Star clout and masterfully penned storyline makes ‘Secret Invasion’ a must-watch

(L-R): Ben Mendelsohn as Talos and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Marvel Studios’ “Secret Invasion”, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL

(L-R): Ben Mendelsohn as Talos and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Marvel Studios’ “Secret Invasion”, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL

Published Jul 7, 2023


Disclaimer: I didn’t watch “Secret Invasion” as a Marvel Universe fundi. So my feedback might upset those who are.

So don’t read further if you are a diehard.

I was drawn to this Disney+ series for its sheer star clout. I mean, when you have industry icons like Samuel L Jackson, Dermot Mulroney, Emilia Clarke, Olivia Coleman and Don Cheadle sharing the screen, that, right there, is a goosebumps moment.

The production value is first-rate. Then again, that’s what you expect from Disney.

The storyline centres on Nick Fury (Jackson), who returns to Earth after a very long absence. He works with Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), a shape-shifting alien and former leader of the Skrulls, to save the planet from a looming invasion.

Fury’s return isn’t received well by several people and for different reasons. He abandoned the relationships for a very long time and now the trust seems to be fragile.

Also, Fury is working through some personal demons while also trying to save Earth from a full-on invasion by the new Skrulls leader, Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir).

But the powers that be like Sonya Falsworth (Coleman), a high-ranking M16 agent, aren’t sure Fury is a friend any more. Her doubt, coupled with her patriotism, sees her follow a different set of rules.

Then there is James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Cheadle), an officer in the US Air Force and former Avenger who has been turned into a political puppet, where he does the bidding of US President Ritson (Mulroney).

His new portfolio has blinded him to some realities and, as such, he has become more of a hindrance than help.

Meanwhile, Talo’s daughter, G’iah (Clarke) is seen colluding with the enemy.

I have to say, the supporting cast with Charlayne Woodard as Varra/Priscilla Fury, who has a history with Gravik and isn’t exactly thrilled to bits by the return of her husband; Uriel Emil as Vasily Poprischchin, a Skrull disguised as an art gallery proprietor; Tony Curran as UK Prime Minister Derrik; Ben Peel as rebel Skrull Brogan, who is tortured by Falsworth; and Giampiero Judica as Nato Secretary-General Sergio Caspani; Kate Braithwaite as Soren, the wife of Talos and mother of G’iah, are noteworthy as well.

Oh, and don’t forget to keep a lookout for Martin Freeman in the first episode. He reprises his role as Everett K Ross.

(L-R): Emilia Clarke as G’iah and Ben Mendelsohn as Talos in Marvel Studios’ “Secret Invasion”. Photo by Des Willie. © 2023 MARVEL

In the opening frames of episode one, the paranoia around an invasion of Earth is evident.

But the question remains: Are the warning bells sounding too late?

After all, the shape-shifters have already been planted in various powerful organisations to help mobilise the takeover with ease.

And Gravik isn’t okay with just a takeover. No, he wants to make history in doing so. As such, he is working on changing the genetics to help the Skrulls evolve into indestructible forces.

The dark hues of the series support the menacing storyline.

Jackson is mesmerising to watch. He has this cavalier attitude when engaging with opponents that only he can pull off. And he refuses to be dismissed in his mission to save Earth.

Kingsley Ben-Adir as Gravik in Marvel Studios’ “Secret Invasion”. Photo by Gareth Gatrell. © 2023 MARVEL.

The scenes between him and Mendelsohn are gold. You can tell there is history and there is a level of comfort in the way the two banter.

The lines are hilarious, too.

Below is an example of one of the conversations:

Talos: When I came here in 1995, you were just a bench-warming nobody in a dumpy field office in S.H.I.E.L.D.

Fury: Bench-warming?

Talos: What, do you have a different take on this?

Fury: I was ascending the ranks.

Talos: You didn't start ascending the ranks until me and 19 of my people signed on as your invisible spy network. You know, we fed you more dirt and intel than you could’ve uncovered on your own in a lifetime, so please.

I mean, every time you were promoted inside S.H.I.E.L.D., we did that.

Every terror attack you prevented, we did that. Every enemy you sabotaged and ally you leveraged with dirt no one else in the world had access to, we did that. You're a smart and capable guy, Fury.

Nobody questions that. But you've gotta admit, your life got a hell of a lot more charmed once I came into it. And do you know something? I don't even need to hear a bloody thank you from you.

It was my pleasure, mate. Least you can do is not rewrite history when the guy who helped write it with you the first time is sitting right next to you.

And if that doesn’t scream tit-for-tat, I don’t know what will.

The bottom line, the writers have done a stellar job with the scripting and character development.

“Secret Invasion” is a dark and deceptive world. But streamers will lap up the drama derived from the intrigue, one-upmanship, betrayal, patriotism and enigmatic characters.

(L-R): Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes and Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury in Marvel Studios’ “Secret Invasion”. Photo by Gareth Gatrell. © 2023 MARVEL.

Oh, and there is a fair amount of violence, too. But the series will leave you on tenterhooks from episode to episode and the good and bad guys jostle for victory in their different missions.

∎ “Secret Invasion” is streaming on Disney+.