Disney+’s Marvel series vary in their degree of independence from the larger narratives that run through Marvel’s feature films. There is no rule of thumb for how it will unfold. Being tied to the Avengers storyline didn’t hurt “Loki,” but staying away from it didn’t help “Moon Knight.”
But the effect is evident in “Secret Invasion,” where the early episodes feel more like interstitial elements than standalone dramas. The storytelling is rushed at first, and the introduction of the Skrull Crisis feels neglected, as if previous publicity releases and Comic-Con panels were understood to count as part of the plot. But then when they are given expository speeches and scenes, they lose their spirits. The sole purpose seems to be to bridge the gap between Captain Marvel and Secret Invasion.
In keeping with the Marvel series’ genre-hopping tendencies, with its first setting in Moscow, Secret Invasion takes a restrained European spy-counter-terrorist-thriller approach and certainly looks good. (Ali Selim directed the episode, and Remi Adefarashin, who shot “Naked Juliet,” served as cinematographer.) The show’s creator, Kyle Bradstreet, is the writer and producer of “Mr. Martin.” was. Robots,” and he injects some of the ambient angst that the show specializes in.
He also stated that “Mr. ‘Robot’ has a theme of paranoia and manipulation, and the Skrulls, who have the ability to take on convenient human form, are specifically made for that.” This gives the story of the Skrulls inciting public panic a topicality, but the text doesn’t give us enough human or dramatic perspective to make the violence and pathos resonate. Attempts to tie Fury’s experiences of racism and exclusion to the plight of the homeless and persecuted Skrulls add nothing noteworthy, at least in the early stages.
Among the franchise trends going on in “Secret Invasion,” one decision feels like a potential mistake: highlighting Fury’s exhaustion and exhaustion. Perhaps just to prepare for a return to terrifying existence in the remaining episodes, but here it doesn’t play to Jackson’s strengths. When he gets the chance to get fierce, the words “I’m Nick Fury. Even if I’m out, I’m inside” don’t promise much future satisfaction.