defined and characterized. Olivia Colman’s Sonya is effortlessly a scene-stealer every time she pops up. Kingsley Ben-Adir’s Gravik is a villain that’s cold, calculated, and determined which makes him such a chilling presence. The only one who hasn’t been able to spread her wings fully is Emilia Clarke in her portrayal of G’iah. It’s not that she gives a bad performance, it’s just that I feel like there’s more to her character beyond the first two episodes.
A major highlight has to be the relationship between Talos and Fury. They have real chemistry with one another that greatly benefits all the friendly banter and dramatic moments. There’s also a fantastic scene between Fury and Rody which encapsulates everything I’ve been loving about the show so far.
In just two episodes, Secret Invasion has successfully got me intrigued about what’s to come. My only hope is that it gets to sustain its quality all the way to the end. There are a lot of good ideas here and a lot more that Marvel can play with. There’s no need to worry about trying to catch up with a dozen movies for this one. It’s a self-contained story that manages to overtake even the most budget-heavy major film releases in the franchise.