In ‘Secret Invasion,’ it’s a human hero who’s the cure for superhero fatigue.
As movie and T.V. audiences grow increasingly sceptical of big-budget projects featuring folks in capes and cowls moving faster than a speeding bullet, what’s an enterprising superhero-based media platform to do?
If you’re Disney+ and you could build an exciting thriller around the worst dude to NOT wear a cape in the Cinematic Universe: Samuel L. Jackson’s super spy Nick Fury. Fury finally gets a showcase in the six-episode limited series Secret Invasion.
It’s first live-action series in 2023 and the first series in phase five, featuring a severely diminished Fury facing another world-threatening calamity. fans know Fury’s had a tough time over the years; the powerful, clandestine spy agency he once led, S.H.I.E.L.D., was revealed to be secretly riddled with Neo-Nazi bad guys in the film Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Then he got blipped out of existence for five years by another lousy guy, Thanos, at the end of Avengers: Infinity War.
As Secret Invasion begins, he has returned to Earth after years of being off-world, developing a new defence system for the planet. He’s got a scraggly beard, world-weary attitude and little sign of the three-moves-ahead-of-everyone confidence that led him to assemble the Avengers and manipulate some of the most powerful beings in the universe just a few movies ago.
Even his prize protégé Maria Hill, played with earnest efficiency by Cobie Smulders, is disappointed. “You’re not ready for this, Fury,” she tells him. “You were never the same after the blip. You always told me there is no shame in walking away when the steps are uncertain. So check your footing. Otherwise, someone’s gonna get hurt.”
Admittedly, this is a note we’ve seen in many series recently, from Star Trek: Picard to Shrinking: a big, longtime star plays a character who is forced to face his age, mortality and the weight of past decisions, wondering if he (even these days, it’s usually a he) can find the strength to face one more significant challenge.
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