When Disney+ announced Secret Invasion, it was poised to be a more adult, grittier take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the wake of the season finale, Secret Invasion seems more like a colossal waste of time.
Six episodes isn’t a significant investment, but nonetheless, you expect a payoff after spending that much time watching a season of TV.
Instead of being closed-ended, the series was more about setting up the following stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We watched six episodes and got little to no satisfaction with the conclusion.
The best compliment I can give Secret Invasion is that it was different from the other shows we’ve watched on Disney+ set in this universe, but since it was also the biggest chore to watch, that’s not saying much.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of She-Hulk, but at least the characters evolved as the series progressed.
Going into Secret Invasion, we were promised a sprawling tale as Nick Fury and Maria Hill got their time to shine, stopping the plot of the Skrulls invading Earth.
Secret Invasion Season 1 Episode 1 was relatively slow-paced, but it did help set up the conflicts for the remainder of Secret Invasion.
The first red flag that the series would waste our time came at the end of the premiere when Maria Hill was killed off, feeding into a broader problem with how the MCU has treated female characters.
Maria was a part of the franchise for over a decade but was long overdue for a deeper dive, and that should have been one of Secret Invasion’s brightest spots.
The series understandably wanted to start with a splash to get people talking, but it left a sour taste knowing that they elected to kill off a fan-favorite to prop up the character of Nick Fury to get there.
Colbie Smulders is fantastic, but it must have been difficult for her to hear her character would be written out of the MCU universe with so little fanfare.
Kingsley Ben-Adir is a great actor, but Gravik is one of the blandest villains in MCU history.
It’s hard to imagine anyone looking back on Secret Invasion, hoping to revisit Gravik.
Gravik’s mindset was obviously that he wanted the humans to pay, and it left very little for Ben-Adir to do in light of it because the character was so meh.
The worst part was that there should have been a battle of epic proportions between Gravik and G’iah, but it fell flat in the end, like the rest of the series.
Emilia Clarke has proven to be an excellent actress from Game of Thrones alone, but G’iah was written as an emotionless young woman, changed by all of the loss she’d endured.
Secret Invasion Season 1 Episode 6 made you wonder if Clarke was told her character would become the most powerful person in the MCU.
That’d be a pretty cool thing to be told if only G’iah had been well-written.
Sure, there were some superhero moments, but she could have been utilized to a far great degree.
G’iah and Gravik’s final battle was all over the place, and since it’s practically the MCU’s policy that they would die at the end, there wasn’t a reason to be invested in the battle in the first place.
Watching Secret Invasion Season 1 Episode 3 proved they were already toying with the idea of killing G’iah. Why would his death in the finale come as a surprise?
G’iah and Gravik cycling through their powers were worth the watch, but any good from it was undone by the fight’s sheer lack of logic.
It was over too soon, and when you think about it, Gravik shouldn’t have gone down so easily.
I imagine Clarke will return as G’iah in another MCU tale, but hopefully, she gets better material.
There was a tease that G’iah would work with Sonya (Olivia Colman) to keep the world safe, which would be welcome.
Colman was the best part of the series as the quick-witted operative with a cutthroat attitude.
Sonya commanded every room because she understood what was expected of her, so if the best part of Secret Invasion was how her character was introduced and appreciated.
Had Colman and Clarke shared more screen time, Secret Invasion would have been the better for it because, as it stands, it wasn’t a worthwhile show.
Such a stellar cast demands good material, but in this tale, all the evidence proved it wasn’t suited for the talent available.
Samuel L. Jackson was perfect as the changed Nick Fury, but the material didn’t give him what he needed to show his versatility as an actor.
Jackson will next be seen in The Marvels, and from the trailer alone, he seems different.
Maybe being away from Earth has helped him, but as Secret Invasion played out, it seems he was written differently for the two projects.
At its core, Secret Invasion did capture the tone the trailers promised but not the thrills and action we’d expect from a series set in the MCU.
Instead, it wasted its cast and viewers’ time because, by the end, everything that happened could have been explained in passing at the beginning of the next phase of the MCU.
That’s not the quality we expect coming off the success of WandaVision and Loki.
What are your thoughts on how the show was executed, TV Fanatics?
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.