Secret Invasion


‘…far too drab, derivative, slow and downright silly…’

Skrulls, Skrulls, Skrulls…It’s Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this time, Kevin Feige’s latest hot take on the MCU takes a lead from Star Wars and Andor in attempting to fashion a more adult espionage story as an add-on to the popular family friendly movies many millions know. Andor worked as a grown up entertainment without directly appealing to the family audience who might dig Ewoks, but Secret Invasion is far too drab, derivative, slow and downright silly to mark anything more than the MCU treading water to shill subscriptions for Disney.

The chess-set glimpsed in the shonky AI generated opening credits suggest some kind of John le Carre influenced prestige spy product, and that’s a welcome promise with a cast of top drawer actors like Emilia Clarke, Ben Mendelsohn and Olivia Coleman. Details are sketchy, but they’re all working for or against a mysterious entity known as ‘the circus,’ which does sound kinda familiar; the background is supposedly Moscow, but it’s clearly the UK with a couple of inflatable Russian dolls added. Samuel L Jackson is back but without an eye-patch as Nick Fury; the lack of an eye-patch made me think this was some kind of prequel, but maybe his eye has grown back or something. On this occasion, Fury is trying to sort out a potential alien invasion of earth in the form of the dreaded Skrulls and their leader Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir).

‘He preys on the collective rage of young, displaced Skrulls’ we’re told about Gravik, and if you don’t know your Blip from your Snap, here’s everything you need to know about Skrulls. The Skrulls can disguise themselves as people, reverting back to their Nosferatu form usually after they’ve been killed; the opening ‘gotcha’ sequence sees a Skrull disguised as Martin Freeman as whoever he was meant to be in the Black Panther movies. The Skulls are boring, visually dull villains to say the least; there’s a reason why my entire notes for the Captain Marvel movie were ‘Jude Law, 90’s, Blockbuster, Skrulls’. They’re the silliest looking aliens this side of Sinestro and his little pedestal pals in the Green Lantern; they make the super-goofy Jedi Council look like The Expendables.

‘Imagine a world where you can’t trust information,’ is the opening line here, and that suggests some kind of educational story that might encourage kids to identify or consider what fake news is. But that was how Secret Invasion started; how it’s going is more cringe dialogue like…. “Is that why you came down from your space station?’ or ‘I’ve got hands-on experience with Skrulls.’ Secret Invasion is the usual glib MCU nonsense, far less persuasive than usual; if you’re having, Skrull problems, I feel bad for you son, but I’ll got 99 problems and a Skrull invasion probably ain’t gonna be one on the basic of this drab, hackneyed show opening.


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  1. I was just about to say I didn’t remember seeing Sameul L Jackson in the REAL Secret Invasion that had a proper killer cast including Raf Vallone, Mickey Rooney, Edd Byrnes and Henry Silva. There used to be a body in Hollywood that prevented films using the same title and I guess this bunch just thought what with the time difference and all they’d ride in on the coat-tails of a famous movie.

    • I’m always hoping that I’m getting the 1974 Inside Out rather than the Pixar one…

      • How hard is it to come up with a title? Are there not whole industries devoted to titling? Certainly, we should be spared confusion. Who wouldn;t prefer Telly Savalas and James Mason to a bunch of animators who would turn their noses up at the very idea of Nazi gold.

  2. I remember when the trailer dropped on YouTube there were a lot of suspiciously similarly worded comments saying the same thing: “Great to see Marvel going for a serious tone with this series.” I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea. Unfortunately, DISNEY Marvel’s “serious” actually equates to dull and boring. I didn’t even make it to the end of Episode 1. I did enjoy your review, though.

    • Glad to find you of like mind. It’s like action movie energy but without any action, it just comes over as nothing. Didn’t get any tension. Would like to see something from the MCU with a different tone but noir might be better than aping proper grown up espionage flicks. Just ended up like filler, very uninspired. And next time I see these stupid alien faces, I’m seriously cracking skrulls.

      • The Skrulls are just not threatening or intimidating at all. They look daft!

        Remember the days of Daredevil on Netflix?! That was before the dark times, before the Mouse!

        • Right, so Marvel have existing IP that would translate to a dangerous adult world. Black Widow another obvious one. But going Alien Nation or Beyond Westworld with the skrulls is not something anyone would ask for. Hey, even if I happened to see the most beautiful Skrull in the world, I’d still rather see almost any other character instead.

    • I’m afraid I don’t have a budget for this, I could barely make it through the first episode…

      • I just don’t get the impression a lot of these Disney shows are made in good faith. WandaVision felt like it had a creative spark and the first season if the Mandilorian, but whatever franchise they were adapting eventually seemed to dwindle after their initial launch of exclusives.

        • Agreed. And I’d have thought a Nick Fury solo series would have been a prize bit of IP. I can’t imagine anyone, MCU fan or not, being wowed by shows like this, which feel like a cheap rip-off except they are official…

  3. Is this a movie or a tv show? Nevermind, just saw the tv tag.

    yeah, the tv shows really put me off the mcu. forcing me to buy a subscription to a streaming service I don’t want to watch stuff I don’t want to watch to understand the movies is a totally scumbag move. And I refuse.

    HEY! I plagiarized that 99problems thing first. Unless you’re telling me you watched and reviewed this back in May.

  4. Sounds like the MCU is well and proper finished. That Skrull looks like he’s wearing Jim Carey’s Mask mask.

    I have to know whet relation Kingsley Ben-Adir is to Ben Kingsley.

    • I think he’s directly related to Kingsley Amis, the surname comes first, so that’s whet relation they are.

      Is it just me, or do the Skrulls look terrible? I can’t get over anyone thinking that they might be good…

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