The First ‘Secret Invasion’ Reviews Are Here For Samuel L. Jackson And The Cast Of Marvel’s New Spy Series

Marvel hasn’t released a new Disney+ series since last year’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, so the anticipation is high for Secret Invasion. The new show features the return of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury as the weary spymaster grapples with his failure to protect the Earth from Thanos and the chaos that ensued. However, Fury doesn’t have time to sulk as the shape-shifting Skrulls move from friend to enemy in this espionage thriller.

While only the first two episodes were provided to critics, there seems to be an overwhelming consensus that Secret Invasion leans into the political vibes that made Captain America: The Winter Soldier one of the best MCU films of all time. That said, some critics were feeling the show more than others, but there’s almost universal agreement that the surprisingly stacked cast elevates the series.

You can see what the reviews are saying below:

Richard Newby, Empire:

Secret Invasion, created by Kyle Bradstreet, is not a superhero show. This may surprise those familiar with the 2008 comic storyline from Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Francis Yu, which saw nearly every costumed hero and villain mix it up with the alien intruders; the Disney+ series ditches The Avengers in favor of cold, hard espionage. It’s an area the Marvel Cinematic Universe has played in before, with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Black Widow being notable examples. But even then, we were still firmly in the world of heroes. In Secret Invasion, spies cannot be heroes by their very nature, and the murky moral waters they must wade through are anything but the expected Marvel method.

Rachel Leishman, The Mary Sue:

There’s a reason that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is still one of the most beloved of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s rooted in our love for mystery. Right out the gate, Secret Invasion has you on the edge of your seat just given the simple nature of its presence. We don’t know who to trust. Any time a character acts slightly different than we’re used to, you’ll feel an overwhelming need to scream “SKRULL” on your coach.

Adam Barnhart, Comic Book:

Where the series shines exceptionally well is when it lets Samuel L. Jackson be himself. Though the episodes reviewed are without Jackson’s trademark “motherf-cker,” his wit and charm are still put on full display. Secret Invasion is very much the show of Nick Fury, and that might be its saving grace. After 15 years of playing the character, viewers get to see what makes the former SHIELD boss tick, finally providing some storylines that peel back the layers of the walking enigma. It’s an examination of the character in only a way Jackson could accomplish, and it’s something that’s long past due.

Daniel D’Addario, Variety:

In its early going, “Secret Invasion” stands out for its willingness to go places, and its reticence to call attention to itself. Consider that, in the two-and-a-half years since Marvel began its project of airing series that explicitly complement what’s happening in their film universe on Disney+, its TV shows have looked for all the world like segmented feature films, albeit with a little less major-scale action and with franchise stars like Chris Hemsworth and Paul Rudd juuuust out of view. Ever since “WandaVision,” the show that started this period for Marvel, wound up ditching its novel episodic premise in time for a big climactic fight, these shows have often struggled to make the case for themselves as shows. These two episodes, by contrast, work.

However, other critics were not so intrigued by Marvel’s return to the spy genre. Despite the stellar cast, the first two episodes of Secret Invasion is not the MCU’s version of Andor that some fans were hoping for:

Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter:

Through two episodes, the series itself is a disappointment. A tremendous cast, led by Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Colman and Don Cheadle, keeps things generally watchable and, when they’re given the opportunity to interact, you can spot the best version of the show. But for the most part, Secret Invasion is more dour and even dull than one might expect from its John le Carré/Graham Greene trappings.

Jesse Hassenger, The Wrap:

Jackson, Mendelsohn, and Colman will likely keep the whole thing watchable, and if Kingsley-Adir and Clarke get more to do as it progresses, maybe it’ll become more than that. At first, though, anyone hoping for the MCU equivalent of “Andor” that Jackson seems up for – a dark espionage drama with some fantasy trimmings – will likely be disappointed.

Ben Travers, IndieWire:

To say the first two episodes are suspense-free wouldn’t be entirely fair. The premiere’s climax works well enough, and the hourlong entries move along without the obvious bloat of past MCU TV shows. Still, “Secret Invasion” proves as tepid as it is inert. The cast, featuring multiple Oscar winners and future recipient Ben Mendelsohn, is barely given room to do anything — even Jackson, who has the most screen time, barely fits in a raised eyebrow or trademark shout. Colman and Ben-Adir fare best, unleashing their wild sides in all-too-brief spurts, and it’s exciting to see Mendelsohn play a good guy for once. But like with most Marvel entries, these dynamic talents are conscripted to spout blunt exposition, rote dialogue, and forced quips.

Meghan O’Keefe, Decider:

Secret Invasion‘s first two episodes introduce an intriguing concept. Nick Fury really did create a galactic crisis through his own inattention. Can he fix it before it’s too late? The irony is that the bar has been raised so high in terms of what genre fans should expect from streaming shows that Secret Invasion itself feels a little late. The scripts are flabby, the visuals uninspired. Five years ago, Secret Invasion would have been top-tier genre entertainment. Now it feels, like Fury, a few important steps behind the competition.

Marvel’s Secret Invasion premieres June 21 on Disney+.