The review is made possible by advanced screeners of episodes 1 and 2 of Secret Invasion, provided to Agents of Fandom by Disney for review purposes.
When they say not to trust anyone, take that advice with no exceptions. Marvel’s latest Disney+ series Secret Invasion delivers on every preconceived notion of maturity and dark undertones. Fans have been anxious to revisit this corner of the MCU for quite some time, having only dipped our toes in with the likes of Black Widow and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The creators behind Secret Invasion know what audiences want from this show, and they don’t waste any time in giving it to us. From the opening seconds, you’re overcome with suspicion and unease as your eyes dart around the screen, wondering what’s real and what isn’t. On top of an expertly crafted story, this series offers outstanding performances, beautifully real settings, and stakes that feel simultaneously personal and catastrophic.
Secret Invasion review: everything you’re hoping for and more
What makes Secret Invasion special is its ability to exceed in the mythos of the unknown. While you’re watching a well-paced and executed story that—through two episodes—is firing on all cylinders, you find yourself constantly wondering not only about everyone’s intentions, but the very nature of their existence. Trust and attachment of any kind only lead to unbelievable levels of uncertainty.
The level at which this series masters the mystery it’s structured around is an achievement worthy of celebration. If you’re constantly wondering, “what’s going on?” it’s common to feel distracted or overwhelmed by the sheer paradox of personalities. Fortunately for viewers, Secret Invasion toes this line with skillful levels of craftsmanship, in ways that benefit and build onto the story, not hold it back.
A surprising standout through the first several episodes is the set design. In a world where most superhero films and TV shows are CGI-heavy and filmed in The Volume or in front of green screens, Secret Invasion feels real. Whether characters are navigating through alleyways, hiding out in a safe house, or walking through a crowded plaza, every setting feels immensely permeable.
The cast delivers outstanding performances in ‘Secret Invasion’
To execute a story of this level, you need a cast that won’t crack under the weight of extraordinary pressure, and Secret Invasion found just that. Newcomers and returning stars alike all give top-class performances to bring together a story that relies on its characters’ trustworthiness to fulfill its true depth.
The standout of the series by a wide margin is Game of Thrones icon Emilia Clarke, who plays Talos’ daughter G’iah. Making her MCU debut in line with a stacked cast of seasoned veterans, Clarke elevates above all the rest into an echelon of her own.
Across from friend or foe in this series, she portrays competence and compassion while keeping her true intentions hidden on levels rarely seen before in Marvel television. Even when her scene partners are giving incredible performances, it still feels like they’re struggling to keep up.
Despite hovering in a tier above the rest, Clarke is not the only one who catches an eye. Ben Mendelsohn gives an incredibly layered performance as Talos, adding to the complex character we’ve been following since the days of Captain Marvel.
Returning MCU veteran Don Cheadle gives an intimidating yet comfortable performance as James Rhodes with limited screen time. Whether Rhodey stumbles into a bigger role or is phased out as the show goes along, he’s certainly going to have more people craving the Armor Wars movie after his performance in Secret Invasion.
An honorable mention goes to Kingsley Ben-Adir, who plays the terrifying Skrull leader Gravik. Gravik remains calm and menacing in the most terrifying situations, radiating a certain type of authority that’s only seen in the most confident antagonists. He could have 10 guns trained on him, ready to fire, and you still feel like he’s the most powerful, prepared person in the room.
‘Secret Invasion’ will continue the MCU hype
As someone whose anticipation for Secret Invasion has been sky-high over the last few months, I could not have asked for more from the opening two episodes. Criticism is sure to find its way onto the internet eventually, but given the delicately crafted story, outstanding performances, and shocking twists, it’ll be interesting to see on what the criticism is based.
It’s an unbelievable time to be a fan of superhero media, coming off Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 and Across the Spider-Verse, with Insomniac’s Spider-Man 2 set to release on PlayStation later this year. Flying out of the gates with a striking opening pair of episodes, Secret Invasion has all the tools needed to be the show of the summer, and just maybe Marvel’s best Disney+ series to date.
Secret Invasion premieres exclusively on Disney+ on June 21. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for episodic reviews and week-to-week editorial content.
'Secret Invasion' Review'Secret Invasion' Review
- Breathtaking set design
- Incredible performances
- Well executed and paced story
- Loads of paranoia
- Can be a bit tough to follow at times