I’m burned out on Marvel — but Secret Invasion looks good enough to pull me back in

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Secret Invasion
(Image credit: Disney Plus)

Ever since Tony Stark uttered those famous final words and snapped his fingers at the climax of Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been in a slow tailspin. And I’m definitely among the growing number of fans who consider themselves seriously burned out on all things Marvel. And yet the recent trailer for Secret Invasion has me intrigued. 

Secret Invasion is set to be the first Marvel TV show that will hit Disney Plus in 2023, and while I’ve found the MCU’s previous small-screen efforts mostly subpar (yes, I even disliked Moon Knight), the latest preview of this Samuel L. Jackson fronted miniseries has pleasantly surprised me. Based on this two-minute teaser, Secret Invasion is actually showing serious promise.

However, after being burned multiple times by Marvel over the last few years, I’m approaching this streaming show with a cautious mindset. After all, Marvel has been accused of deploying slightly misleading marketing before. So while Secret Invasion’s new trailer looks good, it could be writing checks that the final product will struggle to cash.  

There’s a lot to like about Secret Invasion 

The recently released trailer for Secret Invasion gives us our best look yet at the upcoming Disney Plus show, and appears to be essentially an espionage thriller. In fact, tonally it appears to be somewhat similar to The Night Agent, which is currently making a huge splash on Netflix right now.

In short, the show will center on Nick Fury (Jackson), the former director of S.H.I.E.L.D., as he attempts to stop an invasion of Earth from a group of shapeshifting aliens known as Skrulls. But who can you trust when your fiercest enemy could look like your closest ally?  

That’s a pretty intriguing setup for a television series, and it seems ripe for numerous twists and turns as Fury questions the allegiances of his allies, and likely discovers some of them are not exactly who they claim to be. Secret Invasion could be a show that really keeps viewers guessing, making the seven days wait between episodes feel twice as long.  

Marvel has also assembled an excellent cast for this one. Fury is far from the only returning character with Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) all confirmed to appear. Plus, the show will see new faces join the Marvel clan in the form of Emilia Clarke and the always-excellent Olivia Colman. That’s a cast list with real potential for some fantastic performances. 

The lack of superheroes (apart from Rhodes, who does pilot his own Iron Man suit) is actually another positive in my opinion. I feel like Marvel has missed a trick to date not using its TV show content to explore the MCU from different perspectives, and Secret Invasion may finally do just that. After years of superhero-led content, a show focusing on characters who don’t have extraordinary abilities could feel very refreshing, and be exactly what the franchise needs right now. 

Finally, the trailer gives me huge Captain American: The Winter Soldier vibes, and considering that movie remains one of Marvel’s best to date, that’s a very good thing. If Secret Invasion can nail the same tone as that 2014 flick, then we could finally get a Marvel show that helps to reinvigorate my interest in the MCU, rather than adding to my feeling of burnout as the likes of She-Hulk and Falcon and Winter Solider did.

Hopefully this isn’t another Age of Ultron  

There’s no doubt that the new Secret Invasion trailer has caught my attention, but I’m hesitant to get too hyped up because I’ve been burned by Marvel’s marketing machine before, specifically back in 2015 with Avengers Age of Ultron. 

The first teaser trailer for Avengers Age of Ultron sold us a very different movie to the one we ended up getting. And I’m not the only one who believes that the initial trailer was a lot better than the full film. The trailer suggested that Ultron was going to be a serious threat to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and his actions would fracture the team in irreparable ways. None of that really happened in the end. In fact, Ultron’s reign certainly didn’t last for an age; it barely lasted a few days. 

The trailer also presented a tone that wasn’t really accurate to the vibe of the final movie either. The preview is practically chilling, suggesting that Ultron is going to snuff out at least a few of the team members. However, tonally Age of Ultron ended up being pretty much identical to the first Avengers movie. It’s overall pretty light with plenty of comical zingers and no real stakes or sense of actual threat. 

The cynic in me worries that we may see something similar occur with Secret Invasion. While the trailer promises a morally grey plot that could shift the power dynamics of the MCU, at least on Earth, the actual series may fall back on the tropes that have served the inter-connected comic book franchise well over the past decade but have now become seriously stale. 

However, I’m not going to write off a promising series before I’ve had the chance to actually watch it for myself, even if I’m refusing to get too excited just in case. Secret Invasion is currently scheduled to premiere on Disney Plus on June 21, my fingers are firmly crossed that it lives up to the vast potential its latest trailer hints at. 

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.