Movies & TV Shows

Secret Invasion’s Low Rotten Tomatoes Score: 9 Reasons

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With its gradual pacing and a stunning demise within the MCU, Secret Invasion’s initial episode premiere has contributed to its underwhelming Rotten Tomatoes rating for various reasons.

Caution: The following article includes revealing details about Secret Invasion.

The debut of MCU’s Secret Invasion has garnered a number of factors that have contributed to its less-than-favorable Rotten Tomatoes score. Initially announced as a solo project for Nick Fury back in 2020, Secret Invasion follows the renowned MCU character’s return to Earth after the Blip. As he reunites with his allies, they are faced with the daunting task of thwarting a faction of rogue Skrulls determined to seize control of the planet. With the Skrulls having already infiltrated governments worldwide, the show delves into the uncertainty of who can truly be trusted.

Upon its release, Secret Invasion received a mixed reception from critics who had the opportunity to preview the series’ first two episodes. Presently, the show’s Rotten Tomatoes score stands at a modest 66 percent, barely managing to maintain its “Fresh” rating. The series had been highly anticipated within the MCU for its promised departure in tone, and with only one episode publicly available thus far, there remains ample room for the plot to unfold. While the controversy surrounding the show’s AI-driven opening credits has been a focal point of criticism, there are various other concerns that have contributed to Secret Invasion’s lackluster ratings.

Secret Invasion sets a notably slower pace compared to other entries in the MCU

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The MCU has built a reputation on its larger-than-life superheroes, delivering fast-paced action and gripping drama. However, Secret Invasion took a different approach by offering a grounded exploration of the universe, centering on human characters and political conflicts. This departure from the flashy hero aspect was a welcomed change, but it required a careful balance of quiet moments and suspenseful tension. Unfortunately, the opening episode of Secret Invasion mostly consists of exposition, lacking the necessary excitement to fully engage viewers in its premise.

The initial episodes of a series are crucial in capturing the audience’s attention, and while MCU fans may already be invested in Secret Invasion, the slow pacing could deter them from continuing. Reviewers’ criticisms might be based on only the first two episodes, but given the current pace, it becomes challenging to envision how Marvel will successfully encompass the entirety of Secret Invasion’s story within the limited span of six episodes.

Secret Invasion’s Action Is Lackluster

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The absence of superpowered individuals in Secret Invasion doesn’t necessarily imply a lack of action. The MCU has previously demonstrated their ability to orchestrate thrilling combat sequences involving regular humans, as seen with the Dora Milaje or the residents of Ta Lo. Even characters like Fury and Maria Hill have showcased their fighting skills in the past. However, Secret Invasion fails to capitalize on their abilities, providing little to no action sequences for them in the first episode.

The opening of Secret Invasion features a chase between Talos and a Skrull disguised as Everett Ross. While there is an intriguing shot of them ascending an apartment stairwell, the chase being solely on foot renders it lackluster. The episode’s concluding action sequence at the Unity Day festival also falls short, as the team simply navigates their way through a crowd. Although Talos engages in a fight with another Skrull at one point, neither of them fully displays their true Skrull capabilities. The skirmish occurs with both combatants in their human forms, resulting in a rather pedestrian fistfight between two ordinary men.

Lack of Tension and Stakes in Episode One of Secret Invasion

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In episode one of Secret Invasion, the central conflict revolves around renegade Skrulls who plan to assume American identities and orchestrate a bombing in Vossoyedineniye Square, with the intention of instigating a war between the United States and Russia. The primary objective upon Fury’s return to Earth is to prevent the bombing. However, the lead-up to the climax of the episode feels devoid of tension and lacks a sense of high stakes.

While it can be assumed that the repercussions of the bombing would be severe for Fury, Hill, and their team, this urgency is not effectively conveyed. The impending danger fails to elicit a genuine sense of suspense, both in the anticipation leading up to the Unity Day festival and in the subsequent pursuit just before the bomb is set to detonate. Even if the bombing serves merely as a catalyst for future episodes, episode one could have better established the impending doom surrounding the event, thus setting a suitable tone for a political thriller.

New Characters Aren’t Properly Introduced

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In the first episode of Secret Invasion, a plethora of fresh faces is introduced, ranging from MI6 agent Sonya Falsworth to G’iah, the estranged daughter of Talos. However, the abundance of new characters in this initial episode can be overwhelming, as only two familiar MCU characters serve as anchors. Furthermore, the lack of proper introductions contributes to critics’ observation that the show progresses slowly, making it challenging to develop a genuine connection with the characters on screen.

The sudden influx of numerous unfamiliar characters, particularly on the Skrulls’ side, can be disorienting. Audiences may find themselves questioning the significance of G’iah, the rebel Skrull, as her identity is not immediately contextualized. Additionally, the primary antagonist, Gravik, is merely mentioned in passing and appears in only one significant scene, despite his supposed powerful presence. While introducing entirely new characters is always a challenging task, Secret Invasion needed to establish a stronger foundation for these characters to elicit emotional investment from viewers as the series progresses.

Why did Fury change after the Blip?

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Secret Invasion delves into the core of Fury amidst the tumultuous Skrull invasion of Earth. After years spent at the S.A.B.E.R. headquarters in space, Fury’s return to Earth marks a significant moment. He had initially departed from Earth due to his disillusionment with the world’s collapse following the Blip, which directly links him to the ongoing Skrull conflict.

The series emphasizes that Fury has undergone a transformation since the Blip, and this point is reiterated by multiple characters throughout the show. Even a random Russian bar patron remarks that Fury will never be the same. Despite the frequency with which this idea is emphasized, the first episode falls short in effectively showcasing Fury’s altered personality and demeanor.

The Show Wastes Its A-List Talent

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The announcement of the cast for Secret Invasion generated significant excitement among fans, as it included several prominent names making their debut in the MCU. The inclusion of Emilia Clarke, known for her Emmy-nominated role in Game of Thrones, Academy Award winner Olivia Colman, and the rising star Kingsley Ben-Adir from Peaky Blinders, was highly anticipated. Additionally, the return of MCU veterans such as Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, and Cobie Smulders added to the star-studded ensemble. However, despite the impressive lineup, episode one of Secret Invasion fails to fully utilize its A-list talent.

Although the on-screen chemistry between Colman’s Sonya and Jackson’s Fury stands out as one of the episode’s highlights, Colman only makes a single appearance in episode one. On the other hand, Clarke’s portrayal of G’iah falls into the predictable trope of an estranged daughter fighting for her beliefs. While Clarke delivers a solid performance, the role has yet to showcase her full acting potential. While there is still room for these characters to shine as the series progresses, based on episode one, the issue lies less with the actors themselves and more with the material they have been given.

The main message of the comic should have been thoroughly explored in Secret Invasion

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The Secret Invasion Marvel comic, which serves as the basis for the Disney+ show, was originally published in 2008 as a crossover event. The storyline revolves around the Illuminati, comprising heroes like Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Namor, who join forces to confront the Skrulls and issue a warning about their potential invasion of Earth. However, the group is captured and later released after extensive study. Years later, the Skrulls do invade Earth, infiltrating the planet’s defenses by assuming the forms of various superheroes. The main theme of the Secret Invasion comic is the unsettling notion that even beloved heroes like Captain America and Iron Man could be Skrulls masquerading as humans.

With the tagline “Who do you trust?” for the comic event, it emphasized that the world could no longer trust the very heroes who were supposed to protect them. In episode one of the show, the revelation that Agent Ross has been a Skrull for an undisclosed period was surprising, but his character is not significant enough to evoke a profound sense of breached trust. Even if Marvel was unable to secure some of their biggest stars to reprise their roles in Secret Invasion, the show could have implied the involvement of more prominent supporting characters or featured appearances by heroes like Spider-Man or Black Panther in their full suits to create a greater impact.

The Setting Is Visually Bland

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Despite being grounded on Earth, Secret Invasion can still be visually captivating. While the series may lack the elaborate and colorful galactic planets, it doesn’t mean it can’t create visually interesting settings. However, in episode one of Secret Invasion, the majority of the scenes take place in Russia, and few of these locations have been visually stimulating thus far.

Although the show aims for a dark tone in line with a political spy thriller, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the characters’ surroundings need to be dull. There are glimpses of potential for vibrant and lively sets, such as the bustling downtown Moscow or the festive atmosphere of Unity Day. To maintain audience engagement, future episodes of Secret Invasion should ideally feature locations that feel more vibrant, alive, and richly detailed.

The plot feels like a version 2.0 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier

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Secret Invasion shares significant similarities with the Disney+ show The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Both series fall under the genre of political thrillers and revolve around Earth’s heroes fighting against rebellious groups. Whether it’s the Flag Smashers in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier or the renegade Skrulls in Secret Invasion, both groups are portrayed as enemies to the public but are driven by their own beliefs in reclaiming their rightful homes.

To avoid becoming a repetitive narrative, Secret Invasion must accelerate its pace in subsequent episodes. While both series explore political commentary on topics like immigration and belonging, Secret Invasion has the advantage of leveraging its Skrull characters to differentiate itself and drive home its central theme. The premise of Skrull infiltration on Earth holds immense potential, and future episodes of Secret Invasion must live up to it to challenge the low critic scores and deliver a compelling storyline.

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