Secret Invasion struggles with its premisej

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It should come as no surprise to Marvel Cinematic Universe fans that Secret Invasion is yet another MCU adaptation that is nothing like the comics that inspired it. As the conflict between Nick Fury and the renegade Skrulls erupts into full warfare, some fans are likely to believe that the show ruined what made it interesting. Secret Invasion suffers with its premise because writers failed to capitalise on the dramatic abilities of shape-shifting extraterrestrial Skrulls. A typical issue that MCU and other franchise fans must avoid is penalising a programme or movie for not being something that was not promised. While the series’ contents were kept under wraps, as with most Marvel plans, the studio made clear that this series would be different than the Marvel Comics event. Captain Marvel has previously reimagined the Skrulls as refugees rather than monsters from the comics. That was never going to be the case with the programme. However, one of the most fundamental viewer expectations is to witness Skrulls impersonating humans in positions of power and influence. However, instead of Nick Fury rushing to a series of allies only to discover them changed with Rogue Skrulls, the “secret invasion” portion of the plot falls short.

The first few episodes of the series, which featured a spoof Agent Everett Ross, were more in line with what fans expected from the show. He was a well-known and trusted individual who was suddenly exposed to be completely different. However, with the exception of Skrulls replacing James Rhodes, no one Nick Fury meets is who he expects them to be. If the intention was to depict Marvel’s super-spy on the defensive, every ally or person he turned to should’ve been shown as a replacement. Instead of failing to prevent bogus terrorist plans, a well-placed cadre of Skrulls should have turned the world’s institutions against him, making him actually feel like “the most wanted man on the planet.” This may have also made Nick Fury’s wife’s surprise disclosure much more dramatic. The programme might have subverted that after a series of sequences in which he encounters people revealed to be Skrulls. The audience would be stunned if Fury broke into the house he lived with Priscilla, pulled a pistol on her, and demanded she explain who she “really” was. Instead, the majority of Skrulls are either generic nasty guys or high-level bureaucrats who have always been Skrulls in disguise. The series would function better as a smart spy thriller if spectators didn’t know who Fury could and couldn’t trust.

Again, every series should be judged on how well it delivers what writers want people to see rather than their own, often fictitious, expectations. Only in the instance of Secret Invasion did the trailers and marketing emphasise the question of “who can be trusted?” While it is too late to properly deliver on the hidden Skrull plan, the series might transform into a comparison of Talos and Gravik’s perspectives on mankind. Following a conflict that results in the death of numerous aliens, the series might evolve into a study of how fear and paranoia turn humans into the villains that G’iah and others fear they will become. Secret Invasion could have done with a bit more “cloak” and a lot less “dagger.” From the unnecessary murder of Agent Maria Hill to the phoney death of G’iah, the show tried to shock viewers in all the wrong areas. While every sequence with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is worth the price of admission on its own, there is a sense that Secret Invasion wasted a unique and dramatically compelling subject. The series may not be the final word on the Skrulls, but it is the start of a greater tale in the MCU about refugees attempting to find their way in a world that fears them.

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