Secret Invasion Shows How All Over The Place MCU Phase 4 Has Been

The trailer that was released at D23 for Secret Invasion has only exemplified how all over the place the MCU’s Phase 4 has been in terms of its tone. Secret Invasion is set to release in the first quarter of 2023 and centers on Nick Fury and Talos attempting to stop a faction of Skrulls intent on invading Earth. Due to the nature of the plot, as well as the comic book run of the same name on which the show is based, Secret Invasion has a very specific tone.


The MCU’s Secret Invasion will be one of the first installments of the MCU’s Phase 5, after Black Panther: Wakanda Forever closes out Phase 4. Phase 4 has been almost a test of sorts for Marvel Studios, as the first time Disney+ shows were included as part of their roster and overarching story. This is evident by the sheer size of Phase 4, which will consist of 15 projects once Black Panther 2 is released in November 2022 (17 if both Werewolf by Night and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special are included).

One thing that The tone and feel of Secret Invasion has brought to light is how inconsistent Phase 4 has been tonally. There is no escaping the fact that Phase 4 has been the most divisive of all MCU Phases, with that divisiveness being mostly accredited to the arguments over which tone the MCU’s various projects should take. Secret Invasion (promised to be a crossover event) and the tone the show is exhibiting only goes to further this divisiveness with Phase 4.

MCU Phase 4 Projects Have Been Divisive For Their Differing Tones

The main thing that has made Phase 4 so divisive is the tonal shifts of Marvel Studios’ various projects since WandaVision. When concerning the most divisive projects of Phase 4, the ones that are oftentimes mentioned are Eternals, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The reason for the majority of these dividing opinions is due to their lighthearted tones. Outside of Eternals, which was fairly self-serious, the other projects mentioned are much more lighthearted than other MCU entries. Because of this, MCU Phase 4 projects such as She-Hulk and Thor: Love and Thunder have received major criticisms for resorting to humor too often, therefore decreasing the narrative heft and emotional depth of the projects.

Ms. Marvel also, due to the young age of its titular character, was criticized for being aimed toward young adults/teenagers and being less serious as a result. On the other hand, Doctor Strange 2 included some genuinely frightening, horror-fueled moments as well as having a considerably darker tone than the other projects, mainly thanks to Sam Raimi’s directorial flair. Conversely, Sam Raimi also brought with this his tendency to alleviate the horror aspects with his signature campy humor and goofy, pulpy moments that are common with many of his films. This also dragged Doctor Strange 2 and its multiverse incursion mayhem into the divisive crowd when concerning the MCU’s Phase 4 as its tone, while sometimes scarily dark, was too inconsistent due to Raimi’s sense of humor.

Why Secret Invasion Fixes The MCU Phase 4 Tone Problem For Phase 5

Secret Invasion, however, can fix the MCU’s tonal problem by kicking off Phase 5 with a gritty, spy thriller. The trailer for the show released at D23 2022 certainly gives off this vibe, feeling much more akin to Captain America: The Winter Soldier than She-Hulk or Thor 4. With a character like Nick Fury being the central lead of the show, this was almost expected. Fury’s appearance in the likes of The Winter Soldier is what made it more of a spy film than a superhero one. Alongside this, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is expected to be darker in tone than the previous two installments, meaning that Phase 5 is already off to a better start tonally than the divisive Phase 4 of the MCU.

While the fun comedies of the MCU certainly have their place, the argument can definitely be made that Phase 4 employed that style and tone far too often at a junction where audiences were expecting movies and shows to cover the largely serious ramifications of Avengers: Endgame. With Secret Invasion, then, the MCU is showing that they can still do the darker, grittier side that makes films like The Winter Soldier come at the top of most MCU tier lists. With Phase 5 beginning also, Marvel Studios will begin gearing up towards Phase 6 and two Avengers movies, which will surely be also have a tone more akin to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame than more solely comedy-leaning franchise instalments. The MCU’s Secret Invasion is a good kicking-off point for establishing the tone of Phase 5, which will hopefully be much more consistent.

Key Release Dates

  • Wakanda Forever Poster
    Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
    Release Date:

  • Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania movie logo
    Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
    Release Date:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 logo
    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
    Release Date:

  • Captain Marvel 2 movie logo
    The Marvels / Captain Marvel 2
    Release Date:

  • sam wilson captain america
    Captain America: New World Order
    Release Date:

  • Thunderbolts Marvel Movie Poster by Rob Keyes
    Marvel’s Thunderbolts
    Release Date:

  • Avengers Kang Poster
    Avengers: The Kang Dynasty
    Release Date:

  • Avengers Secret Wars Logo
    Avengers: Secret Wars
    Release Date:


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