Secret Invasion (season 1)

Marvel's Secret Invasion never gets off the ground, yet it ends with a thud.
Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Cobie smulders
Kyle Bradstreet
Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Superhero
Where to watch
Overall Score
Rating Overview
Rating Summary
Each episode of Marvel's Secret Invasion ranges from boring to mind-numbingly dull. Fine actors do a serviceable job with redundant dialogue and one hour's worth of plot inexpertly stretched over six thirty-minute episodes.

Set after the events of Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, Marvel’s Secret Invasion attempts to adapt the fan-favorite comic arc of the same name for the small screen.

UPDATE: We’re going to start using Secret Invasion as a test for a slightly new rating system. While the overall score at the top of the page will remain an average of each episode until the season’s end and we take a look at the whole, we will start including each episode’s individual scores in its respective review.

Secret Invasion (S1 E1)

As Disney continues to pump out mediocre and increasingly woke bilge at a pace faster than a juiced-up mono-testicled Lance Armstrong, disappointments like the most recent Ant-Man as well as the pond scum that was She-Hulk seem to quickly be becoming the rule rather than the exception for the House of Mouse. Fortunately, having the lowest expectations makes episode 1 of Secret Wars tolerable, if not exactly enjoyable.

The story centers on the idea that out of an estimated 2000 Skrull (shape-shifting aliens from Captain Marvel) refugees remaining on Earth, a significant number have decided to make our home their home, and there isn’t enough room for the both of us. Therefore, in their effort to conquer the planet, these dissidents have decided to sow chaos in our world.

The first problem with the show is rooted in its premise; as the current state of The West shows us, it takes few people and even less time to change the nature of our society for the worse. So, the idea that beings who can adopt the forms and minds of anyone at any time would need to resort to low-level guerilla tactics instead of usurping all Western leadership is ludicrous and lazy writing. Yet this is the episode’s modus operandi.

Not helping things is that between the sparse and awkward action sequences, every (and I mean every) other scene consists entirely of people sitting and talking. With Samuel L. Jackson in the cast, one can’t be blamed for having Star Wars prequel flashbacks. Furthermore, 90% of the exposition dumps are to drive home that Nick Fury has been “different” and off-planet since The Blip.

black widow hurricanrana
It looks cool once or twice, but the fighter who tries this in real life will get pounded into the ground.

By 2010, Natalia Romanoff’s (aka Black Widow) over-the-top hurricanrana was already becoming a trope for female bad@$$ess in film. However, the fight choreographers for Secret Invasion seem to have developed an entire fighting style based on this inefficient and flamboyant move because every battle of fisticuffs is quickly transformed into a series of cartoon judo flips and strange-looking rolls that no one in a real fight has ever used in the history of ever.

Filled with mind-numbing exposition and peppered with odd cinematic choices, by its end, Secret Wars leaves you with more questions than anything but does little to make you care about the answers.


I couldn’t find anything. Some of you might still be arguing that Sammy J’s Nick Fury is a woke choice. However, at this point, he’s been Fury for 15 years, and it’s hard to think of the role being played by anyone else. So, it may or may not have been a woke decision back in the day, but now it’s long-established canon.


Nick Fury Secret Invasion

Secret Invasion (S1 E2)

Episode 2 is a marginal improvement from last week’s entry. The dialogue is marginally better, and the situations are more varied. However, the series continues to suffer from poor pacing that is clearly supposed to feel like a fine slow-burning cigar building in fragrance and blooming tasting notes but is just a result of a lack of meaningful content to fill the season’s six episodes.

That being said, the show’s greatest weakness so far is that of the antagonists’ plan. The Skrull wish to establish a new homeland on Earth. In last week’s review, we pointed out that with their shapeshifting abilities, the Skrull could easily assume the roles of the most powerful people in the world, thereby manipulating world governments into providing a safe haven for their refugees.

In this episode, we find out that they have infiltrated the upper echelons but have done nothing with their positions. What’s more is that, in what is steadily becoming the habit of MCU storytellers, the writers have eschewed simple logic and conveniently forgotten established canon in an effort to manufacture drama where there need be none.

Is anyone else old enough to remember the tourist attraction known as New Asgard? Well, the writers must not because this series repeatedly tells us that humans won’t accept an alien race living among them. Furthermore, Episode 1 established that the Skrull are immune to radiation and the dissidents live in an abandoned irradiated facility. Chornobyl’s Exclusion Zone is more than three times the size of New York City, while the Skrull refugees are one-eighth its population.

Even if it were believable that not one of the one million Skrull refugees had the cunning and will to manipulate a third-rate and already corrupt government into carving out a garden spot for them, it’s beyond unbelievable that no one in nearly 30 years thought to manipulate the rampantly corrupt Ukraine into allowing the Skrull to cultivate Chornobyl.

The performances in this episode were stronger than in the first, mostly due to a significant reduction in clunky and repetitive exposition. It’s not been erased completely, but it’s better this time around. However, Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn, best known for his roles in Rogue One and The Dark Knight Rises, is inexplicably difficult to understand as he mumbles his lines with an English accent that feels forced as he alternates between seeming bored and uninvested in his character or half asleep and uninvested in his character.

In an overt display of lack of attention to detail, the writers (like virtually all action writers since the beginning of time) have no idea how loud suppressed gunfire is. They also ignore soundwaves in general as suppressed gunfire blasts through a huge window knocking a man thudding into a wall and causing several large metallic instruments to crash to the ground along with his thudding dead body. Yet, the men in the next room (there’s no door between them) hear nothing even though both the space that they are in and the one in which he was killed are comprised of nothing but hard sound-reflective surfaces.

Finally, despite the contrived and hinted-at reasons given for why The Avengers won’t be assembling to help Fury this time, it’s hard to care about the stakes in this series, thanks to all of the technical and magical MacGuffins that have been used throughout the MCU. For instance, why would anyone care that ***SPOILER*** Maria Hill was killed when Agents of SHIELD spent several seasons establishing that Fury had access to tech that can resurrect people? ***END SPOILER*** 

It wasn’t as boring as the first episode, but it’s hard to get past the Hulk-sized plot holes. Still, it’s fine as background noise for now.


There were a lot of little eye-rolling woke moments in this episode. While I’m sure that some will likely decry Talos briefly posing as an attractive woman as a deeply woke moment, it was clearly used as a tactic to distract a young male soldier and not as an agenda-driven decision. It’s a solid tactic and one that DnD players have used for generations.

  • In what Leftists will never understand, the hyper-level of diversity in the show isn’t annoying because it’s diverse. It’s annoying because it’s so obvious and artificial. It’s no better than a bad special effect (looking at you The Flash) that takes you out of the moment, if only briefly. The showrunners are obviously using the Skrull’s shapeshifting abilities as an excuse to stuff as much diversity into every scene as they can.
  • Nick Fury was among the most powerful and elite men in the history of this fictional reality. Rhodey is a world-famous superhero and now serves as a high member of the President’s administration. So when two actors worth a combined fortune nearing $200 million start spouting off lines like “men who look like us don’t get promoted because of who our daddies know,” it’s insulting in the extreme. I certainly never got a promotion because of who my daddy knew, and I have considerably less melanin in my skin than these two Hollywood titans.
    • The aforementioned line is one in a series that takes place during a single scene of this episode.
  • In another scene, Fury tells us a story about how he and his mother were subjected to segregation in the South when he was a boy. While this is something that certainly happened, thanks to the policies of the Democrat Party, it was completely irrelevant to the scene (except that both took place on a train). It reads like it was inserted by some blue-haired college educated, suburban-raised white chick.
  • During the same train ride, Fury tells Talos that there’s “not enough room or tolerance on this planet for another species.” Um, there’s only 1 million of them. The Biden administration has let over 6 million illegal aliens into our country in 2.5 years.
    • Not to repeat myself, but New Asgard is a thing in this universe. Clearly, its earthlings are ok with aliens living amongst them.
    • This is both a plot hole and a whole lot of woke preachy bull$h!t.
  • The evil Skrull leader says, “[Unlike humans, dogs] don’t go out of their way to degrade and destroy their habitat.” Environmentalist nonsense.


Secret Invasion (S1 E3)


secret invasion woke ratingAs we reach the halfway point in the season, episode 3 of Marvel’s Secret Invasion doesn’t give us much to discuss. In a season that already made large chunks of its first two episodes feel like, as Bilbo Baggins once said, “butter scraped over too much bread,” Betrayed (its title) manages almost completely to feel like filler.

The primary action revolves around Fury and Talos as they attempt to terminate a missile strike aimed at the U.N., which, they believe, would have started World War III (I have my doubts and might be able to be convinced that we give it a try).

In an episode with stakes this high, one could expect it to be fast-paced and adrenaline-pumping. Those expecting it, however, will have to live with their disappointment. Instead of pulse-pounding and thrilling intrigue, we get more of the sit-and-speak emotionally barren exposition that has become the series’s trademark.

The pacing is slower than Biden shuffling around a stage, and the dialogue is as interesting as KJP’s recitations from her Book of Everything. Moreover, the stakes never feel as dire as the show would like. Nick and Talos’s manhunt consists of the two making a phone call, and the audience never feels the rush of anticipation as we wonder if the two will stop the launch in time. There’s never any doubt that they will. Furthermore, when they do find their quarry, guess what they do? You guessed it, they sit and talk.

Combine this with silly and nonsensical details like Fury threatening to kill the human son of someone being impersonated by a Skrull and that Skrull (whose cover is already blown) inexplicably staying in character for the boy’s sake, and what you get is 10 minutes of rehashed details from two previous episodes recycled and forced into an hour-long narrative, as well as several excuses to browse around on your phone.


So little actually happens that there’s not a lot to point out in this episode, but the one element that we do ding, we ding hard.

  • I gave it the benefit of the doubt and three episodes, but the complaints about Disney once again taking a strong and respected (within the fictional universe) male character and dumping all over him have not been exaggerated.
    • The writers of this show clearly hate the character and have made sure to repeatedly degrade and gracelessly downgrade him because if there’s one thing upon which all Disney writers seem to agree, it is that as men age, they must end up as miserable sacks of flesh.
      • He’s a bad friend.
      • He’s a bad leader.
      • He’s a bad mentor.
      • He’s a bad husband.
      • He’s a bad spy.
      • He’s bad at keeping his word.


Secret Invasion (S1 E4)

As season 1 of Marvel’s Secret Invasion nears its end, episode 4 provides some “big” reveals. The problem is that it’s hard to care, thanks to the generally slow pacing, mediocre dialogue, and often low-energy performances.

They’ve deconstructed (i.e., sh@t on) Fury to the point that he’s hard to root for, Mendelson’s would be sympathetic Skrull seems half asleep most of the time, and the brief moments that G’iah, played by the rough-looking Emilia Clarke, is on screen, she’s unlikable.

However, there is one scene in this episode with some emotional appeal, thanks entirely to a nuanced performance by Charlayne Woodard, who plays Nick Fury’s wife. In it, she manages to squeeze out the only moment in the series thus far to have any semblance of authenticity or gravity. Unfortunately, it’s over almost before it begins.

One of the biggest weaknesses with most of Marve’sl solo outings, be they movies or series, is that there’s never a very good reason given for why no one is calling The Hulk or asking to borrow Spider-Man’s magic Stark deus ex 3D printer (a device that can whip up curative potions and anything else the plot needs). So it is too, that an Avengers-shaped hole sits in the middle of every sluggish episode of Secret Invasion.

With no momentum, an underdeveloped story spread over too many episodes, and characters with all the charisma of potatoes, Secret Invasion remains an easily skippable addition to Disney’s ever-growing menagerie of duds.

Secret Invasion (S1 E5)

As it rehashes the previous installments, episode 5 of Secret Invasion remains nearly as dull as the four before. Serving to wrap up what little happened in Episode 4, even less happens in this one, so much so that there’s very little point in writing much more.

Full of repetitive and predictable dialogue, bland and uninspired performances, and a plot that continues to make little sense, watch virtually anything other than Secret Invasion.



  • “The males of my species are very similar. If they’re not busy gaslighting you, they’re threatening you with murder.”
  • Nearly every man is either evil, a woman in disguise, a busted-down shell of their former selves, or generally inferior to every woman on screen.


Secret Invasion (S1 E6)

Season 1 of Secret Invasion has blessedly come to an end. In the ultimate episode, we are treated to an unearned boss fight and spontaneous genocidal racism. It also continues the season’s trend of being utterly uninteresting while offering no meaningful payoff as Nick Fury ultimately ends up accomplishing absolutely nothing by its end.





  • M-She-U has gone full Barbie. It don’t need no man, and any man in charge is kind of a POS or washed up.
    • Emilia Clarke’s G’iah gets an unearned super battle that is so ridiculously and inexplicably one-sided it’s a wonder that the series existed. One second, there’s a bad guy who has been a step ahead of everyone for the entire season, and the next (even though the two ostensibly have equal power levels), he, the lifelong soldier, is getting rag-dolled by a suddenly vastly superior girl-boss who’s been anything but for the rest of the season.
  • The regular refrain of “humans are inherently racist” is vomited up more than once.
    • The President suddenly goes from a reasonable man to a blood-thirsty genocidal racist because he’s white and a human.
    • When The President issues a jihad on all non-humans, the first group of vigilante murderers is a threesome of machine gun-wielding rednecks, followed by a white guy with a buzzcut and a gun, followed by a group of machine gun-wielding baddies who get their @$$es handed to them by a 100lbs woman with a knife.


Filled with more dialogue than a Quentin Tarantino diner scene but without any of the talent or wit and boasting an evil master plan that makes only slightly more sense than the good guy’s counter plan, Secret Invasion is the perfect example of the demise of the MCU. Every episode suffers from glacial pacing that is jarringly cut short by its sitcom-lengthed runtime anytime something remotely approaching interesting happens.

Furthermore, every performer feels like they’ve had the energy sucked out of them, delivering serviceable but otherwise uninspired performances that take them from point A to bank-teller.

Skip this trash and rewatch the original Iron Man instead.

Oh, the trigger discipline and muzzle awareness in the final episode was ridiculous. At one point, fake-Rhodey flags the President while he’s thumbing the trigger. Was Alec Baldwin their weapons trainer?


Disney has managed to “deconstruct” a strong male character once again and supplant him with more competent and better females with less personality and far less charisma. Fury’s presence was wholly and utterly unnecessary in the show. He could have accomplished more and lost less had he made a phone call.

James Carrick

James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.


  • Tia

    June 23, 2023 at 12:05 pm

    Interesting. I haven’t kept up with the Marvel Disney+ stuff, but honestly might be cautiously willing to give this a go anyway. Mindless B-rated drivel is occasionally fun.


  • Philip

    June 23, 2023 at 12:14 pm

    The wokeness will come. In the season-ender, a democratic congresswoman will be ranting about how this is a nation of immigrants and we need skrull asylum-seekers to make our delicious skrull soft tacos.



    • MNH

      July 26, 2023 at 6:53 am

      Delicious Skrull soft tacos now with 100% Skrull meat.



  • Ok Groomer

    June 23, 2023 at 8:06 pm

    As stated from a different reviewer, Secret Invasion pushes Disney’s not so secret agenda that men are women and women are men. I found that to be the case and once I clued into it, I couldn’t get past it. It was like trying to watch Armageddon and not notice each scene resolving itself every 60 seconds.



  • Ruse

    July 2, 2023 at 5:14 am

    Hard to take seriously claims that the show doesn’t have “Wokeness” when a central and recurring tenet of the show is to denigrate & emasculate the male hero. Deliberately deconstructing male role-models is a core feature of “Wokeness,” and the show goes out of its way to have supporting characters pile on Nick Fury / Samuel L Jackson in ways that obviously speak to a “Woke” agenda.


    • James Carrick

      July 2, 2023 at 9:21 am

      I disagree. It took a weak and insecure man, dropped him into a hero’s journey, and made him a sword-wielding monster fighting mensch by the end. It was a testament to the importance of male and female romantic relationships and what it means to protect the woman you love.



  • Galambos Tamás

    July 3, 2023 at 4:45 am

    “. Instead, it’s just slow, feeling like another story that could be told in less time and with fewer episodes that are unnaturally stretched to fill some producer’s quota.”

    So is it like Andor? I dont think that was a masterpiece, simply totally unnecessary overstretched and boring.


  • Tom C

    July 3, 2023 at 5:49 pm

    Here is a woke moment for you for episode 1 around 38:45 at a bar.
    Fury: “Spooks like me buying shots”, Hill: “You can’t say that”, Fury: “No. You can’t say that”


  • The Last Rational Human

    July 4, 2023 at 2:14 am

    So basically from this page, I can gleam that “Wokeness” is:

    – Anything that goes against the political right’s views and beliefs

    – Anything that features characters that are more than half people of color or more than 1 black person

    – Anything that depicts a mean (or more) white person because it dismisses actual reality where every white person is a saint.

    – Anything that dares to make white men look bad (but everyone else looking bad is okay)

    – Pretty much anything that doesn’t offend a conservative

    So to be anti-woke is to be against films and TV shows sacrificing story to pander to certain groups so your way to combat it is by encouraging media that panders to you.

    Everyday I find it harder to believe that humans are an advanced species.



    • George

      July 17, 2023 at 6:47 pm

      “Everyday I find it harder to believe that humans are an advanced species.”

      Yeah, me too. But only after reading your misinformed whiney drivel.



  • The Last Rational Human

    July 4, 2023 at 2:17 am

    Something told me comments on this page would be moderated to pander to the owner’s feelings and, per usual, I predicted right.

    So basically the anti-woke mob are SJWs with a MAGA hat on. 🤣



  • David Miller

    July 5, 2023 at 5:09 pm

    It’s too early. It is Disney. It will come.


    • Brad Williams

      July 27, 2023 at 7:52 am

      Tell your sister. You were right……


  • RandomWatcher

    July 7, 2023 at 6:57 am

    The Skrulls need to hideout and be inconspicuous in Russia….so let’s cast a 6 foot black dude to play one. He certainly won’t stand out with Russia’s black population being about 0.005% of the country…

    The overly diverse casting and women in top positions, of course this is woke.



  • Ekow Adnega

    July 12, 2023 at 12:11 am

    I didn’t know a character arc where Nick Fury rediscovers himself/his roots to become one of the most badass men on the planet again was “Woke degradation”. Huh.



  • Anonymous

    July 14, 2023 at 9:51 pm

    Why is episode 2 rated as not woke? Every woman was in a position of power over men and degraded them constantly. Black people talked at great length about their struggle and heritage. The Indian woman who is of course in a position of power stands up against something she doesn’t believe in saying “I do not submit” and of course she gets off scot free. Her defiance is approved of where the white guy was instantly silenced and insulted. Her first words were “I think I speak for everyone when…”

    They spent most of the episode degrading Fury like he’s a weak old man who did everything wrong in his career. One black guy gets power, why? “What gives me the right? Fury abandoned us.”

    A woman berates Fury, saying he’s the cause of her daughter’s death: “Oh, so it’s your fault she’s dead.” Another woman tortures a man happily, intentionally “removing” his finger. Which of course goes right in line with the dick jokes she makes. She tells one guy “I’m above your pay grade.”

    Yeah, totally nothing woke here. The episode was obsessed with race and female empowerment. It was an obvious power fantasy.



    • James Carrick

      July 14, 2023 at 11:08 pm

      I think that those are all fair criticisms. Truths be told, I find that I’m so bored during each episode that it’s hard to focus.

      When I write my final review for the season, I’ll reevaluate each episode.


      • Brad Williams

        July 26, 2023 at 4:34 pm

        I heard finale was very woke. Need to update the tags



  • Austin

    August 3, 2023 at 1:35 pm

    Hey James!

    I think it’d make sense to move up the placement of the review for shows every time they’re updated. Perhaps you could even have in parentheses something like “(Through Episode 3)”/“(Entire Series)” by the title!



    • James Carrick

      August 3, 2023 at 1:55 pm

      Yeah, I’ve done that in the past. The problem is that it requires me to create redirects as it changes the URL. I’m in the process of changing the URL structure right now. It should remedy the issue.


      • Austin

        August 3, 2023 at 6:20 pm

        Thanks, James!

        Will there be a way in the future to have responses to my comments initiate an email to me? I had to find this page manually to check if anyone had responded to me.


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